30 November 2012

Uganda: Govt Should Let Regions Manage Resources - Kamya

Kabuusu, Kampala — Management of resources in the country should be left to regions other than the central government, Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) president, Beti Olive Kamya suggests.

"80% of power vested to the president by Parliament with a right to select whom, where, when and who is to manage resources, which has caused chaos in Parliament," she said at the party headquarters in Kabuusu.

The call comes in the wake of temporary closure of Parliament by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga when some chaotic MPs tried to take away the mace amidst the oil debate.

Unruly legislators protested the revisit of Clause 9 of the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Bill 2012, which gives the energy minister powers to grant and revoke oil licenses.

Kamya said Parliament should disseminate powers and responsibilities over resources to regions instead of leaving it to the central government which benefits a few individuals around the President.

Her emphasis is that several government institutions are not functioning because too much power has been vested in the President's office.

Speaking to New Vision, Kamya stressed that such excess powers have failed to inspire proper government operations and equitable development.

"Parliament should trim presidential powers by 20%, if Uganda is to realize meaningful development."

She therefore called for the restoration of presidential term limits in order to reduce dictatorship and chaos in governmental bodies.

"While all efforts are applauded, a referendum is our biggest insurance."

Kamya said that her party intends to collect over 40,000 signatures during the launch of the referendum process intended to change the governance system of Uganda "from the over-centralized unitary system to the power devolving federal system".

She said in as much as the Parliament, religious leaders and civil society were spearheading the move, the population needs to be involved through a referendum.

"Under the current system, the president is considered as the Almighty whose interest may override the state's interests. It's prudent that the incoming Parliament considers trimming presidential powers," Kamya added.

Kamya called on civil society organizations, opposition and religious leaders to continue agitating for term limits but include other avenues.

"We had term limits but they were removed to suit interests of personalities in the current government which we are opposed to. Presidents must serve and go."

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