Parliament – Another sword on Uganda’s neck?

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Just when the world thought it had gotten rid of arms taking force, there came Parliaments as the new arms against the people under the guise of democracy and constitutionalism. No wonder that civilization has upgraded us from dirty collar fights to white collar ones.

It is so hard to hold a gun and go to the bush and fight for power but easier to have a few gentlemen in suits and use them to rule society for ever and call such men law makers, most of whom without the slightest knowledge required to make laws for the society but rather with enough monetary capital to convince the desperate population with false hope.

Yes, that’s the beauty and ugliness of civilization that comes along with its goodness of no more blood shed, but what less blood will be shade in the oblivion , will be a topic for another day.

The semblance of democracy has out ruled all the goodness in most of African countries but Uganda in particular has experienced its fair share yet the Ugandan August house has been deeply the source of these problems right from the start of independence.

With the Legislative Council ( Legco) having been established by the colonial rule as an instrument for protection of the colonial masters’ interests , it only served as an extension of colonialism in Uganda and only voting in support of Government policy rather than people’s will. The mystery has since developed through the years, in all the past regimes with each using the legislature to its benefit and protection.

With Obote’s government making laws and Amin coming in to turn himself into being the law and then fatally to the incumbent president getting arms victory in 1986 up-to date with among his theories being representation of the people, thus creating the Resistance Council system, and having more MPs, this has in turn done more disservice to Ugandans in my opinion over the years with the very MPs being used to distort the very fundamental principles that brought the NRM into power.

With the fist example being that of the 2005 term limits amendment, the president had famously explained that Africa’s problems were leaders who over stay in power and the term limit clause had aimed at curbing such problems in Uganda but here the law making house reopened the gates to the same problems willingly and intentionally.


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This has worsened along the years as Uganda’s parliament now 2019-2020 being with over 400 members – a figure anticipated to increase to about 600 almost all with the same goal of quickly subscribing into the system as they position themselves to benefit from the patronage dispensed as part of the incumbent president’s regime survival plan and by whatever means possible to benefit their own pockets within the easiest means possible not forgetting that it is no doubt that most of them will come dressed in yellow ( the party colour of the ruling party) because its only there that success is highly ascertainable given all the machinery to win the elections.

This thus leaves one wondering whether the problems of Uganda are due to under representation. Whether cases of corruption and poor infrastructure are spear headed by having a few MPs? Do we have poor roads, hospitals because we lack legislators? This is the question that lingers on my mind.

It’s no wonder that the goal to create a pavilion for the Parliament was deeply set in Uganda ever since 1989 when special interest group representation was introduced. This was said to be intended to protect the “marginalized groups”, including women, people with disabilities, the youth, workers and the army.

This in my view has not effected anything positive to the population and never was it supposed to apart from building the ruling party with more parliamentary voters than the opposition while the country still faces more challenging problems such as poverty, healthcare, poor working conditions and many others.

Further still there has been the creation of MP seats for the elderly as one of the special interest groups. One wonders what’s with this special representation. Can’t the current parliamentarians represent all the people? Don’t we have old age legislators? Are their jobs limited to only their voters?

In comparison with other countries like China, the legislature is comprised of about 2900 members that are considered to be part-time legislators and are not paid, with its population that is 10 times or more ours, whereas USA has over 7300 legislators with 50 per state, but still they are well far progressing in development. This hints at the fact that Uganda’s problem is not with representation so it should not be made a top priority by the government any more.

Our over-sized Parliament cannot be trusted on its job with the Executive organ having influence on it and one wonders the logic of making a legislator a minister at the same time. This, with no doubt interferes with the impartiality of the August house and lags behind the democratic principles the very government asserts to be upholding.

By undermining the doctrine of separation of powers, the mandate of parliament this leaves Uganda with rather a picture of a parliamentary house that is only used to blind fold the people into a huge abyss rather than a true Parliament.

With the above analysis, one wonders what is the purpose of the heavily loaded Ugandan parliament . The first parliament after independence had about 92 legislators and ever since then, the numbers have grown so largely and this seems an achievement in the NRM for having created jobs. But what’s the point in creating 500 jobs at the expense of 46 million or so people?.

This is a single achievement ( if it can be called so) but rather a liability with the worst victims being tax payers who face their financial burden. The law makers are entitled to determine their own benefits backed by Article 85(1) of the Constitution that provides:

” A Member of Parliament shall be paid such emoluments and such gratuity and shall be provided with such facilities as may be determined by Parliament”

This provision leaves ugandan tax payers helpless at the hands of selfish parliamentarians that had of recent awarded themselves with 20 million Ugandan shillings like the normal trend “man eateth were he worketh.” But the family head doesn’t eat all the food and keep some in his pockets when the rest are dying of hunger.

This symbolism is the exact manifestation of the Parliamentarians sharing money while Ugandans are dying in the COVID-19 crisis and then the head of state interjects only to later on reward his loyals with double the amount and punish the big headed with embarrassment thus hitting two birds with one stone but all under the same house (Parliament).


 

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