The Cabinet of Uganda has overtaken and interfered in the Constitutional powers of Local governments and Parliament when it declared 15 new Constituencies to be part of the administrative units that will be operating with effect from July 2020, thereby having MPs representing them in February 2021 General Elections.
These include:- (Kiboga West, Buhweeju West, Lamwo West, Bugangaizi South, Buwekula South, Mulanda County, Chekwi East, Bukanga North, Kwania North, Kagoma North, Agago West, Ngariam, Buyanja East, Bukimbiri and Nakaseke Central.
It should be noted that Uganda will now have 473 Constituencies when these 15 start operating, in 135 districts that are already suffocating the National budget and Ugandans to sustain yet tax payers who have not even yet got any value from the already existing legislators.
Where then do u get the moral authority to create new Constituencies if u are not just expanding your territory of more NRM MPs to serve ur interests and not the interests of Ugandans for your regime survival?!
According to ACODE (Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment) (2009) Museveni has always performed well in the newly created districts. So are u creating these for service delivery like u claim or to win more elections to bring MPs that will expand your dynasty?!
According to the Local Government Act Cap 243 and Chapter 12, Art. 179 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, stipulate that%-
Art. 179 Boundaries of Local Government Units.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may:-
(a) Alter the boundaries of districts.
(b) Create new districts.
So has the Cabinet “Museveni’s small caucus meeting” that he commands on what to do and when to do it, become the Parliament of Uganda now to alter boundaries and create new districts?!
Isn’t President Museveni and his Cabinet now overthrowing the Constitution by failing to separate the powers of the Executive from those of the Legislature?!
Can Parliament still operate independently and practice its constitutional mandate when Executive is hijacking on its legally constituted powers?!
Art. 179 (2) states that:- Any measure to alter the boundary or create a new district shall be supported by a majority of MPs.
So when did Cabinet become majority of MPs that are supposed to alter boundaries and create new districts and administrative units like constituencies?!!
The Constitution also stiputes that:- in Art 179 (4) Any measure for the alteration of the boundaries or for the creation of new districts or administrative units like constituencies shall be based on:-
1. The necessity for effective administration.
2. The need to bring services closer to the people.
3. It may take into account the means of communication and geographical features.
4. The density of the population.
5. The economic viability of the area.
6. The wishes of the people concerned.
So how can Cabinet approve new Constituencies which are effectively run by the existing leadership not for effective administration but for rewarding some NRM cadres by creating for them space where they can run as MPs in the next election?!! Isn’t this just about Museveni expanding his territory?!
If all the other districts that have 47 new Constituencies created from 2015 to 2019 have failed to start operating effectively and are still not yet fully functional due to lack of financial resources in the National budget to run them yet they were supposed to bring services nearer to the people, why then do u create new districts?! Or aren’t u just expanding your territory but getting more MPs, DISOs to inform u of what is going on and approve and implement your agenda?!!
What guarantee do Ugandans have now that these new districts will operate and make services like health, education, transport, and communication closer to the people?
The newly created constituencies are well sparsely populated, do not have any unique features and can easily communicate with the population due to presence of telecommunications, a fair transport network for physical contact, why then do u need these new Constituencies?!! Isn’t it just a plan for u to increase on the number of NRM MPs in the August House to expand your territory?!!
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It should be noted that Uganda has 86,000 people represented by one MP lower than Kenya with 165,000 people and Tanzania with 123, 000 people represented by one MP yet they have more stable economies and a higher GDP. So if not population, what then can u use to justify new Constituencies creation?!! Or don’t u just want people to expand your dynasty?!
Any area created as a new administrative unit like a Constituency or District should be economically viable, it should have sources of income and financial Independence for the area to sustain itself and can collect taxes and licences to sustain the unit with or without the national budget.
But all these constituencies formed can not even sustain themselves for one month independently, why then do u create them if its not just to offer more Mafias Constituency slots to join Parliament and endorse your fake bills and deals in Parliament as u expand your territory?!!
Which people, when and how were the people consulted and engaged in this #COVID19 pandemic where people have been under a #lockdown and can not participate in any meetings!!
So, were they involved to bring out their voices and input to justify that these Constituencies were created to fulfil the ‘wishes of the people of Uganda’?!
Or isn’t this still a way of the President expanding his territory by creating more opportunities for his supporters and campaign agents?
Every MP will need 200 million for purchase of a car and 20 to 30 million salary depending on distance in an economically stunted nation like Uganda, why then do u create constituencies that u can’t sustain?!!
It should be noted that Uganda has the biggest Parliament in the region : and while other countries are reducing public expenditure by reducing on administrative units, reducing salaries, allowances, and emoluments of public servants and politicians:, Uganda is busy pressing the national budget harder, suppressing more tax payer’s hard earned money by creating new Constituencies that still need to be sustained by poor Ugandans who are highly impoverished by government in power, unemployed, discriminated and sleeping hungry or depending on one meal a day!?
So how beneficial will these Constituencies be if they can’t even improve people’s livelihoods if they are not just for expanding Museveni’s territory according to his 100 year plan in power?!!
Cabinet has passed these new Constituencies on 22nd June 2020 when the National budget was already read by the Minister of Finance on 11th June 2020, where then will u get the resources to kick start the operation of these new Constituencies passed after the budget??
Or are u going to request for a Supplementary budget to cater for the same yet u can’t pass Supplementary budgets for key beneficial sectors for the people like health, education, job creation and agriculture yet they are the sectors that should be prioritised for the good of the people.
So if not expanding your territory, why then do u create these new Constituencies that do not have a budget or are not even an emergency to pass?!!
According to the “Ugandan Tax payer’s burden report : The Financial and Governance Costs of a Bloated Legislature” (2010) Museveni obtained substantial electoral advantage from newly created districts and constituencies before elections in areas where he promised to grant them District or Constituency status.
So isn’t creation of these new Constituencies also a tactic to have a relative advantage over your competitors for people to vote for u and also MPs that will expand your territory since u have created them as we approach 2021 General Elections?!!
Ugandans should wake up and say NO to expansion of Museveni’s Dynasty and demand for democracy and the rule of law as they liberate themselves from the 40 year dictator before it’s too late!!
This writer, Lydiah Namayengo, is a Political Analyst and commentator.