The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Nobert Mao, has told MPs that the Minister of Local Government will announce the plan to deal with the impasse on Local Council (LC) elections.
The term of office of LC I and LC II representatives expired and this has raised concern, with lawmakers saying that the vaccum has caused crises in villages.
Mao told the plenary sitting on Wednesday, 19 July 2023 that Hon. Raphael Magyezi, the local government minister, will present the next cause of action because the ministry supervises the LC units.
The minister had on 12 July 2023 during Plenary told the House that the budget deficit supposed to cover activities for the elections is Shs59 billion.
“Alongside him will be the Attorney General, but the actual solution will come from all the organs of government including this august House. As you know, the Electoral Commission needs resources and I believe their position will also be in that report,” Mao said.
He added that Cabinet is equally concerned about the implications of the expiry of the term of office of LCs.
“We are not here to put our heads in the sand like the ostrich, we are admitting that this is a verdict that demands a solution,” said Mao.
He was responding to a call by the Speaker, Anita Among, who demanded an action plan from government by Thursday, 20 July 2023.
“We need the LCs in place, we are living in a country where the LCs cannot sign anything because they do not have the powers. We want to know your position so that we know how to proceed as a country,” Among said.
However, Speaker Anita Among on Thursday adjourned Parliament sittings to an unknown date over the impasse of Local Council (LC) elections.
“I am not going to continue on something that is an illegality. Government must advise the country on the way forward. We need a position of government, not to continue speculating,” Among said while presiding over the plenary sitting on Thursday, 20 July 2023.
Government extended the term of office of the LCs but the Speaker challenged government to present a statutory instrument for an extension, to ensure it is lawful.
The Speaker’s decision to adjourn the House followed a statement by the Attorney General, Kiwanuka Kiryowa.
“Government would like to assure the public that the apparent void created by the absence of these administrative units is being handled,” he said.
Kiwanuka Kiryowa added: “As we pursue and wait for the necessary Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals therefore, the immediate recently elected leadership of the administrative units should continue rendering the necessary services to the people in observance of the spirit and principle of the Constitution that there should never be a vacuum in leadership.”
His attempt to justify the mandate of the administrative units, citing Sections 45 and 175 of the Local Government’s Act as well as the third schedule, regulation 11 was rejected by legislators.
The Shadow Attorney General, also Ndorwa County East Member of Parliament, Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, said that whilst LCs are merely administrative units, they have quasi-judicial functions which are clearly stipulated in the Local Council Courts Act, 2006.
“The expiry of term of those administrative units implies that the quasi-judicial function of those units cannot be dispensed with when their term has expired and there is no way you can apply to extend an already expired term,” said Niwagaba.
He added that even if the expired term is extended, it cannot apply in the Local Council Courts Act.
Source: Parliament of Uganda