EC wants public holiday for LC I elections

The Electoral Commission (EC) chairman Justice Simon Byabakama has proposed to government that Tuesday July 10 should be declared a public holiday to allow Ugandans take part in the village council elections.

Addressing the press on the roadmap for the Local Council (LC) I elections, Byabakama said that the EC is going to formally write to government asking it to declare the election day a public holiday to allow for proper and successful organisation of the elections.

“We intend to ask government to declare the day a public holiday to allow everyone including students, public servants and all workers to participate,”Byabakama said.

Byabakama argued that unless a public holiday is announced, a number of citizens risk missing out on participation in the election of their village leaders.

“The risk is so high especially with the fact that the polls shall not be conducted on ballot. Voters shall be required to line up behind contestants of their choice,” Byabakama said.

The EC called off the elections that had originally been scheduled for November 14-21last year following two court orders blocking the polls issued on the same day by the High court in Kampala and Jinja.

The two court orders rose from two separate petitions challenging the timing of the elections since they had been scheduled to take place at a time when A-level candidates were writing their final exams and yet they are eligible voters.

The Jinja petition was filed by Allan Alibawa, then a senior six candidate in Jinja Secondary School while the Kampala petition was filed by James Tweheyo, a member of NRM’s top most decision making organ – Central Executive Committee (CEC).

The elections have rescheduled to July 3 for the Women Council elections while the LC I elections will be held on July 10.

In preparation for the elections, the EC has June 22 for the update of village registers to allow for the election of the LC 1 and approval of members of the village Committee while June 25 will be for updates of village women council registers for purpose of electing the village Women’s Committee.

Nomination of candidates for LC I elections will be July 4 and July 5 in the respective villages across the country.

All Ugandan citizens with a valid National ID and are registered voters are eligible to state for election as LC I chairpersons in their respective villages of residence.

Byabakama said that even public servants can stand without resigning their offices but only as independent candidates, not as political party flag bearers.