Govt should not create new constituencies

Thursday June 25 2020

Members of Parliament during the plenary

Members of Parliament during the plenary session at Parliament on February 20. The size of the 11th Parliament is set to increase due to the creation of six new counties and nine constituencies. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA 

By Editor

The creation of new constituencies and administrative units particularly at a time the country is facing economic slump and financial challenges following the Covid-19 pandemic is ill-advised.

It will only pile more burden on the national treasury and overstretch the already frail economy.

This week, Cabinet approved nine new parliamentary constituencies and six counties. There are already 11 districts which came into force in 2018/2019 financial year but could not elect their Woman MPs because government had no money to conduct the elections. Beginning next month, seven new cities will come into force.

Each will have a Woman MP and another MP for the additional constituency, bringing the total number of parliamentary representatives arising from the new cities to 14.

This alone will increase the number of MPs in the next Parliament by 34. If the additional proposed districts and cities are also approved, the number of MPs will be much bigger.
The new constituencies, cities and counties will not only increase the size of Parliament but also the elective positions in the lower local government structures.
Government has been carrying out fundraising from the public seeking money to support Covid-19 activities.

Individuals, companies and organisations have contributed generously in the belief that government is financially constrained to fight the pandemic.

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Government is also borrowing heavily to raise money to manage the Covid-19 and post-Covid situation and the national debt has shot up to nearly half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

In the foregoing, the government should not be creating new administrative units that will increase cost of public administration at such a critical time when the rest of the world are looking at every opportunity possible to reduce government expenditure to save resources to support recovery programmes for their wrecked economies.

It is inconceivable and pointless to have a 500-member parliament and so many local council/local government administrators when government has failed to raise money to pay public servants in various ministries for lack of money.

It also defeats the logic of the government appeal to all working Ugandans to contribute money to fight Covid-19 when it is creating more non-essential cost centres to increase expenditure.

At a time government has announced cuts and suspension of budgets for non-essential items such as travel, and workshops in the national budget on one hand, it should not be putting in place centres to drain the national treasury from the other side. Government should focus on industrialisation, not politicisation of the country. Too many administrators and legislators will not development Uganda. Industrialists and prudent public expenditure will.

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