Lawyer drags Ugandan govt to court over repeated delays of LC elections

Wednesday, July 10, 2024
4 Min Read

Independent lawyer James Owebeyi Mugyemanyi is taking the government of Uganda to court over the continuous postponement of LCI and LCII elections. His application is based on the Ministry of Local Government’s decision to keep extending the terms of office by 180 days. The initial extension was set for July 28, 2023, which moved the election period to January 2024. However, the ministry extended the terms again by another 180 days, setting the new expiration date for July 3, 2024. As the expiration approached, the ministry once more extended the terms by 180 days.

In his application made to the Mbarara High Court under miscellaneous cause no. 24 of 2024, registered yesterday, July 9, 2024, he seeks a response from the Attorney General and the Ministry of Local Government on why these elections have faced multiple postponements.

Owebeyi, known for his legal battles, asserts that the Minister of Local Government is only empowered by Regulation 11A under the Local Government Act, which is valid only in a state of emergency or other significant uncertainty in Uganda. He claims that the ministry is hiding under the arm of the cabinet, which itself violates the Constitution of Uganda. He further states that, as a legal expert, he is empowered by Article 50 of Uganda’s Constitution to engage in public litigation.

Independent lawyer James Owebeyi Mugyemanyi

“The minister’s decision contradicts the Constitution of Local Government, thus I can’t sit silently in the face of such constitutional violations,” Owebeyi said.

His application outlines six grounds for his litigation. Owebeyi, an affiliate of the Forum for Democratic Change Najjanankumbi faction, is known for his political legal battles. He succeeded in his application to nullify the victory of Bukimbiri County Member of Parliament Eddie Kwizera Wa Gahungu in 2022 and made it clear that the government has no reason to avoid local council elections, which proceed without ballot papers, while they afford expensive parliamentary elections.

This is his second time contesting over the same office, committing himself to ensuring that justice for such offices prevails. As a law student at Uganda Pentecostal University, he litigated against the State Attorney and the Ministry of Local Government over poor facilitation and payment to the same leaders. In miscellaneous cause no. 006 of 2020, he sought government intervention in facilitating them.


Examiner understands well that on July 2, 2024, as the LCIs and LCIIs remained with one day in the office, the ministry of local government extended the term of office of the local council by 180 days for the third
time. The first time the political administrative units faced extension of their term was on July 28, 2023
making their term to expire in January of 2024.
As the days drew near, the same ministry extended their term of office with the next 180 days in office.

The local government minister Raphael Magyezi cited inadequate funds as the major problem as the
major problem befalling the ministry and the independent electoral commission.
According to Minister Magyezi, Electoral commission needs UGX50 Billion to conduct such elections.
Reacting about financial constraints, Owebeyi said that Uganda doesn’t have reasons of continuous
rescheduling pf elections yet Ugandans pay taxes.

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