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Regional tier Bill released

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th December 2009 03:00 AM

A Bill to provide for the establishment of regional governments is finally out.
The Regional Governments Bill, 2009 also provides for the formation of regional parliaments by the regional governments and other structures.

A Bill to provide for the establishment of regional governments is finally out.
The Regional Governments Bill, 2009 also provides for the formation of regional parliaments by the regional governments and other structures.

By Joyce Namutebi

A Bill to provide for the establishment of regional governments is finally out.
The Regional Governments Bill, 2009 also provides for the formation of regional parliaments by the regional governments and other structures.

If passed into law, the regional governments shall be the highest political authority within the regions and shall have political, legislative, administrative and cultural functions.

The Bill further provides for the leadership of regional governments including appointment of ministers in addition to providing for a chief executive officer and staff for the governments.

In September, President Yoweri Museveni announced that he would implement the regional tier system next financial year.
Buganda Kingdom opposes the establishment of the regional tier system and has for years demanded for a federal system of governance, which Museveni has ruled out.

Local government minister Adolf Mwesige is expected to table the Bill in Parliament any time.

The Bill is to operationalise Article 178 of the Constitution, which states that “two or more districts shall be free to cooperate in areas of culture and development.”

The Bill makes financial provisions for regional governments and for districts which do not form regional governments. It also provides for elections and for the take over of the administration of regional governments by the President in special circumstances and related matters.

Buganda’s attorney general Apollo Makubuya yesterday explained why Mengo is opposed to the Bill.

“Buganda’s concerns are based on the hierarchy and reporting structures of districts with and between the regional government and the Central Government; the provisions on the appointment of the Katikkiro; the management and control of land; the Presidents power to take over a regional government where there is a failure to recognise regional diversity; the demarcation of Mengo Municipality and Kampala without consultations, as well as the role of the regional governments over primary education and agriculture.”

The 38-page Bill states that two or more neighbouring districts may cooperate to form a regional government.

A district shall not be taken to have agreed to enter into a cooperation arrangement to form a regional government unless the proposal to join the regional government has been approved by two-thirds of members of the district council.

The decision of the district council has to be ratified by not less than two-thirds of the sub-county councils in the district.

“Subject to sub-section (1) and to the provisions of the Constitution, the districts of regions of Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Acholi, Lango, specified in the First Schedule to the Constitution, shall be deemed to have agreed to form regional governments.

The Bill proposes Mengo Municipality as the headquarters of a regional government deemed to have been established in Buganda, Jinja in Busoga, Gulu in Acholi and Lira Municipality in Lango.

The Bill states that a regional government shall be a body corporate with a common seal, with power to sue and be sued and to hold and dispose of land.

A regional government shall be led by a regional chairperson, who must be a citizen of Uganda by birth, qualified to be a Member of Parliament and must not be less than 35 years of age.

The Bill provides that a chairperson shall be directly elected by universal adult suffrage at an election conducted by the Electoral Commission.

The chairperson’s responsibilities include presiding over the cabinet of the regional government, monitoring the general administration and implementation of decisions, and coordinating and monitoring government functions between the region and central government.

Where a traditional or cultural leader exists in the region, that leader would be the titular head of the regional government and shall be the titular head of the regional assembly. The traditional leader shall enjoy the benefits and privileges and roles as provided for in Article 246 of the Constitution and by Parliament and the regional assembly.

Regional governments shall be responsible for secondary education and tertiary institutions except national universities, regional roads, regional referral hospitals, and coordination, monitoring and supervision of agriculture.

They will also be responsible for culture, cultural and traditional lands, promotion of languages, water and sanitation.

A regional government shall have regional ministers appointed by the regional chairperson, who shall not exceed five, two of whom shall be female.

The ministers would together with the regional chairperson, formulate and implement the policies of the regional government.

The Bill provides that a regional government shall cooperate with the ministries of the Central Government. But on policy matters, they shall liaise with the Office of the President.

“Each regional government must recognise and respect the different cultural values existing within the region.”

The Bill mandates districts forming the regional governments to form a regional assembly, which shall have power to legislate on matters within its jurisdiction.

“The power of the regional government to legislate shall be exercised by Bills passed by the regional assembly and assented to by the regional chairperson.”

“The laws made by the regional assembly shall be in conformity with the Constitution and national laws.”

A regional assembly shall have a speaker elected from among its members.

Each regional government is required to have a regional chief executive officer appointed by the Public Service Commission.

The executive officer shall be the head of the public service in the regional government and the head of the administration of the region in addition to being the accounting officer.

Where a regional government is established, the government shall work out a formula of grants to it.

The national Electoral Commission is mandated to organise, conduct and supervise elections of the regional chairperson and members of the regional assembly of a region.

Regional tier Bill released

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