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Electoral Commission Warns Govt Against Creating More New Districts

Uganda’s Electoral Commission has warned Government against creating more new districts, arguing that bringing on board more districts would distort the smooth flow of electoral activities ahead of the 2021 general elections.

The Commission officials made the remarks on Thursday while appearing before the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present the 2019/2020 National Budget Framework Paper.

The officials highlighted the absence of funds to conduct elections in the newly created districts.

Justice Simon Byabakama, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission in his written statement noted; “These districts need to be operationalised for the Commission to effectively implement electoral activities as over the road map. According to the EC Roadmap, Government is advised not to create new districts and administrative units after September 2018 for purposes of proper planning and smooth implementation.”

Information from the Commission indicates that districts of; Nabitatuk, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube were meant to have come into effect by 1st  July 2018 and an additional seven districts are meant to come into effect by 1st July 2019 and these include; Obongi, Lusot, Karenga, Kitagwenda, Madi-Okollo, Rwampara and Kazo.

However, due to inadequate budget provisions, the Commission has not been able to operationalise the said districts with Shs11.798bn required to operationalise these districts yet no funds have been availed to that effect.

“The Commission has not been able to operationalise the four new districts that became effective July 2016, six districts effective July 2017, six districts effective July 2018 and proposed seven districts that will become effective in July 2019. The Commission is constrained and will not be in position to commence electoral activities in these districts at the same time with the rest of the country,” Byabakama said.

According to the breakdown, the annual wage bill and non-wage component for the twenty three districts is Shs3.46bn and Shs3.5bn  respectively bringing total to Shs6.96bn. The Commission is also required to provide a motor vehicle and motor cycle to every district both estimated at Shs210M per district amounting to Shs4.8bn for the twenty three districts bringing the whole total requirement to Shs11.79bn.

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