President Museveni has returned to Parliament the Local Governments Amendment Bill, 2019, rejecting the clauses that provide for A-Level qualifications for some leaders that want to contest for local governments positions.
The qualifications targeted city mayors, municipal mayors, city division mayors, municipal division chairpersons and town council chairpersons.
Members of Parliament argued that these leaders head self-accounting administrative units, and need to understand the documents prepared by the technical staff.
Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, told Parliament on Friday that the President had assented to the other legislations, including the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill, 2019, but not the Local Governments Amendment Bill, which will be returned to Parliament for reconsideration.
However, sources say that the President opposed the issue of qualifications because it blocks potential leaders from vying for office.
Meanwhile, the President assenting to other Bills such as the Presidential Elections Act, means that all presidential candidates will declare to the Electoral Commission their source of funding within 14 days after nomination.
Under the Act, polling time remains between 7am and 4pm, campaign rally time will be between 7am and 6pm, the distribution of election materials will be within 48 hours before polling time, the use of cameras and phones at a polling station will be allowed, and no gazetted polling stations inside the restricted areas such as army barracks.
The transmission of results from the districts to the national tally centre shall include the district returning officer copying in the presidential candidates, the participating political parties and official agents of candidates.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill states that only Gulu, Mbarara, Jinja, Masaka, Fort Portal, Arua and Mbale cities, which became operational on July 1, will have MPs elected in February next year.
The same law means that cities, districts and municipalities that become operational after the General Election will wait to vote for MPs in 2026. Such administrative units will take effect in July 2025.
It is now illegal for a manager of a State owned media to unequally allocate time to all presidential candidates and such a person upon being found guilty would be imprisoned or fined.
Signing the Electoral Commissions Amendment Bill, 2019, means that a district returning officer will be removed from office if the court finds that he or she was found liable for cancellation of results due to electoral malpractices.
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