captures the commitment of parties as concerns Federo in Uganda. It
therefore gives an indication whether Federo shall be implemented if
these parties gained power in Uganda. To date the impression that
parties give is that they have no dedicated programme to solve the
National Federo Movement
The National Federo Movement (NFM) is a pressure group formed in 1997 to champion for the restoration of the federal system of government.
The group's national mobilizer is Saddam Abdu Gaira.
The DP advocates for a Federal Uganda; and this is the position the Democratic Party took in the Constituent Assembly. My manifesto and all my speeches and statements during the 1996 Presidential Campaign and ever since have unambiguously called for a federal Uganda. More is to follow on this. (Paul K. Ssemogerere, President, Democratic Party)
DP supports Buganda on Federo
By Kennedy LuleThe Democratic Party (DP) has extended its support to Buganda’s quest for a federal form of government (federo).
DP President General Paul K. Ssemogerere in a statement released Friday commended Buganda’s Katikkiro Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere for his preparation to present the Kingdom’s position pushing for a federal system of government before the Constitution Review Commission slated for Tuesday, Feb. 28.
“We encourage members of the DP to join hands with others and associate themselves with the scheduled events of the day (Tuesday), ” Ssemogerere said.
The DP chief said the issue of federalism and the land tenure question, together with the issue of the political systems for Uganda were left unresolved by the Constituent Assembly (CA).
Ssemogerere said DP maintains its unequivocal support for federalism as spelt out in their contributions to the CA (1994-1995) and Ssemogerere’s manifesto for the 1996 presidential election.
“We believe federalism is the most appropriate form of government
for promoting harmony, equitable development and cultural diversity in
Uganda,” Ssemogerere added.
Federalism means an agreed sharing of power and responsibilities between the central government and the constituent units. It also addresses the question of cultural identity, concerns, aspirations and development. This sharing of power should be entrenched in the constitution. The sharing of power gives the constituent units a measure of autonomy and self determination. By definition, this is more fundamental and is different from the decentralization policy whereby the central government dictates what it retains and what it delegates to the constituent units; and also retains the power to withdraw powers without the consent of the local governments.
Federalism is the best form of empowerment of local government. A federal constitution guarantees certainty of source of income and funding for the local government. Consequently, local government planning and development become easy and realizable because the people are certain about the minimum expected funding. Local government becomes real as it does not depend on the dictates of the president or Minister of Local Government. Besides; the Central Government and local government become partners in the enterprise of governance and not master and servant [slave] or benefactor and ward. Each respects and recognizes the other's authority. Under federalism social tensions are considerably minimized.
During the constitution making process, the strongest voice for federalism came from Buganda. But, it must be remembered that as soon as the name Buganda was mentioned in the constitution, although merely as a token, pressure mounted from other "nationalities" that their original names be constitutionalized. So, Acholi, Ankole, Bunyoro, Busoga, Lango and Toro, were added. These constitute a majority of all the districts and most of the population of Uganda. The fact that the constitution makers were forced to provide for cooperation among districts is a clear testimony of the people's desire for federalism.
To revisit the Constitution with a view to ensuring that a viable and well coordinated form of federalism is established; promote unity in diversity, in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people concerned; and guarantee the minimum but meaningful income and sources of funding for local governments.
Excerpt from the UPC
Position on the Form of Government and Local Administrations
during the drafting of the Uganda Constitution 1995 by the Constituent
during the drafting of the Uganda Constitution 1995 by the Constituent Assembly CA
1. During the debates and discussions which
led to the anonymous agreement by the Delegates to the 1962 London
Conference on the Constitution of Uganda, there were difficult and
intricate issues. It was the UPC
which, having considered and articulated possible solutions to the
issues, engaged the different Delegations in heart to heart discussions
of the possible solutions.
2. Uganda seems to be now in the same
situation as in the period which preceded the 1962 London Conference.
This is in regard (amongst other matters) to the form of Administrations
to be provided in the new Constitution for the component parts of
Uganda. The matter is generating and causing unnecessary ill feelings
and bitterness. The draft of the new Constitution contains very serious
flaws which unless corrected, will make the Constitution a charter for
oppression and repression.
3. On the individual rights and freedoms of
the citizen, for example, the draft of the new Constitution seeks to
curtail those rights and freedoms. Two very serious cases may be cited.
First, the draft makes provision for the
freedom of expression without addressing its substance or heart. The
"freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and
information without interference" is the cardinal principle in the
concept of freedom of expression. It is ludicrous that the Constitution
Commission and supporters of the Movement System of rule find that an
alleged majority of the people of Uganda agree that this noble principle
be omitted from the new Constitution.
