19 December 2012

Uganda: Lawmakers Sacrificing Tenets of Democratic Governance


I fear Parliament is sacrificing the tenets of democratic governance at the altar of fighting corruption. Corruption is just a consequence, not the cause of undemocratic governance.

Democratic governance entails:

Independence of the three arms of government;

Free and fair elections;

A knowledgeable and informed electorate;

The Head of State is elected based on manifesto appeal;

Head of State is mandated to pick own cabinet that will best deliver manifesto;

Parliament's primary role is to make laws for peace, order, development and good governance;

Judiciary administers laws

Citizens pay taxes to enable the arms of Government to function and

Performance appraisal is done by voters through regular elections.

These principles of democratic governance are the environment that the Constitution of Uganda should aim to provide, but is it appropriately designed for the job?

Until we deal with the constitution, we shall continue having challenges, no matter who occupies State House.

Parliament should, therefore, concentrate on its primary role of enacting laws for the good governance of Uganda, then good governance will sort out the rest, instead of fighting over the budget and manifesto with the executive.

Eighty percent of Uganda's Constitution puts authority on the presidency. Instead of fighting, Parliament should repeal provisions that undermine separation of power and enact those that protect institutions from undue influence!

Kenya achieved this through the 2010 referendum. Henceforth, the Chief Justice, Electoral Commissioners, Inspector General of Police, Central Bank Governor and all public officials except Cabinet, apply for jobs when advertised and submit to an open, competitive process.

Ugandans should consider a national referendum to change governance system from the over-centralised, to the Kenya-like power devolving system.

The writer is the president of the Uganda Federal Alliance. 

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