On July 30 2020, the 10th Parliament voted in favour of a motion to create 46 new counties. Initially, the motion proposed to create 15 new counties however due to increased public demand through district councils, Cabinet was compelled to create an additional 31 counties to bring the total to 46. The motion was tabled before Parliament by Local Government Minister, Hon. Rafael Magyezi. The justification given by the State Minister places the public again as the cause and immediate beneficiaries of this decision. It should, however, be understood that this is a political season and this action spells out the direction and motives of a regime that wants to strengthen its grip on power.
At a critical time like this, where our economy is still struggling to stabilize, our health system is hit by the widespread effects of the COVID-19, how can the State prioritize the creation of more administrative units over economic stability and public health? Ultimately laws are passed by the Parliament therefore if the House is greatly dominated by MPs from the ruling NRM party, the more likely the legislative agenda will reflect the interests of the NRM. This sheds light on why the 10th parliament, for example, passed a law lifting age limits and not the Minimum Wage Bill.
The creation of new constituencies, therefore, poses questions about the participation of the citizens of Uganda in the various political decisions that determine the direction of their country. The role of the MPs is to represent the people and their views and pass laws that provide good governance in the country not presenting their own political and personal agendas. It should also be understood that many seemingly generous or disingenuous proposals are rationalized by claiming to provide services to the people.
The reasoning that more constituencies therefore having more representatives in parliament means greater economic and social development is a fallacy, in the sense that the burden of fulfilment will be shifted to the taxpayers who will have to undergo great afflictions due to adversities imposed by the need to collect taxes from them. The citizens of Uganda have constantly been subjected to individual and institutional political bias and are left to suffer from the pleasures of corruption. We all know that the same message of effective service delivery has always been preached by our leaders who do not want to listen to the views and ideas of their people.
A lot of political education and public inclusion should be a major concern by the leaders to help them have a greater understanding of the fundamental issues and concerns of the people of the society. To a greater understanding, most African leaders feel politically threatened when citizens get to realize the unjust goings-on in their societies and start to question the use of political power. To them, citizens are just subjects to their leadership. The level of economic inequality keeps deteriorating because there is a big gap created between the leaders who are meant to serve the people and the citizens who are meant to benefit from the service of their leaders.
I believe that for our nation to grow in the desired direction, such acts, in the interests of political domination and influence should cease from being prioritized. My major concern as a citizen is the urgent need to address the most fundamental issues of society which are; inadequate delivery of social services in rural areas, poor health services, poor education, clean water and electricity supply, infrastructural development and social security not creating more territorial boundaries.