MPs create more seats for women in local government

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Parliament in session

The House has Wednesday passed the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill,2019 at Third Reading.

The object of the bill is to amend the Local Governments Act, Cap. 243 to provide for the creation of local government and magistrate units at least two years before the due date for the next general elections; to provide for the demarcation of electoral areas; to prescribe the manner of conducting campaigns; to bar persons not ordinarily resident in a local government area from contesting for councillor for that area.

It is also to provide for the procedure for commencement of polls at each polling station and to align the Local Governments Act with the provisions of the Constitution.

The Committee proposed that where a new local government or administrative unit is created after a general election, that unit shall commence by statutory instrument issued by the Minister, one year prior to the next general parliamentary elections and local government elections.

Victoria University

Members of Parliament created a seat for women representatives in every sub county, town council and urban divisions.

Currently, a woman councillor represents two or three sub counties or town councils, which Members said is a mischief the new law should cure.

Clause 2 of the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill, 2019 proposed that, “Every town council will have a directly elected woman councillor.”

MP David Abala (NRM, Ngora County) supported the proposal.

“We agreed as UWOPA [Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association] that each sub county is supported by a woman councillor; why should we favour women against men?” said Abala.

The proposal was moved by MP Jalia Bintu (NRM, Masindi District), who said she has the support of UWOPA.

The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda who opposed the amendment, argued that it offends article 93 of the Constitution which prohibits private members from proposing legislation that has the effect of imposing a charge on the Consolidated Fund except by reduction.

“Under article 93 of the Constitution, by creating electoral areas, we are infringing on article 93,” he said.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, however, differed.

“I don’t think we are creating new electoral areas; the sub counties already exist,” she said.

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