President Yoweri Museveni last week made an unequivocal defence of his government’s continuous creation of more districts and political constituencies, which experts have warned, could hurt the country’s economic progress.
The president, a few weeks after suggesting dissolution and merging of some government Authorities, Agencies and Boards for the same economic reasons, would expect his logic to be questioned about the districts.
Late last week while speaking in a televised interview, Museveni stood by his decision to eliminate the government authorities and agencies, but said more districts and constituencies are needed.
The President argued that creating more constituencies and splitting up districts would create political harmony and address the problem of sectarianism.
According to Museveni, more political representatives mean that small groups of people are well represented in government and don’t have leaders forced onto them by majority. This he said helps address what he termed as “the tyranny of numbers.”
“You have areas which were populated by different ethnic groups; for in instance Bundibugyo district, you had two groups of people there. When we had one constituency, you would find that they are still voting on a sectarian basis,” Museveni said.
“There was tyranny of numbers. One group which was bigger than the other was always sending elected people. We had therefore to sort this out. We said it is wrong to vote on a sectarian basis.”
As a way of stopping this sectarian voting, Museveni says, he thought it would be wise to “separate these people, because it will create enmity.”
Splitting of district and constituencies, the President said, is part of his government’s “libaratory strategies” [sic].
Ministry of Finance has time and again complained about the endless splitting of local governments, which continues to strain the treasury.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi recently told parliament that there were no sufficient resources to fund elections for the newly created districts.
The new districts which were created by the 9th Parliament in 2016 and became operation in July this year are; Rukiga, Pakwach, Namisindwa, Butebo and Kyotera. These are slated later this month to elect their women representatives in Parliament as well as the district councils.
But Museveni said during the interview that creating new districts is not wasting government money.
“That is not wastage,” he said. “We just don’t want any Ugandan to be oppressed by another one.”