The Electoral Commission has reversed an earlier decision to allow public servants to stand as candidates in Local Council elections.
Justice Simon Byabakama, the Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson had earlier indicated that public servants are to contest in the elections without resigning their public offices.
However, Paul Bukenya, the EC Spokesperson, says that this position has changed following a June 29th opinion by the Attorney General.
In the opinion a copy seen by URN, Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana cites Section 1 of the Local Government (Amendment) Act (No.2) 2006 that removed the right of public officers participating in LC1 and LC 11 elections without resigning their posts.
“It is unfortunate that the Compendiums of Electoral Laws of 2010 and later 2015 compiled by Uganda Law Reform Commission only cites the amendment but does not capture it in the body, a fact that could have misled you. As of today, Amendment No.2 of 2006 removed the right of public officers participating in LC1 and LC 11 elections without resigning their posts.” reads part of Mwesigwa letter to Byabakama.
The Deputy Attorney General then advised that Byabakama revisits his position and implement the law as amended.
Mwesigwa’s letter on the participation of public officers in administrative unit elections followed an earlier letter dated 25th June 2018 by Byabakama to the Attorney General seeking guidance on the participation of public officers in the local council elections.
With this opinion, Bukenya says that all public servants who wish to contest for LC1 and LC 11 Chairpersons are to be required to resign their offices before nomination.
He, however, says that this development has not been well received by sections of the public who had earlier been informed that public officials had a right to contest.
Elections for local council leaders are due on July 10, according to a roadmap released by the Electoral Commission. The elections according to Sections 12 (a) and (b) of the Local Government (Amendment) Act, 2015, are to be conducted by lining up behind a nominated candidate, their representatives, portraits or a symbol.
Bukenya says that they have today kick-started the nomination of candidates which is to be concluded tomorrow across the country at different parishes.