Cabinet Approves 6-Month Extension for Local Council Elections

The Cabinet has granted approval to prolong the term of office for Local Councils 1 and 2 by six months. The original term of these councils expired on 10th July 2023, and due to logistical constraints, the government cited its inability to hold elections at that time.

The decision sparked widespread public debate, and last week, the Attorney General informed Parliament of the government’s intention to extend the councils’ term. However, this proposal faced opposition in Parliament, with critics accusing the government of inaction.

On Tuesday, during a press conference at the Uganda Media Center, Minister for ICT, Chris Baryomunsi, revealed that the Cabinet, on Monday, resolved to extend the term of Local Councils 1 and 2 by 180 days. The Attorney General had tabled this proposal.

According to Section 157 of the Local Governments Act, the Minister of Local Government holds the authority to draft regulations for implementing the Act. The Minister also possesses the power to amend the schedules to the Act.

The amendments include provisions that, subject to prior cabinet approval, allow the Minister to extend, renew, reinstate, or validate the term of office for administrative unit councils for a maximum additional period of 180 days, even after the original term has expired.

Following Cabinet’s approval, the Minister is required to present a statutory instrument before Parliament. Parliament may choose to amend or revoke the statutory instrument, but if no action is taken within two weeks of its submission, it will be considered approved, as per the relevant law.

Upon the expiration of the LCs’ tenure earlier this month, concerns arose among the public regarding the validity of documents endorsed by officials holding those offices. The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament cautioned that documents endorsed by LCs whose terms have expired might be subject to legal challenges.

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Minister Baryomunsi clarified that the extension would have retrospective effect, validating any actions taken during the period when the LCs’ term was expired.

The LC I and LC II leaders were elected in 2018 across 10,595 parishes and 70,626 villages, marking nearly 17 years since the last elections were held under the ruling National Resistance Army/NRA/NRM government.

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