New Vision (Kampala)

9 November 2012

Uganda: Museveni Meets MPs Over New Districts

President Yoweri Museveni met MPs on Public Service and Local government committee of parliament on Thursday over a host of concerns pertaining to the mooted creation of 20 new districts.

The 20 proposed districts are; Kagadi, Kakumiro, Bunyangabu, Butebo, Bugweri, Kakuuto, Kapelebyong, Kasanda, Kazo and Kilak.

Others are; Kitagwenda, Kyadondo, Kyotera, Nabilatuk, Namisindwa, Omoro, Pakwach, Rubanda, Rukiga and Rwampara.

The meeting at state house Entebbe, according to sources inside the committee, was at the request of MPs who feel many proposed districts are not feasible.

"Besides not being financially viable, many proposals made by Local government minister about these new districts are not feasible," one of the MPs who preferred anonymity told New Vision.

Among the contentious issues is the proposed split of Kakuuto County in Rakai district, to create Kyotera district.

Another issue is the impasse over the proposed split of Kasese district, into three - Bwera, Ruwenzori and Kasese over tribal wrangles between the Bakonjo and the Basongora.

In an interface with Local government minister, Adolf Mwesige, MPS expressed their reservations about the creation of new districts, without viably funding existing ones.

MPs said revenue that meant for service delivery at the local level is expended on unnecessary layers of public administration.

The president of the Uganda Local Government Association, Peter Odok W'oceng recently cautioned against creating new districts that are not adequately funded.

W'oceng said many districts have staffing levels of less than 40 percent due to financial constraints.

Uganda has 112 districts, and the proposed 20 new districts will bring the figure to 132.

The increase in the number of districts has always drawn criticism from various sections of the public, with civil society groups arguing that it diverts human and financial resources from the existing districts, hence undermining the capacity of local governments to effectively deliver services.

However, government has always defended its position on new districts as intended to bring services closer to the public.

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