LC1 elections: EC wants polling day declared public holiday

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

, Featured, News

The Electoral Commission has said they will write to government requesting that Tuesday July 10 is declared a public holiday to enable the successful organisation of the Local Council one elections.

Last year, court issued an order blocking the elections after James Tweheyo, a concerned citizen filed an application challenging the polls in the absence of A –level students who were by then(November) sitting their UACE examinations.

The Electoral Commission would later announce a new date for holding the elections which were last held over 15 years ago.

Addressing journalists at their headquarters in Kampala on Tuesday, Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama said they would wish everyone participate in the polls because they concern them directly.

“We intend to ask government to declare the day a public holiday to allow everyone including students, public servants and all workers to participate,”Byabakama said.

“We think that if a public holiday is not announced, many of these would be left out in participating in the elections.”

In the past, a number of people have blamed the current fluid security situation to lack of a working local council system to be able to check on some of the criminalities right from the villages.

Previously, the local council one chairman appointed secretaries on his committee and among them one responsible for defence.

This would be responsible for ensuring the safety of the village through mobilising village members on vigilance, on top of doing night patrols and checking suspicious people in the village.

However, according to the EC, it is crucial for everyone to participate in the village council elections.

 

Candidates

According to the electoral body, every Ugandan citizen with a valid national identification card and is a registered voter and resident of a particular village is eligible to stand as chairperson for local council one.

“No academic qualifications shall be required for election of village chairperson and no nomination fees shall be required.”

“Public servants can contest for chairperson LC1 and they do not need to first resign their offices,”Byabakama added.

Public servants are required by law to first resign before standing for any elective office but this will not be the case with LC 1 elections.

Byabakama however noted that public servants can only stand for village council polls as independents and not as flag bearers of any political party.

According to the data used in the 2016 general elections, Uganda had 57842 villages but according to the Electoral Commission boss, there is an additional 1138 new villages that have been added onto the list of existing ones.

He emphasised that the body would now carryout fresh registration of voters in these new villages before compiling and displaying of their registers.

“All people in these villages will have register again because we assume they registered from the old villages and boundaries have since changed.”

He however noted that residents in the old villages will not be required to register again, apart from those who changed residences.

The Electoral Commission programme indicates that verification of residents and compilation of the voters’ register will be held on June 22 to 25 before the display of the register from June 26 to 27.

Nomination of candidates for Local Council one elections would be held from July 4th to 5th before polling on July 10.

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