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Thursday,October 01,2020 11:53 AM

Federation the answer for Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st January 2003 03:00 AM

ONE of the subjects hotly discussed in Uganda for the last several months has been Federal or to spoil the soup, Federo.

ONE of the subjects hotly discussed in Uganda for the last several months has been Federal or to spoil the soup, Federo.

With land about half of Buganda, South Tyrol produces 30% of apples produced in Italy

ONE of the subjects hotly discussed in Uganda for the last several months has been Federal or to spoil the soup, Federo.

When one critically assesses the arguments for a federal system, a great number of people merely yearn for a “degree of devolution for power” to relatively large areas (regions), big enough to manage their affairs including economic self-sustenance.

Not bad at all! During my nomadism on this great planet, I have observed near perfect federated states in big and small countries (USA, Germany, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and so on).

I understand that even Westminister has joined the movement by devolution of power to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and I hear East Anglia also wants it. These are all indicators that there might be something good in federal.

This week I was the guest of Dr Luis Dumwalder, the President of the autonomous province of South Tyrol or commonly referred to locally as “Sudtirol”. A magnificent province located in the valleys of the Alps with a small but well managed capital Bozen or Bolzano in Northern Italy.

The Tyrolese are highly motivated, hardworking, devoted Italians but also to their Tyrol. With a land mass about half of Buganda, they produce 30% of all apples produced in Italy and 10% of all apples eaten in the European Union.

“Economic viability!” In the devolution, the Central Government of Italy has retained the authority for Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Tax collection, partially Justice and Police. However, 90% of tax collected in South Tyrol is given back to the province of Tyrol which is responsible for Health, Education, Culture, Agriculture, Local road networks, local police and judiciary. But this must all be done within the limits of the Constitution of Italy.

This concept of devolution seen here in South Tyrol and elsewhere focuses on many issues but mostly the capacity for self-sustaining economy not merely fragmented units waiting for hand-cuts from the centre.

Everyday that passes since this subject became hotly discussed in Uganda, I get more and more inclined to believe that federation is the answer for Uganda.

Federation certainly reduces political pressure for competition to the narrow space in the national leadership and allows for internal economic competition between the federated units which in my view is healthy.

I see no danger if these units manage their social services, local road-networks, culture, agriculture, partial judiciary and police, with 70% of taxes collected within the unit being retained there for implementing of their responsibilities. Certainly my journey to South Tyrol was a good one because I was able to see the value of devolution. Can I say like Winston Churchill, “my journey was worth two years at University”.

And while I was away, my President hosted my Kabaka to a party at his Rwakitura home. This is part of cultural devolution! The next could be total devolution, who knows?

Prof Gilbert B. Bukenya Minister in charge of the Presidency

Federation the answer for Uganda

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