Lawyers seek to block election of city councillors

Twenty-two members of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) have petitioned the Electoral Commission (EC) over the election of a councillor to represent them at the city authority.

KCCA executive officer addressing council

They petitioned the society this week, demanding that all ULS members should be involved in electing their councillor. They are protesting a directive by EC, which says electoral colleges of the professional bodies shall vote the city councillors.

“Uganda Law Society has over 2,000 members. Ten executive members cannot sit and decide on our behalf. We participate in electing members, who represent the society on other statutory bodies and KCCA cannot be an exception,” Asuman Basalirwa, one of the petitioners, said.

Jude Mbabali, Richard Lumu and Chrisestom Katumba were among the lawyers who signed the petition.

Basalirwa said they wrote to Nicholas Opio, the ULS secretary, to convene a general meeting next week, to resolve the matter.

By press time, Opio had not set a date for the meeting.

The 22 lawyers vowed to sue parties if their concerns are not addressed. They are also challenging the arrangement under which the voting exercise will be conducted, arguing that the Political Organisations Act requires that parties sponsor candidates.

“Uganda is under a multiparty system, and therefore, the Electoral Commission must involve political parties in this exercise. They have to sponsor candidates,” Lumu explained. The move has created a stumbling block for the 17 councillors who want to censure the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago.

For them to succeed, four councillors from professional bodies have to be elected first, to fill the gaps at City Hall.

The other three councillors are to be elected from the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers, Uganda Society of Architects and Uganda Medical Association.

In his ruling, Justice Vincent Zehurikize, who headed a tribunal to ascertain whether Lukwago should be censured, also made it clear that all the councillors had to be present before a vote could be taken.

Source The New Vision

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