Opinion: Mushrooming the state will not muster progress

This week the Republic got 6 new official cities, towns suddenly turned cities overnight. It hasn’t been overnight, the state has worked with this and pledged to do this. The state, the President and everyone involve is doing this for brownie-points, as the state will not have the funds to facilitate the transition. Neither was there allocated funds to make it feasible.

Just like there been lacking of funds to new districts, been lack of possible accounts and trust to cover the mushroomed sub-counties and municipalities. It is just endless add—ons over the years. The Republic has so many districts, sub-counties and municipalities that you can a headache just thinking about it.

This is what the National Resistance Movement does, they are micro-managing from the State House. Giving hand-outs to cronies, ensuring constituencies for loyalists and adding more MPs. It is cycle of adding more and more expenditure without having the growth of revenue. This is why the state is continuing to deficit finance the budgets. While struggling to cover the added expenditure.

It is like the setting up of new districts is a free-enterprise. Even if each district is supposed to have certain amount of structures, councils and whatnot. There is cost all along the way and not just a pickpocket of MP in Kampala. No, there is costs of civil servants, buildings and promised local government service. Which usually comes long after the choir singed songs on the day of launching any given district.

The same will be with the 6 cities. There will be outcries, as the state haven’t allocated or considered the costs. They just did it to look good ahead of elections. Honour old pledges and give the locals a title. Not ensuring the cities had their city council, had the office of the Lord Mayors and had all the other structures needed to be sufficiently running like one. There aren’t division mayors nor local councillors. This is just the mess. Yes, during the General Elections there might be elected some of those, but do they have anywhere to work from and conduct their operations?

That is what you can wonder about and if the state had thought of it. It is easy to change a title, it is easy give a place a name and call it a city. However, to operate as a city and pay the cost is a whole other animal. Just like sub-county has lesser of structure and promise of local government compared to any given district. That is just the reality.

In the end. This is just a battle of debt, a battle of insufficient funds and deficit financing. Pay for the cleaners and the nurses, but not having the credit to do so. Putting up shelters and housing units, but not giving them electricity. Wonder why everyone is in the dark and why things aren’t happening.

What is striking is the naivety about it. That there wasn’t people warning about it. That people don’t see the burden and problems that will come later. It is fun and games now. However, how will it be for the next man taking over as Head of State trying to rationalize it?

There is no sense to have that many districts, sub-counties and municipalities in the Republic. We all know that and its a political ploy to feed cronies on loaned funds. A bargain for the State House to get loyal pawns all across the Republic. It isn’t to better service delivery nor better governance. It is just adding costs without adding any new revenue. Peace.

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.

Sigulu Island: Ouma MP fix your sub-county, before you carve parts of it into a district

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise on a matter of national importance on behalf of the people of Bukooli Island, Namayingo District. Over 400 people in my constituency have either been killed or maimed by crocodiles”George Abott Ouma MP (Hansard, 9th May 2018)

I don’t know why George Abott Ouma MP of NRM and Bukooli Island County wants to curve parts of his county into a separate district. The teacher should be worried about the state of the sub-county, which its already in. Not what sort of function the local government has there. Unless, he wants it to be a district to get more automatic NRM MPs, because he ran without any opposition candidates against him in 2016.

We know the district has been in the news for the crocodiles eating the kids. As well, as the state not able to find enough seaman and the operational funding to operate the MV Sigulu going between Sigulu and Lolwe. Last report was that after the first testing trip, the ferry has been idle on the landing site in Jinja on the 30th October 2019. The MP should worry about that.

Secondly, a report on the 1st May 2018 stated this: “According to the Ministry of Health Annual Health Sector Performance Report for the financial year 2016/17, Namayingo District, where the Sigulu Islands are situated, was among the districts which showed the most decline in healthcare, scoring below the national average of 66.2 per cent and was ranked 103 out of 116 districts” (Ronald Seebe – ‘Sigulu Island residents struggle to access better health services’ 01.05.2018, Daily Monitor).

Therefore, the supposed part of the Bukooli Island County and the Sigulu Islands has enough trouble as it is. It doesn’t need a new status. That will not configure the situation on the ground. Like there is no emergency ambulance service on the island, also far to the closest health facility, that lacks electricity and equipment, which also happens to be understaffed under the bear-minimum by law. The health care is so bad locally, that the locals are taking costly trips across the border in Kenya to get health care, which is very expensive.