It is hard to accept and believe the claims
of the Constitutional Commission and advocates of the Movement System
that the principle of freedom of expression is harmful to the citizen
and society and must therefore not be provided for in the Constitution
..." Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in
the enjoyment of his freedom of expression". The omissions for the
draft of the rights and freedom of "own consent" are being
blatantly made for nefarious reasons.
Second, unlike in the existing Constitution,
the Draft while purporting to outlaw discrimination on grounds of race,
tribe, place of origin, POLITICAL OPINIONS, colour or creed, actually
provides for discrimination especially against citizens who hold
different political opinions and do not support the movement and the
movement system of rule.
Contrary to the provision in the existing
Constitution citizens who, on conscience, want to belong to political
Parties and want to protect their interests in the governance of Uganda
through their respective political Parties have been and are to be under
the new Constitution subject to disabilities and restrictions to which
citizens who support the movement have not been made subject and under
the new Constitution are not to be made subject.
In addition, supporters of the Movement have
been accorded privileges and advantages and are, under the new
Constitution, to continue to be accorded privileges and advantages which
have not been and are not to be made subject. The new Constitution is
also designed to debar the political Parties from contesting elections
to public institutions and offices with their own candidates and on
their respective distinctive policies and platforms.
4. The suppression of the rights and
freedoms of the citizen, in various forms and disguises, which has been
since 1986 and is in practice is to continue either as a constitutional
provision or as a feature of rule under the new Constitution to be
extended and cunningly made to appear as a temporary or transitional
feature when in fact the practice it to continue indefinitely through
revolving terms to be disguised as the will of the people expressed in
referenda. Any referendum in which only the supporters of the Movement
are free to express their views on a subject or subjects at issue and
citizens who hold contrary views are not free to express their views
would be bogus and fraudulent but will still be presented as the free
will of the people.
5. The continuance of the suppression of the
rights and freedoms of the citizen and the entrenchment of the rule of
the NRM/NRA are therefore the twin core and objective of the new
6. Had the first, the suppression of the
rights and freedoms, not been the case, the debate outside the
Constituent Assembly, at public meetings, seminars and workshops on such
a legitimate matter as whether or not the new Constitution should
provide for some kind of federal (Federo) arrangements, would not have
been prohibited and suppressed.
7. There are citizens who support the
Movement and the Movement System of rule but also hold opinions that the
new Constitution should provide for federal arrangements. When such
citizens hold public meetings, seminars and workshops in order to
endorse the suppression of the rights and freedoms of the citizens who
belong to political Parties, they are praised and exalted by the rulers.
However, when the same citizens want to hold seminars; public meetings
and workshops in order to impart and disseminate their opinions of
Federo arrangements, their rights and freedoms to do so are suppressed.
This is discrimination and oppression.
8. Uganda is not composed of robots but has,
in abundance men and women of brain power, abilities to think and
articulate ideas and capacities to know what they want and what is good
or bad for them and for their country. Any notion that it is only the
military rulers who are capable to think for all the people of Uganda or
who alone know what is good and bad is a most inimical insult to all the
people of Uganda.
9. There are two matters of principle
regarding what the new Constitution would provide in respect to the form
of Administrations in the component parts of Uganda. The first is that
the new Constitution either of itself or in its effect make provision
which is discriminatory in the treatment of the component parts of
Uganda, large or small, wealthy or lean. The second principle arises
directly from the first namely, the Constitution should not afford
different treatment to different component parts of the country.
10. On the basis of the two principles, the
alternatives are only two. The first is the unitary state as provided in
the 1967 Constitution and has not been altered by the NRM regime or
proposed in the draft of the new Constitution to be altered. Opposition
to this alternative has grown and is growing. A return to the
arrangements in the 1962 and 1966 Constitutions has the demerit of
discrimination in that the arrangements afforded different treatment to
different component parts of the country. Incidentally not many people
are aware that the so-called pigeon-hole Constitution of 1966 actually
left intact the federal arrangements of the 1962 Constitution and
altered only the provision of the Head of State to make the offices of
the President executive and not titular as was agreed in the 1962 London
Conference. The election in 1963 of the first Ugandan as Head of State
was a wholly UPC programme which was accepted by the whole country.
11. Having considered the matter in depth
and having examines afresh and again, as in 1966, found that the
arrangements in the 1962 crisis which enabled the then UPC
government to provide for the continuance of those arrangements in the
1966 Constitution: and having further studied the nefarious designs by
some politicians to involve the then titular Head of State who was also
the Kabaka of Buganda in plots to remove the government of Uganda by
unconstitutional means, designs which led the Lukiiko of Buganda to
wittingly or unwittingly pass a resolution which caused insecurity and
led to the abolition in the 1967 of the arrangements in 1962 and 1966
Constitutions: and taking into account the meaningless and hollow
restoration of the Traditional Rulers by the NRM regime and further
restoration has generated and which could lead to serious bitterness and
insecurity, the UPC
makes the following proposals for their entrenchment in the new
(i) That the Constitution by itself or in
its effect no provision which is discriminatory in respect to relation
between the government of Uganda and the Administration in any of the
component parts of Uganda.
