Opinion: Rushing City Statuses to get more MPs
This here is just happening ahead of elections, as the state who is already fatigued financially. That Minster for Local Government Tom R. Butime is putting in a motion for newly created cities across the republic. This means new measures, need needs and costs for the state. The City Status will not come without any consequence. Not only in regards to boundaries, but also the needed local government there.
It seems like the old presidential pledges are revamped just mere a year in advance of the next general election in 2021. The plan of 7 cities to take effect on the 1st July 2020, these being Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Mbale and Masaka. While Hoima will first become a city on the 1st July 2021. Later than that on the 1st July 2022 then it will happen to Entebbe and Lira. The final stage of these upgraded towns to city status is on the 1st July 2023, these will be Moroto, Nakasongola, Soroti, Kabale and Wakiso. All of them becoming cities, which means the state, are in total planning the upgrade of 15 towns to cities in the small amount of time of 3 years.
That is five cities every year from now on. What law defines is that a city is equivalent of a district and wards of sub-counties. Meaning, this a way of also carving up districts and securing a more MPs to Parliament. Also, ensuring a more rigorous ways of gerrymandering before any given election. Though, not create by-elections, as they are deemed unfit, as law already represents these Cities.
We are seeing a haste, like Arua have about 62,000 in population. While Gulu on the other hand has about 152,000 in population. Jinja has about 72,000 and Mbarara has 195,000. Fort Portal only has about 52,000 in population. Mbale has about 96,000 and Masaka has about 103,000. Also even smaller is the likes of Nakasongola, which is about 10,000, Kabale and Soroti is each about 49,000 close to 50,000 in population. While Moroto is only about 14,000 in population and Waksio have about 20,000. Therefore, with just a brief look into the numbers, you wonder what standard has the Minister and the Ministry put for a city status at this point of time. You can easily see the difference between Nakasongola, Fort Portal and Gulu. That makes a brother wonder about the status at all.
It seems to be a political game of changing districts and ensuring easier rigging, also new MPs from new “districts” than actually giving city status and urban services to these areas. As the state already suffers funds for the new districts it already has. That is no joke and been a revolving issue. So, for whatever reason Butime MP is pushing this. That can only be for electioneering. Because, who will defend calling a town of about 10,000 a C-I-T-Y? Really, Nakasongola is deemed to be a city?
I can understand Mbarara and Gulu, even Masaka. They have a population of a decent size. That you can understand and reason it out somehow. The others seems to be early birds, just because it supposed to make benefits, but it will also strain the budgets more. As with every expansion, every change of local government it will cost. The changes of municipalities, town and cities will cost. There will be carved wards and new titles for the local government. That is implied with these sort of changes. To think otherwise is dumb.
Someone has to foot the bill, someone got to cough up the dough for the operation at hand. It is not without costs. This will be more expenditure and more MPs. More leaders, more elections and more expenditure. Where will the Minister find the cash? Peace.