Jinja: A section of councilors representing various parishes that form Bugiri town council have thrown a spanner in the Bugiri elections works after running to court to bar the Electoral Commission from holding fresh elections in the town recently elevated to municipality status.
Led by the town council mayor, Saul Baliraine, the 15 members of council argue, “holding fresh elections in Bugiri town would be an illegality.”
In a petition filed at the High Court in Jinja on Friday 1 June 2018, the applicants contend that new elections can only be held in their electoral areas at the end of the 5-year-term.
“Our clients are the political leaders in Bugiri town who were in 2016 elected as mayor and directly elected councilors for a term of 5 years. But before their term came to an end, Bugiri town was elevated to Municipality and the electoral commission required them to resign and be subjected to fresh elections for the same seats,” explained their lawyer Emmanuel Orono of the Byamugisha, Lubega, Ochen & Co. Advocates in an interview with this writer.
On April 17, 2018, the EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, told journalists at the electoral body’s headquarters in Kampala that elections in 2300 electoral areas, including Bugiri, Apac, Kotido, Ibanda, Sheema, Buikwe and Nebbi municipalities would take place this years.
According to the roadmap, the elections are to be conducted between May 17 and July 19 to fill a number of positions in the newly created parliamentary constituencies and local administrative units.
Some of the areas where elections would be conducted came into effect in July 2016 while others including Bugiri municipality, became operational in 2017 after the 2016 general elections.
In the newly created municipalities and town councils, voters would go to the polls to pick mayors, LCIII chairpersons, district councilors, district women councilors.
At the sub county level, elections will be conducted to pick LCIII chairpersons, district and sub county councilors.
But the leaders in the former Bugiri town council are questioning where the electoral commission gets powers to render their seats vacant.
Court issues injunction
On receipt of their petition, High court judge of Jinja, Lady Justice Eve Luswata issued a restraint court order stopping the electoral commission from carrying out nomination of candidates in Bugiri until court makes a ruling on the matter.
The electoral commision had set Monday 4 June, 2018 to Wednesday 6 June, 2018 as dates for nominations and aspirants had already booked.
But EC deputy spokesman, Paul Bukenya has told this writer that in other new municiaplities, the exercise would go on as eaelier planned.
Court on Monday extended the restrain order until Tuesday 5 June, 2018 at 2:30pm when it would give its ruling.