By Our Reporter
The Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Jackson Kafuuzi, has been directed to prepare a statutory instrument intended to extend the time of office of the Women Councils.
“There is a political vacuum and we need this to be resolved. Can we have that document by next Tuesday?” Speaker Anita Among asked.
The directive followed Kafuuzi’s call to Parliament, to consider a request by the Electoral Commission for a supplementary budget of Shs20 billion to cater for the organisation of Women Council elections.
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The term of Women Councils and Committees who were elected in 2018 expired and subsequently lapsed on Tuesday, 23 August 2022.
Kafuuzi also called for the immediate release of Shs15.68 billion provided in the budget, to facilitate the Women Council elections.
“This will enable the Electoral Commission to settle outstanding obligations and also fulfill the statutory requirement of organising and conducting elections for new office bearers for Women Councils from village to national level,” Kafuuzi said.
He said this while presenting a statement to the House, on the status of elections of Women Councils and Committees, on Wednesday, 09 November 2022.
He noted that ahead of the 2022/2023 financial year, the Electoral Commission presented a funding requirement for the Women Council elections of Shs35.68 billion, of which Shs15.68 billion was appropriated.
He added that this left a funding gap of Shs20 billion.
“The Electoral Commission had planned the election activities to commence in June 2022 to avert a vacuum that could arise when the term of the current Women Council office bearers expired in August this year,” Kafuuzi noted.
He also said that the Electoral Commission embarked on preparatory activities for the conduct of the elections with hopes that additional resources would be provided by the finance ministry.
“On release of details of that approved budget estimates for Financial Year 2022/2023, the Commission realised that the approved budget levels were not sufficient. The Commission thus indefinitely suspended the activities geared towards the Women Council elections,” the Deputy Attorney General noted.
Kafuuzi said the commission received non-wage funding of Shs12 billion for the first quarter, of which Shs3.613 billion catered for MP by-elections in the counties of Soroti East, Gogonyo, Bukimbiri and Busongora.
It also catered for Local Government by-elections in 26 districts.
“The Commission is constrained to pay outstanding obligations yet service providers and ad hoc staff that were engaged during the concluded activities are agitating for their pay,” Kafuzi told the House.