Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has on Wednesday criticized government officials for requesting an exaggerated budget of Shs56 billion to conduct the local council elections.
According to Among, this amount is unnecessary and exceeds what is required to conduct the elections for local council leaders whose term of office expired on July 10, 2023.
She called for a reassessment and revision of the budget figure to generate a more realistic amount.
“The problem we have is exaggerating figures, we can’t give Shs57 billion for that election; that’s a lot of money,” she said.
Among further revealed that voting for LC1 is by lining behind a candidate, which does not require such huge sums of money as requested.
“What we want is a realistic budget and figure for us to allocate money for LC1 elections,” Among said.
She cautioned members of Parliament against being dragged into approving unrealistic sums of money.
On July 10, 2023, the term of office for LC1 and 2 chairpersons expired, which caused panic and mixed reactions among communities.
However, they are still operating as they wait on the resolutions from the government on when the elections will be held.
The election of the new leaders hangs in the balance after the government failed to obtain the money required by the Electoral Commission to conduct the election.
The EC had submitted a request in April for Shs60.8 billion to conduct elections for Local Council 1 and 2 officials, whose terms expire on July 10, 2023.
The request remains unmet by the Finance Ministry, commission officials worry.
The cost of running women’s council elections which should have been held in August 2022 was suspended due to lack of funds, rendering the councils nonexistent.
The cost of running these elections is estimated at Shs 20 billion. This lack of funds presents a headache for the authorities who have repeatedly pleaded for money to organize and hold these polls.
Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi revealed that the ministry had extended the mandate of lower local councils, a statement that was challenged by a section of legislators and lawyers since there is no legal provision to allow for the extension of their terms.
According to the information available, there are 10,595 LC2 chairpersons and 70,626 village chairpersons across the country.