E.C Awaits Shs 7Bn Supplementary Funding for LC Elections

E.C Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama (3rd L) and other Commissioners

Five months after court suspended the Local Council I and II elections, the Electoral Commission has said it still awaits approval of the Shs 7 billion supplementary budget request it made to government before the elections can be held.

The E.C had set November 14 for the election of women village committees and November 21 last year, as polling days for electing Local Council I Committees.

However court placed an injunction on the elections a few days to polling day, following an application by a concerned citizen challenging the coinciding schedule of the elections and UACE examinations which would disenfranchise many eligible voters.

In January, court lifted the injunction giving E.C green light to organize fresh polls.

Yesterday, during a news conference at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala, the E.C Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama told journalists that as much as the program is set, the funds are inadequate.

He said that at the time of suspending the elections, Electoral Commission had already utilized part of the Shs 15.7 billion that had initially been released to cater for the elections.

“We submitted to government a supplementary budget of Shs 7 billion and we are still waiting for the funds,” he said.

“If you have a wedding and it is put off days before it happened, you will have incurred some expenses. When the wedding is rescheduled, you cannot operate on the original budget because new costs will have come in,” Byabakama explained.

He said that government had promised to avail the funds before the end of the year.

“We already have a program and everything is set. But the certainty of the polling date is hinged on the availability of funds,” he added.

He however said that E.C prefers that the Shs 7 billion be availed before the end of the current financial year to avoid having the funds reverted to the Ministry of Finance coffers.

When the court lifted the injunction, Justice Byabakama had revealed that the Commission would need more money to among others register students who initially had not been part of the process.

Uganda has not conducted elections for LCI (village) and LCII (parish) for the last 15 years.

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