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EC conducts elections in non functional sub counties and town councils

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Apac district authorities have raised concern over the decision by the Electoral Commission to conduct elections in newly created town councils and sub counties. Government recently created 364 sub-counties, 352 town councils and 10 cities country wide with the aim of taking services closer to residents.

Most of the new administrative units have remained nonfunctional due to financial constraints according to Finance Minister Matia Kasajia. Despite this, Electoral Commission has gone ahead to organise elections in the newly administrative units. Michael Wanje, the Apac Chief Administrative Officer says the election of leaders in the new administrative units that are still dysfunctional may cause government problems should they decide to petition the court.

The newly created sub-counties in Apac district include Apoi that was curved from Akokoro sub county, Teboke curved from Chegere sub county, Ibuje town council curved from Ibuje sub county and Akokoro town council from Akokoro sub county. However, Wanje says all these administrative units do not have budgets even in the next financial year which means they will not function.

Sarah Bukariwa, the Lango and Acholi regional electoral officer says that they are neither responsible for the creation of the administrative units nor their operationalization. “The Electoral Commission is not responsible in any way for the operationalization of the new administrative units, our work is to conduct elections in the gazetted areas and that is all. The Ministry of Local Government is responsible and I think they will handle that,” she said in an interview.

Moses Odongo, the Chegere sub county councillor who is vying for the Teboke sub county LC III chairperson’s seat says the delay to disburse funds to operationalize the new administrative units has hampered services to the community. Odongo has asked the line ministry to consider operationalizing the sub counties once elections are done. He warns that failure to do so will prompt them to seek legal redress.

Lillian Ebic, the Ibuje sub county councillor says that she is worried about her fate much as she is campaigning to retain her seat in the new town council. She wonders when the government will operationalize the new administrative units.

Odongo Asante, the Apac district LC V vice chairman, also the leader of government business says that in case the government fails to provide funds to operationalize the new administrative units, the district main council may be forced to pass a resolution reverting the newly created sub-counties to their original areas.

“As the government, we are waiting for the final communication from the Ministry of Local Government probably after conducting the elections, in case the government fails to source for funds to operationalize these lower administrative units, the main council may be forced to pass another resolution to bring back the newly created units to the original ones,” he said.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says that government has taken a decision that in future, the creation of any administrative units in government must be accompanied with a certificate of financial implications to certify that the government has the money to finance the new administration units, something which was not done during the creation of the new sub counties and town councils.



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