In the movement caucus that was held at Munyonyo Speke Resort in 2005, I was badly defeated when I opposed clause 3 of Article 178 of the constitution. A lonely voice then, I was allowed to present a paper why I felt so strongly against the regional tier. After Munyonyo, I was to vote in favor of the regional tier because that was my party’s position that had been agreed upon with Mengo.
My quarrel was that Mengo had been given a shortcut to circumvent an elaborate democratic procedure as provided for under clause 2 of 178 of the Ugandan Constitution.
Second was that the neo-conservative ideological outlook of the dominant section of Mengo will automatically oppose it for different reasons.
I said then “the ’apparent’ unanimity that the people of Buganda are in agreement with the regional tier is artificial. In Buganda, there are two contending groups each with sizeable numbers. One group believes that Buganda as a region has a historic birthright to an independent identity within a united Uganda and that identifying and satisfying Buganda’s interests first helps serve Uganda’s interest best, so the federo arrangement is the best option to achieve that objective. Another group believes that a new Ugandan entity has already emerged and that identifying and serving Uganda’s interests first, helps serve Buganda’s interests better. A good Uniform local government system for the entire country through devolution and decentralization of power is the best arrangement to achieve the objective. I belong to this group.”
NRM inherited one country called Uganda and I think it’s not any one’s wish to dismantle it for everyone to go back to the tribal leadership of pre-colonial state.
Secondly, it inherited a very centralized Uganda state of the 1967 Republican Constitution and the only logical way is to devolve and decentralize power from the center and that spirit was captured in the principle and structures of local government Article 176 of the constitution of Uganda.
The Kabaka’s demand for Buganda as a region to share power with the central government has been taken care of under clause 3 of Article 178 of the constitution of this country.
So many other benefits for Buganda that were agreed upon between the Kabaka’s team led by Owek-Katikiro Mulwanyamulli Semwogerere and H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni were all thrown out by the neo conservative team of Owek-Dan Mulika because of the following;
1. The Katikiro should not be directly elected by all the people of Buganda. Why? Because they cannot be trusted.
2. The majority belong to the movement party – they are likely to bring a movement Katikiro to Mengo.
3. The District Land Boards in Buganda should be disbanded and replaced by Buganda Land Board while government position was Buganda Land Board should co-ordinate the District land boards which are nearer to the local people.
4. A vetting committee to ensure that a Katikiro is a pure Muganda should be put in the Constitution. Apart from these, there seems to have been no other reason.
Since the Kabaka has again demonstrated his desire to share power with the central government, he has to reign over that conservative group in Mengo.
As for the government of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, a form of government for the entire country should be uniform and that is why the district had been chosen as the basic unit. If we are to actualize the provincial (region tier), then we must gazette these regions throughout Uganda, otherwise to leave it optional as in 178 (1) is to postpone our responsibility.
Remember article 178 (13) of the Ugandan constitution states “regional Governments shall commence on 1st July 2006.”
Hon. Mulindwa Birimumaaso is a Senior Presidential Advisor.