Max Patrico Ocaido
Electoral Commission (EC) will soon announce a fresh program for the long awaited Local Council (LC) elections after court finally gave them a green light.
During a press briefing at the EC Headquarters, EC chairperson Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama on Wednesday announced that the Commission is working out a detailed fresh program on how the LC1, LC2 and Women Councils and Committees elections will be conducted.
Without giving a scheduled date, Byabakama said that the Commission will first sit to fulfill the court resolutions before setting fresh dates for the elections which will be conducted by queuing behind the candidates.
"The Commission would like to thank all stakeholders particularly, all those who had expressed willingness to contest, the voters and the citizens at large for their patience, and assure them that the long awaited elections will take place," Byabakama said.
It should be remembered that EC had set November 14, 2017 for the election of women village committees and November 21, 2017 for the election of Local Council I Committees. However, a day to the elections, High Court in Kampala issued a temporary injunction on the polls after a one James Tweheyo challenged the conducting of the polls between November and December 8 on grounds that senior six candidates who are eligible to vote would be sitting their exams and thus would be disenfranchised.
However, on November 15, 2017, Court advised EC and the petitioners to explore an out of Court settlement and as a result, the same court on Wednesday announced that the two parties had reached a consensus on how to hold the elections without disenfranchising any persons eligible to vote.
"I would like to announce that the Commission is now at liberty to resume the process leading up to the conduct of the said elections. We agreed that EC should put up clear procedures on how to register students and sooner than later, we are going to release a program to guide the process," Byabakama said.
He added that whereas the petitioners earlier on wanted these elections conducted during holidays, the two parties agreed that the Commission will schedule a favourable date for election regardless of whether students are on holiday or not, considering that polling is a one day schedule.
Byabakama added that the Commission will need more money to conduct these LC elections that have been postponed several times.
"We had a tentative budget, but that was before this court ruling. Since court has asked the Commission to first fulfill some of these conditions to guide the elections smoothly, we shall need more money to that effect, but we shall let you (media) know how much we shall need in the due course," he added.