The only battle worth fighting in the proposed Kampala takeover is the democratic right of Kampalans

Ugandans At Heart,

While we await the official position of the FDC party on the Kampala Bill and the taking over Kampala by the central administration, let me volunteer the following personal perception:
1. FDC is unlikely to support the dilution of democracy as is proposed in this new Kampala bill. The people of Kampala deserve the right to be governed by their popular will just as other Ugandans in any other district. If other Districts are going to continue electing the LC5 chair persons by adult suffrage, why should city dwellers be denied this right
2.The question of territory is also not very clear, the expansion of the commercial attributes of Kampala into the areas surrounding it is inevitable. Urbanisation is on the up trend and that is good for our future, we can let the city expand into the neighboring Districts without first annexing them into Kampala. We could instead put in place the planning regulations in those areas that envisage such an eventuality.
 3.These Districts should be prepared to host the growth of the city into their territory, it will be good for their revenues and I don’t see how it harms anybody least of all central GVT
4.Let Mukono, Entebbe Wakiso and Mpigi, be part of the same planning framework that envisages the commercial territory of Kampala growing into them but let them maintain their administrative identity. We can have a modern well governed metropolis that sits across several districts. It should not be impossible.

Having noted the above, it is also important that we remind ourselves that the district boundaries are not unchangeable. Article 179 (a&b) of the constitution empowers parliament by simple majority to alter boundaries of districts and to create new ones

Parliament has been creating new districts by splitting existing ones and what is proposed in this new bill is not new, only that in this case, chunks of existing Districts are being added to another existing District. There is nothing illegal in it

What is contentious is that the Districts losing territory are all deemed to belong to Buganda but Kampala which is to gain the territory does not.

Ugandans need to remember, that the only territory that the constitution considers immutable is the territory of Uganda as defined in the second schedule. Everything else within the territory of Uganda can be adjusted for administrative, cultural and political convenience as long as it is done in accordance with   the constitution.

The regions, ie Acholi, Ankole, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda and Toro are not fixed territorial entities, they are instead groups of districts that consent or were deemed to have consented to co operate on cultural matters by article 178.  This co operation is not irreversible. A District can democratically opt in or out acording 178(4).

The facts as per our constitution are as below:-
1.Districts can be created and adjusted by power of parliament. Their boundaries are determined by parliament
2.Regional groups (including Buganda) can be created and adjusted by the democratic consent of the districts involved. Their boundaries are determined by the vote of the district councils.
3.Theoretically Mbarara can vote itself out of Ankole to Buganda or choose to remain an attached like Kabale, Masindi could decide by vote to join the Acholi group. It may be difficult to imagine but it would all be legal and constitutional. Regional groupings by their constitutional status are more cultural than geographical.
4.If any Ugandans or Baganda for that mater are unhappy with the above constitutional disposition then the focus should be on constitutional reform, not political pressure when the other side is on solid legal ground. Eventually this matter may need a national referendum

The only battle worth fighting in the proposed Kampala takeover is the democratic right of Kampalans, and the maintenance of the entire council under universal Adult suffrage.

The issue of territory to me is secondary, because like I have elaborated above, within Uganda, there are no other unchangeable territories, no permanently fixed boundaries. Government can legally adjust district boundaries even if that may affect Buganda’s current deemed geography. But what is legally tenable may not necessarily be morally right or politically tenable.

Let me again reiterate that these are my personal views.

Desmond Nzana

 FDC Activist and UAH forumist

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