Gulu District Council Operating without Mace

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In short
The ceremonial mace previously used by Gulu district council is reported to have broken during the previous council and was never replaced. The new council which took over office in May 2016 resolved unanimously to hold sittings without the mace.

Gulu district council is operating without a ceremonial mace, an ornamented rod that represents the authority of the Speaker.

The mace previously used by the district council  is reported to have broken during the previous council and was never replaced. The new council which took over office in May 2016 resolved unanimously to hold sittings without the mace.

But Francesca Amony, the district councilor for Pece division says that by law the council is operating illegally because the speaker does not have his instruments of power.

"By law, the Speaker is conducting council business illegally. The council can be sued and his position nullified," Amony stated. She however added that the councilors decided to conduct business without the mace because they do not want to put council business on halt.

However, Gulu district Chairman, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi says that he was not aware that the mace was broken.

"I am hearing about the broken mace for the first time but that cannot prevent us from attending council meetings to discuss important issues. It will be resolved," Ojara said in an interview.

He adds that much as the mace is a symbol of authority or the speaker, there were important issues that could not be halted even in its absence.

Lillian Tamale, a project manager at Advocates Coalition for Development, ACODE, says that operating without the mace is risky for the speaker because his authority and mandate can be challenged. She adds that the mace protects the speaker from unnecessary encounters.

"Power comes with authority. What constitute the office of the speaker are his robe and the mace to make it legal, "Tamale says.