The Independent (Kampala)

14 February 2013

Uganda: NRM Party to Budget for Nation

opinion

The thought of having NRM members of parliament budgeting for the country is the crudest joke of the year so far, and insult to the Ugandans. The regime is deliberately ignoring the constitution and other set policies by usurping roles and powers that do not belong to them.

Where does the NRM caucus get the mandate to take over the role of parliament in the budgeting process? The argument that they are the majority hence taking over the budgeting process is selfish, misplaced and out of context.

The NRM members that intend to rob parliament of its mandate should heed to the words of President Thomas Jefferson that he proclaimed in his first inaugural address, "all, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression."

Majority rule has to be limited in order to protect minority views since not all members of parliament and Ugandans belong to the ruling party. The intended usurping of powers if not challenged will be used to oppress persons holding unpopular views. Unlimited majority rule in a democracy is potentially just as despotic as the unchecked rule of an autocrat or an elitist minority political party.

It is alleged that the NRM wants the budget to be in conformity with their manifesto. One is left wondering why we have a National Development Plan if we are to be governed using a party manifesto.

The deliberate abuse and undermining of institutions by the current regime on a pretext of majority rule, has undermined the fight against corruption, which the government rhetorically claims to fight. It is a known fact that corruption has thrived under this regime and budget abuse through supplementary requests has been the order of the day.

The NRM committee that will be undertaking the task of budgeting for the country will be facilitated by the Ministry of Finance. At the same time there exists a budget office in the same Ministry composed of professionals to do such work. It is obvious that huge sums of money will be spent and wasted in the long run because of technicalities that will arise. It is not surprising therefore that government will continually sing the same song "No Money, No Change" when our teachers, doctors rightly claim for a descent pay.

The NRM caucus should respect institutions and laws that have been put in place. The doctrine of separation of powers ought to be respected. Take heed that the same doctrine infringed upon today, will be the basis on which history will judge you.

Cissy Kagaba is the Executive Director Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda

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