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Nomination expenses irk political aspirants in Sembabule

Sembabule, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Aspirants for the various local government leadership positions in Sembabule district are decrying the high costs associated with seeking nomination to contest for elective positions.

The outcry comes as intending candidates for local government positions are returning nomination forms to the Electoral Commission seeking clearance to contest in the 2021 general elections. But some of them are enraged with the unforeseen expenses associated with seeking the nomination.

Fredrick Tumwine, an intending male youth councillor for Mujwala sub county says that besides incurring costs to obtain signatures of seconders, they also challenged by the expenses associated with securing statutory declarations from the courts of law. The Electoral Commission requires aspirants to have their nomination papers supported by affidavits by either a commissioner of oaths or a Grade One magistrate.

Tumwine says that the only alternative available in Sembabule is the Grade One magistrate’s court where intending councillors are charged between 50,000 and 100,000 Shillings. He argues that these unnecessary expenses too could frustrate young people’s ambitions of seeking leadership.

Madrine Mutetsi who is aspiring to become a youth councillor for Mijwala sub-county says that she narrowly gave up on her political ambitions due to such expenses. According to her, the nomination process itself is costly compared to the returns that come with the positions of leadership she is seeking.

Ahmed Hood Ssebalamu, who is also aspiring for a position in the district council has blamed the predicaments on bureaucratic procedures that the Electoral Commission considers in the nomination of candidates. He appealed to the commission to consider amendments in the procedures to simplify the process.

Meanwhile, one of the secretaries at Sembabule magistrates court only identified as Josephine told URN that the fees paid by applicants are legal. However, she declined to explain why the payments are not receipted.

But Barbra Busingye, the EC registrar for Sembabule district says the challenges faced the aspirants are part of the rules of the game they voluntarily chose to participate in.

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