By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Parliament of Uganda has dropped the requirement for academic qualifications for local government leaders vying for political offices ahead of 2012 general elections.
In a parliamentary session chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday agreed with the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s stand to drop the ‘A’ level qualification requirement for local politicians vying positions in the offices of mayor of cities and municipalities, LC III chairpersons and their councilors which had been provided for in the Local Government Amendment Act 2019.
Parliament sitting on Tuesday 4 August 2020 also rejected the minimum education qualification of Ordinary Level for district and city councilors, a requirement that would become effective during the 2026 general elections.
The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was earlier passed this year, but failed to get the Presidential assent over the education qualifications requirements for these categories of aspirants, and the need for consultations between the Ministers responsible for Finance and Local Government before a new administrative unit is created.
The President rejected the introduction of education qualifications of Advanced and Ordinary Level requirements arguing that the need for education qualifications would disenfranchise people by limiting them on the choice of leaders they can elect into positions of leadership, is discriminatory and not realistic.
The Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs noted that it was unrealistic and unjustifiable to impose education qualifications of A-level for persons seeking the office of chairperson or mayor of a municipal council, town council or division council, similar to that required for the President, Member of Parliament, district and city chairpersons, whose “functions are broader and complex”.
Parliament also dropped the requirement for the Minister of Local Government to consult the Minister of Finance before a new administrative unit it created, as both would have participated in Cabinet when such a decision was being made.
It was also resolved that all new administrative units created shall come into effect six months to a general election in order to give time for proper planning.
The Speaker appealed to the President to speedily assent to the Bill as it would affect the forthcoming elections in 2021.