Parliament Receives Petitions on New Districts

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In short
Parliament has received petitions from groups opposed to the creation of new districts, just weeks after government tabled a proposal in the House for 23 new districts to be created. The committee on Public Service and Local Government has, however, also received petitions from those who say the process of creating new districts has delayed.

Parliament has received petitions from groups opposed to the creation of new districts, just weeks after government tabled a proposal in the House for 23 new districts to be created.

The committee on Public Service and Local Government has, however, also received petitions from those who say the process of creating new districts has delayed.

Raphael Magyezi, the Vice Chairperson of the Public Services and Local Government, says that the committee has received petitions from some sub-counties that were not consulted before the creation of the new districts, those complaining of the delay to create districts and those complaining of the cost of administration.

He says that some LC5 councilors did not consult the lower local councils meaning that the proposal to create districts was not representative enough of the population as required by the constitution. Magyezi notes that the committee will have to go down to the districts to establish the origin of such resolutions.

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Magyezi declined to reveal the districts under contention for fear of jeopardizing the committee report. Sources within the committee, however, told URN that the proposed Butebo district to be curved from Pallisa, has elicited some opposition with some people opposing the move on grounds that the sub-counties were not consulted. The government had proposed that the district headquarters be at Butebo trading centre and that the district would be operationalized in 2013.

Another petition came from the residents of the proposed Rubanda District to be curved out of Kabale with its headquarters in Rubanda County. The residents are complaining that the distance from the current headquarters is nearer than the one of the proposed district.

Other proposed areas like Bughendera County in Bundibugyo District have been seeking for new districts yet they did not not feature on the government list. Joseph Matte, Bughendera County MP, during the committee hearing sought for answers as to why the district is not on the list having advocated for it for many years.

Magyezi says the committee will seek for answers as to the criteria of listing Districts to be created.

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The financial implications of the new districts to be created is yet another factor of consideration according to Magyezi. The Ministry of Local Government will require 26.8 billion shillings for the administrative set up of the new districts by 2016. The Electoral Commission on the other hand will require 15.2 billion shillings to set up offices in all the new districts.

Article 179 of the constitution empowers parliament to alter boundaries of districts and create new ones. The article stipulates that any measure for the alteration of or the creation of districts or administrative units shall be based on the necessity for the effective administration and need to bring services closer to the people. The changes may take into account the means of communication, geographical features, the population density in the district, economic viability of the proposed district and the wish of the people concerned.

The committee, whose time has been extended from one week to one month, will be visiting the areas of the proposed districts to assess the capability to sustain themselves.