Silence engulfed Cabinet on Monday as President Museveni questioned Ruhaama split, and threatened to lead a peaceful demonstration against what sources called a flawed resolution of Parliament.
Trouble started after the President told Cabinet that the Ntungamo District resolution splitting Ruhaama constituency into two had been tampered with.
Parliament had just passed a resolution creating Ruhaama East from Ruhaama County.
Sources told Daily Monitor that Itojo Sub-county and Nyamukana Town Council had been placed under Ruhaama East contrary to the district council resolution.
Mr Museveni demanded to know who tampered with the district council resolution and ordered Mr Raphael Magyezi, the Local Government minister, to go back to Parliament and correct mistakes.
Ruhaama East is among the 47 constituencies Cabinet approved two weeks ago under Article 179 (4) of the Constitution.
The new constituencies were later sent to Parliament for approval. However, it is not clear why the President questioned the split after the matter went through Cabinet.
But sources told Daily Monitor that the President, who was backed by the former area MP Janet Museveni, ordered Mr Magyezi to “correct mistake” or he leads a demonstration against a flawed process.
Mr Museveni, according to sources, told Cabinet that he was born and raised in the district and knows all the villages very well.
He said he knows the historical background of the areas, and reiterated that the demarcations were wrongly done, and vowed not to allow it because the split had annoyed Ruhaama residents.
The new Ruhama East has a population of about 25,000 residents.
The President had no problem with splitting the constituency but questioned the sharing of the sub-counties in violation of the district resolution.
Mr Magyezi did not explain how the district resolution was changed but clarified that “we followed the district council resolution. We also received substantial information on the historical background of Ruhaama. We corrected the error yesterday [Tuesday] and presented the new harmonised position to Parliament and it was passed.”
Without delving into the specifics, Mr Magyezi confirmed that “the historical information was given to us by ...the President who knows the place very well.”
Cabinet on recess
Meanwhile, Mr Museveni on Monday sent Cabinet on a five-week recess to allow ministers get sufficient time to mobilise their supporters.
Most of the ministers are taking part in the NRM primaries ahead of the forthcoming General Election.
However, in case of urgent matters, ministers told Daily Monitor that the President will have the leeway to summon Cabinet.
The government has created new counties to bring services closer to people amid escalating cost of public administration and Opposition claims of gerrymandering.
Ruhaama East Constituency
1.Rwoho Town Council
3.Nyakyeera Town Council
4.Rukoni West Sub-county
5.Rukoni East Sub-county
6. Kitwe Town Council
3.Rahaama East Sub-county
4.Kafunjo-Miramara Town Council
8.Nyamukana Town Council
“I began selling the idea of splitting the constituency when Mama Janet [Museveni]was still MP. Everyone said it was not practical because leaders and residents wanted to still get Mama Janet services. This has been a big milestone, I now hope people will feel they are represented,” Moses Kahima, Ruhaama MP
“Splitting a constituency has no value to the voters or the residents. It just benefits only one person who becomes an MP. I don’t think anyone should support this gerrymandering. What the people need is service delivery,” Dan Mugizi, civil society activist
“We are worried that the trend of disrespect of Local Government decisions is increasing and this may kill the spirit of decentralisation. It has been a big county and we hope our request to have the district split will be respected,” Elijah Atuheire, Ntungamo district speaker
“We can now breathe as leaders that the dream of Ruhaama being split into two has come to light. Many of us would lose seats if it remained so. The President would not have accepted to disenfranchise the people of Ruhaama, he aided us to have it as per council resolution,” Beatrice Rwakimari, Ntungamo Woman MP
“Having a small constituency eases the work of an MP while looking for votes and consulting. But what do people gain? We need to give institutions where people get proper service delivery,” Dr Peninah Beinomugisha, KIU
Compiled by Perez Rumanzi