The government has been dragged to court over the recently created new cities around the country.
Seven municipalities were early this year elevated to attain city status effective July 1, 2020, and these include Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka, and Mbale.
The other cities are Hoima, Lira, Soroti, Entebbe, Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale, and Wakiso and this will become effective in the forthcoming financial year.
However, Urban Authorities Association of Uganda has in a petition in the civil division of the High Court in Kampala said there is no law providing for the operationalisation of the said cities.
The petitioners say this which might affect municipal mayors, councilors, Division chairpersons, and their respective councilors, town council/sub-county chairpersons as well as their respective councilors.
“There is a divergence in the levels of local government between a city and a district in as far as there are only two levels of local government in a city and up to three levels in a district,” the petitioners say.
They argue that cities were created by annexing neighbouring sub-counties to the municipalities and the mother districts had all made resolutions ceding authority of the annexed sub-counties to the new cities.
The petitioners say the respective municipalities at which formed the nucleus of the new cities had their respective elected municipality mayors that ought to be respected.
“The current municipality mayors should be the interim city mayors as the cities were cured out of the said municipalities.”
These argue that if the current municipality mayors are not appointed as interim city mayors, then the currently elected municipality division chairpersons and sub-county chairpersons of the annexed sub-counties and their councilors would be discarded with no office yet they too were elected.
They say this would create a power vacuum in the respective offices after the creation of new cities.
“In the alternative, the commencement date of the new respective cities should be pushed till after the next respective general elections such that there is no power vacuum, no disempowerment, no disenfranchisement, and all candidates can complete their respective terms of office and such that at the general elections all aspiring candidates for elective positions in the new cities can ably contest for their respective positions.”
The petitioners have also asked the court for an interim injunction so they don’t lose their positions when the new cities come into effect tomorrow, July,1,2020.