Acholi MPs Plot On Regional Govt

Members of Parliament from the Acholi sub region want a regional government formed for better service delivery and easy lobbying opportunities with donors.

Aruu county MP Hon. Odonga Otto.
Aruu county MP Hon. Odonga Otto.

The legislators argue that they do not have enough ability and authority to lobby for funds abroad from donors because they have been doing it as individuals.

The MPs say that if they go as a government they will be credible enough to get support for northern Uganda, adding that a regional government could also give them a platform to lobby from World Bank.

Aruu County MP Odonga Otto states that with an effective regional tier in place, the leaders will not only lobby for money from kind people but also through international organizations such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and from other donors directly.

Odonga says that the regional tier perceived in the constitution is not exactly what the Acholi are demanding since the constitution merely talks about Tourism, culture and business but not absolute power to local governments.

He says that if this is put in place, the central government can only come in at times of state emergencies.

According to Aswa county MP Reagan Okumu, who is the chairperson Acholi Parliamentary Group, the formation of a regional tier has been the demand and conclusion of major Acholi workshops and conferences but to date this has not been done.

He now says he plans to move a motion this week on the regional governments which are provided for in the constitution saying a regional tier is a constitutional right.

Dr Maria Matembe, a former ethics minister and Governance specialist, said that it does not matter how small or big the country is divided.

She says that the central governance system is not working the way it is supposed to because of self-centred leaders who think less of the people.

Matembe said there is need to have someone who is people-oriented in leadership so that there is equality and development in the region.

In 2005, Parliament amended the Constitution to create Regional Tier governments as an alternative to federalism.

Article 178 (1) of the constitution provides for cooperation among districts, stating that two or more districts shall be free to co-operate in the areas of culture and development as set out in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

The article further empowers the districts to form and support councils, trust funds or secretariats, provided such co-operation conforms to the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution.

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