The Electoral Commission has started the nationwide exercise to verify all Administrative Units in preparation for the forthcoming Women Councils and Committees and LC 1 and LC2 Elections.
The exercise which will last ten days kicks off on Thursday March 17, 2022 and will end on March 26, 2022 across the entire country.
In a statement released Thursday, Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama noted that the verification exercise is part of the preparatory activities for the conduct of Women Councils and Committees elections (from the village to the national level) 2022, and LC 1 and LC 2 Elections slated for 2022 and 2023 respectively.
“The current Women Councils and Committees were elected during the period July-August 2018, and the Executive Committee of the National Women’s Council was constituted on 23rd – 24 August 2018. According to the National Women’s Council Act, the terms of office of the said Councils and Committees is four (4) years, implying their term will expire in August 2022. The current Village/Cell (LC 1) and Parish/Ward (LC 2) Committees were elected in July 2018. According to the Local Government Act, the term of office of the said Executive Committees is five (5) years, implying their term will expire in July 2023,” the statement read in part.
It is the imminent expiry of the above committees which informed the preparation of fresh elections as per the Electoral Commission’s mandate.
And to facilitate free and fair elections, the EC lined up a schedule of preparatory activities, which have begun with verification of all administrative units for which leaders will be needed.
Byabakama however noted that challenges experienced in the previous polls as well as changes in the country’s internal administrative boundaries has necessitated prior preparation exercises aimed at addressing the previous challenges and any other which could be underlying ahead of these polls.
“During the conduct of the above elections, the Commission observed the following challenging issues: Dispute over the legal establishment of some of the villages/cells; Dispute over the names of some of the villages/cells and parishes/wards; Dispute over the boundaries of some of the villages/cells; Dispute over the placement of some villages/cells (within particular sub counties and town councils, etc.,), and dispute over some villages/cells that were located in areas that had been declared as natural reserves and conservation areas (for example in Bukwo District),” the statement released by EC stated.
Statistics also showed that previous elections were conducted in a total number of 60,800 villages/cells and 8,387 parishes. However, since 2018, the number of Administrative Units in Uganda has increased. For instance, the current statistics as per the Electoral Commission database (2022) show that the districts/cities have increased to 146, the Sub Counties/Towns/Municipal Divisions to 2,211. The wards in cities are now 431, the Parishes/Wards in the districts 10,259 while the Villages/cells increased to 70,512 from the previous 60,800.
Byabakama added that by the end of the verification exercise, the EC will be able to: Confirm that the existing administrative units have been legally created, that is, by Statutory Instrument; Confirm that the above administrative units are correctly located within their respectful and rightful Sub-county/Town Council/Municipal Division and Parish/Ward; Confirm that all administrative units’ names as listed, that is, District, Constituency, Sub-county/Town/Municipal Division, Parish/Ward and Village/Cell) are correctly spelt and written; Identify and harmonise any variance in the database of administrative units and also recommend for removal a village/cell that may illegally appear on the list of administrative units, that is, existing without a Statutory Instrument.
“The Commission will conduct the verification/confirmation of administrative Units in a participatory manner, and particularly in consultation with the respective District/City administrative leadership, namely: Chief Administrative Officer (CAO); Assistant Chief Administrative Officer; Principal Assistant Secretary/Senior Assistant Secretary/Sub County Chief; Town Clerk and District/City Planner.