(ii) That each and every component part of
Uganda, as a unit, be afforded the same treatment, rights and freedoms.
(iii) That in the light of experience,
development and the need for harmony, the devolution of powers Buganda,
Bushenyi, Nebbi, Mbale etc. be made applicable equally to each and every
component unit of the country.
(iv) That Kampala and Entebbe be provided
for the Constitution as one component unit, and room be provided for
their expansion and eventual merger as the National Capital.
(v) That each component unit with its
boundaries be designated and be recognised by name in the Constitution.
(v) That the Council, by whatever name
called, of each component part and its executive Head shall be elected
in free and fair multiparty elections.
It will be recalled that UPC
did not send delegates to the Constituent Assembly, and the reasons for
that have been addressed in earlier Press Statements. Suffice to say
to accept and respect a Constitution that will guarantee rights and
freedoms of all the people of Uganda, and a Constitution that will usher
in peace and development of its peoples. But it must be recalled that UPC
in its Pronouncement of 25 March 1994 stated that should the
Constitution enacted by the current Constituent Assembly, considering
the manner in which it was constituted, falls short of the above
will reserve the rights to reject and dishonour that Constitution.
Before the 1995 Constitution was drawn up, the Odoki
Commission traversed the country and received numerous memoranda from
all across the country in order to ascertain the views of the people on
what they wanted in the Constitution.
It is a matter of record that the majority of views from Buganda
and the rest of Uganda submitted to the Odoki Commission, recommended
that a Federal system of government be put in place.
It has already been recommended in this document that the
Constitutional Review Commission reverts to the Odoki report in which
the people’s views were expressed. The debate should not be about
WHETHER to have federalism. It should be about HOW to structure and
* The Constitution should provide for the establishment of Federal government in response to the views collected by the Odoki commission about the subject.
Excerpts from Dr. Besigye's Submission to the Ssempebwa Constitutional Review Commission, in August of 2001.
NRM is confronted with Federo, it counters with having empowered local
governments. The ministry of local government understands its mission
thus: “It is the mandate of the Ministry to establish, develop and
facilitate the management of a self-sustaining, efficient and effective
decentralized Local Government Systems capable of delivering the
required services to the people in order to foster good democratic
governance and integrated social and economic development.” Thereby it
seeks to improve “service delivery by shifting policy implementation
away from an aloof, inefficient centre to the actual point of delivery;
to promote good governance by emphasising transparency and
accountability in the management of public affairs; to democratise
society through promotion of inclusive, representative decision-making;
and to alleviate poverty through collaborative efforts between Central
and Local Governments, donors, non-Governmental organisations (NGOs),
the private sector and other stakeholders.”
Here is the
structure of local governments in Uganda:
councils including Kampala
is the highest local government. “However, urban local Governments
have autonomy over their financial and planning matters in relation to
the District Council but their plan must be incorporated in the District
alleged, “Local Governments have been given extensive political,
executive and administrative powers”. Their functions and
responsibilities include the exercising of political and executive
powers, providing services, protecting the constitution, and ensuring
the implementation and compliance with government policy.
government ensured that Parliament promulgates “the Local Governments
Act, 1997 in which the roles, functions and powers of Central and Local
Governments were extensively detailed to facilitate a smooth and
synchronised implementation process.” The decentralisation policy was
incorporated into the 1995 Constitution and its reversal can only be
effected through a constitutional revision.
This is how
the NRM is camouflaging her thirst for power. The initiatives of the
local government do not go further enough as to ensure a genuine
separation of powers in a true political sense. I miss a number of
things such as the independent legislative and policy-making
institutions in the local governments. The common institutions have
their own independent legislative process, which is distinct from those
of the member councils. Their laws do not require ratification in the
councils of its member governments. Another thing that I miss is Law
enforcement body, such as an Executive and Courts, which have
independent law-enforcement powers and responsibilities.
Federo must wait until Jesus comes back, so said one NRM supporter.
JEEMA stands for Justice Education Economy Morality African unity.
The Federal Question: As a matter of priority, JEEMA intends to re-address the problem of concentrating too much power in the centre, which has led past leaders to abuse it. JEEMA proposes to divide Uganda into semi-autonomous units of various sizes and degree of autonomy, which will federate to make the whole. The process of federating will be democratic and consultative, and will take into account traditional leadership sensibilities. If the people so decide, traditional leaders can be heads of a unit, but within a democratic framework, whose details will be laid out by an act of Parliament that will also define the powers of the units.
This party is headed by Nelson Umah Tete and advocates for Federalism.
The Justice Party supports Federalism as the form of government in Uganda.
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