With all this in mind, if the Representative and the Member of Parliament cares about his constituency. He should help the state to deliver better budgets and investments of the basic government services like the schools and the healthcare facilities. That hasn’t been done since he got into office.

He has been able to report about the need for a ferry, which is on the way. But who knows when its officially going. Secondly, he should care more about the substandard level of local government, than the title of the local government. It will not generate more funds, but more substandard living. As the state will not care more directly for Sigulu island, if they become a state. Unless, he just want more MPs from the area.

Also, if Sigulu Island becomes one, wouldn’t the same happen with Lolwa Island, which is the other part of Bukooli Island County. That would make sense, not only make Sigulu, but Lolwa as well. But that would really be something else. As there are only about 215,000 citizens in the district of Namayingo. That means the Sigulu district would be really small and surely, easily for the MP to be an incumbent in.

This here should stop here, but at the rate and the way the government makes new district. It wouldn’t be shocking if this became one. As long as the MP can prove the need and the Parliament the need. However, shouldn’t he be more preoccupied with fixing the issues at hand, instead of creating new ones?

Seemingly, that is what it looks like. Since there is no need for another district in the Republic. It is a waste of funds and this sub-county already need to spend wisely. Since it doesn’t have a good record and need more care from its representative. Not just change something superficial to make it look grand. Peace.

Opinion: Again, we see that the Local Councillors are not a priority…

My Ministry has issued a number of guidelines on roles and responsibilities of Village and Parish Councils and their Committees while executing their various mandates” (…) “However, despite issuing these guidelines, there is need for an in depth induction for Village and Parish Councils and their Committees. This will be achieved as soon as funds are availed” (Tom R. Butime – ‘ RESPONSE TO A QUESTION RAISED ON FAILURE BY GOVERNMENT TO CARRY OUT ADEQUATE ORIENTATION OF ELECTED LOCAL COUNCILS I AND II’ 26.11.2019).

This is not new, as the Local Councillors election could be like picking a captain this last year (2018) on the football field. The art of peer pressure in the villages and towns all across the Republic. The lack of already having funds for the Local Governments, the lack of oversight and even plans for their operations, as effectively not solving the issues locally. As well, as reports of funding for health care centres, motorbikes and so-on. This is a never ending story of lack of due diligence and unnatural growth of a governing body.

With that in mind, as the government should have been prepared to school and teach them how the game was played. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) wasn’t prepared for this and never seemingly, they are more preoccupied with spending elsewhere than actually governing. That is why the LG isn’t getting the funds its need. Most of it given as donations from donors anyway like 60% of it is based from there. That’s why the LG and Local Councillors 1 and 2 haven’t gotten the support they need. This is after postponing LC Elections for over 18 years and they could have secured this for the post-election last year. Still, they didn’t, because they don’t care.

As we see by one report on the matter:

Conclusion: Financing of LGs is critical to the success of decentralisation policy in Uganda. However, the current level of LG financing is not sufficient to meet the level of demand for service delivery. There has been a decline in transfers from Central Government to LGs, in relative and per capita terms attributed to recentralisation of functions and resources which by law are mandated to LGs. This study found that that UGX 1.066 trillion will be retained by various MDAs, yet these funds are supposed to be allocated to LGs as mandated under the Second Schedule of the LGA (CAP 243)” (ACODE – ‘Financing Local Governments in Uganda: An analysis of Proposed National Budget FY 2019/20 and Proposals for Re-allocation’, ACODE Policy Research Series No. 92, 2019).

The Local Government is already lacking the resources it needed, the negative spiral of funds is also showing. Therefore, the state could show some little incentive if they cared, but they are more preoccupied with other projects and such. That’s why these governing bodies are coming second. The NRM shows their lack of care, they can easily make new districts, new sub-counties and municipalities, but they cannot find funds to keep the upkeep.

The LG could have been resolved, but the matters are not the concerning for the high above, the State House nor the Office of the Prime Minister. As they are eating the funds that should have gone here, even the army budget could have been cut to fix the issues within the local government. However, that is not happening with this rulers and this elite in power. They are not giving way and actually securing these bodies with the needed funds.

Instead, they are already giving them to little compared to what them need and the elected officials doesn’t get the guidance nor the lessons of protocol they would need to succeed. They are just going more and more steps ahead of failing. If this isn’t a failure, than its a bloody miracle if it actually would work. Because, people are just catching up as best as they can. Peace.

Uganda: Creation of Terego District (out of West Nile Distict) – (15.11.2016)

terego-district-ug-15-11-2016