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Uganda: Regional Government Bill Proposed

(Dec. 22, 2009) On December 8, 2009, Ugandan local government minister Adolf Mwesige introduced in the parliament the Regional Governments Bill 2009. (Joyce Namutebi, Regional Governments Bill Tabled, THE NEW VISION ONLINE, Dec. 14, 2009, available at WORLD NEWS CONNECTION, No. 200912141477.1_286301003d6b0963.) The draft law is based on article 178 of Uganda's Constitution, permitting “two or more districts” to cooperate in “culture and development” and to “form and support councils, trust funds or secretariats … .” (Constitution of Uganda (1995), (last visited Dec. 16, 2009).)

The bill specifies that where there is a traditional or cultural leader in a district, that person is considered the titular head of the regional government, but will have only a symbolic function and will not make governing decisions. (Namutebi, supra.)

Critics have noted that the government bill is incomplete, creating regional governments in some parts of the country but not everywhere, and would increase administrative costs. “We should be talking about uniform legislation that covers the entire country,” Abdu Katuntu, an opposition Member of Parliament, stated. (Id.)