Parliament’s public service and local government committee has questioned why the Electoral Commission (EC) requires sh37.5 billion for Local Council elections.
Mukono South MP Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga expressed dissatisfaction with the huge figures allocated for some activities such as the demarcation and harmonization of administrative units and boundaries which was put at sh577m.
“Which demarcations do we need? We are from elections and we have been using Local council structures. Look at the materials for compilation of the voters register at 594m ,” said Muyanja.
“The minister of local government should tell us what are these materials going to be used for yet people will be lining up behind backs.”
Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Kaginda wondered why after the ruling National Resistance movement spending only sh2b for organizing party primaries at all levels, the EC was demanding sh9.8b for organizing only elections for women committees and councils.
The meeting between the committee chaired by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi and electoral commission officials led by Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu got heated Thursday as they legislators queried the budget to organize elections for administrative units (village and parish councils) and women committees/Councils elections (village to national).
EC secretary Sam Rwakoojo presented the commission’s budget before the committee, showing the breakdown for the mentioned funds that included payment for allowances of trainers of polling officers, payment of polling officers, publicity and voter education, delivery of polling materials, demarcating of villages, and display of voter register among others.
In 2015, Parliament passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014 providing for lining up behind candidates during elections of chairpersons for village (LC1) and parish (LC2) levels.
The voting method will be a departure from what was provided for in the Local Government Act of universal adult suffrage through secret ballot.
Rwakoojo told members that the required amount for conducting administrative elections for village and parish levels through both universal adult suffrage and lining up will require a total of sh27.6b and the sh9.8b for women committees and councils bringing the total to sh37billion.
EC chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu said that the budget was reached after consultation with the ministries of local government, gender, labor and social development and that it is the same figure that was used to issue a certificate of financial implication to support the local government Amendment Bill 2014.
“We wanted sh37b. However, government provided only sh7b leaving a funding gap 0f sh30b. Given the above scenario, the commission is constrained in the completion of the 2015/16 General election Roadmap,” said Kiggundu.
“We appeal to you, Honorable members to support this noble cause so that funds can be obtained to facilitate the conduct of these elections which are long overdue.”