Most Ugandans had not healed from a terrible blow as our newly MPs demanded for tax exemptions. As debates over thier tax exemptions escalated around town, it did not spare MPs who had met the NRM chairman at Statehouse to demand for shs 5 millions which would enable them fund thier swearing in ceremories.
To cut the story short, earlier last week, MPs again as usual danced to the tunes of thier master and passed a law that would allow the President create more ministries and appoint any number of cabinet ministers without limit as long as its deemed neccessary.
According to close sources, only 2 MPs voted against the extension of ministries implying that over 98% l voted in favour of creation of new ministries. MPs argue that a big cabinet would help the president to deliver services to his people especially in terms of supervision, implementation and monitoring.
However the expansion of the cabinet directly exposes the weaknesses of institutions that are meant to deliver services to the people. The main challenge that this government has faced is building independent institutions that are fully functional. The government has always felt insecure because independent institutions can serve as checks and balances, a fact that can expose the weaknesses of the regime. Take an example, why would KCCA need two ministers and what would be there role in service delivery.?
Other mysterious ministries include the ministries of regional areas such as Minister for Luweero, Teso, Bunyoro & Karamonja.
Not only do such regional ministries create division and suspicion as some areas are felt out such as Busoga, Ankole, Kigezi among others but also thier impact on regional development remains doubtful.
This brings up a question in whether regions with ministries are better off than regions without such ministries. For example, has the ministry of karamonja moreover under the first lady improved the livelihood of the locals overtime?
While NTV was airing out the stories of the IK, we could atleast assert that people on ground have not benefited from such a ministry. People in Karamonja have remained in absolute inter-generational poverty, poor education system, lack of health care, poor roads, inadquate power supply, hunger & starvation. And all this leaves us to wonder to wonder the impact of the ministry of Karamonja.
Secondly take a look a Luweero “The Political Mecca of NRA’s Gorrila war”. Poor schools without teachers, hospitals without drugs still exist in Luweero. People who lost thier property during the NRA’s gorrila war have not been compensated and this perhaps why NRN always finds it had to win in Luweero.
To sum this up, for an effective and efficient government to deliver, it does not need to create infinite ministries and this is why
1.An increase in ministries increases the recurrent expenditure and reduces the amount avaliable for Capital investments. Already a government with a functional district headquarters is in position to design, implement and monitor development programmes and therefore creating ministries will only double unneccessary costs of administration. Indeed more funding should be directed to district local councils as to our decentralisation Policy.
2.Having fewer ministries makes it easier to monitor than having infinite ministries. One of the reasons of expanding ministries was to ease monitoring of development projects. This is a wrong dimension because if you cannot afford to monitor few ministries, then how will you manage to monitor infinite ministries.
3.Also the creation of unneccessary ministries will lead to the emergence of selfish and conflicting interests as some legislators will try to persuade the president to create certain ministries under which they can personally benefit.
We noticed this with the creation of mob districts as people who had district political ambitions fostered the creation of new districts without considering the economic effects.
This could either trigger disagreements within parliament as some ministries are created and others neglected or this could lead to creation of infinite ministries and soon we could see the number of Ministers exceeding the number of MPs. Fir example we cud see Minister of Mbarara, Gulu, Arua since they are also cities like Kampala.
4.And finally the easy creation of ministries will increase political potranage as the president will use his powers to appoint various ministers to manipulate decision making in the parliament. The president will create certain ministries for his own agenda to please some legislators so as to continiuosly amend the constitution because his ministers are his immediate subordinates and soon we could see constitutional amendments such as the removal if age limits. For instance as we talk, he is assured that his 81 ministers would vote for the removal of Age limits.
In conclusion, Ugandans do not need infinite ministries but rather service delivery and its not correct that having infinite ministries will lead us to a middle income status by 2020. We can refer to Nigeria which is Africa’s biggest economy but with only 36 ministers.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY