Rather than bashing the Local Council One (LC1) elections over the issue of lining up behind candidates, Ugandans should focus on the positives that will arise from having LC structures in place, the Electoral Commission Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama has said.
He appealed to Ugandans to pay more attention to the problems that have been occasioned by the failure to have LC 1 Chairpersons, including cases of insecurity. This, he said, is more important than criticizing the format that the elections scheduled for July 10 will take.
Government has been criticized for resorting to voting by lining up behind the candidates, a system some say is traditional and unfit for a civilized society.
The EC Chairperson was speaking on Wednesday during the Annual Broadcasters’ Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. At the event, he reminded the media of its important role in the educating the masses on the importance of the ongoing electoral process.
“I want to believe everyone has at one point or the other been touched by the role of an L.C 1 Chairperson. Acquiring a passport or a National Identity Card requires approval of the LC Chairperson,” Justice Byabakama said.
“LC 1s are very fundamental. It is the first government structure in Uganda hence it is crucial for purposes of exercising constitutional rights of self governance,” he said.
In addition, he said the LCs offer is a platform for locals to escalate concerns to higher structures to influence policy, identifying and documenting residents, and ensuring security at grassroots. He also said that the structures support the judicial systems in adjudicating local cases.
“What is amazing is that the narrative out there is about the negatives – about people lining up to vote. Have we looked at the goods that come out of this election?” Justice Byabakama said.
“The merits I highlighted far outweigh what some call internationally recognized mode of voting. Is the mode more important than the product?” he added.
He said that contrary to the narrative traded by sections of the media that the Women Councils’ elections were a flop, the exercise was successful.
“The law of lining up was made by our Members of Parliament who represent the people. So, are we saying that the MPs are not competent?”
Justice Byabakama stressed that the forthcoming elections are good for every person whose interest is to see a stable country.