Five presidential candidates have promised to reduce
the size of public administration in a bid to cut down government expenditure
if they are elected into the country’s number one office in next year’s
Ugandans will go to the polls on 14th January 2020
and choose the next president from the eleven candidates nominated by the
Electoral Commission (EC).
However, the country public administration
expenditure is alarming with an ever increasing number of administrative units
which all come with a huge budget. Parliament is another area to look at.
Currently it has 457 members including 12 ex-officials and the coming Eleventh
Parliament is expected to have a total of 528 members. Each MP gets a personal gross of at least Two Billion Shillings over their five year term. This does not even include other "facilitation" sh2m per day spent on travel outside or an inflation "compensation" at the end of the five years that last time (2016) amounted to over sh100 million per MP.
On the other hand, the current Cabinet has 32 cabinet
Ministers and 48 Ministers of State not mentioning the several departments and
Uganda Radio Network- URN has reviewed the available
manifestos of different presidential candidates in regard to their Governance
and Public Administration aspirations aspirations and four of them pledge to
have in place a lean government with minimal expenditure.
The manifestos reviewed include that of the National
Unity Platform (NUP) presidential flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi
Wine, Independent presidential candidates Nancy Linda kalembe, Fred Mwesigye
and Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde Kakurugu. Also reviewed, is the manifesto of the
incumbent President Yoweri Museveni who is seeking a sixth elected term in office.
In his manifesto, Independent Candidate Fred
Mwesigye dedicates his first chapter to reduction of public administrative
expenditure and unreasonable financial loss.
“In order to reduce government expenditure, the
reckless loss of public funds, and to have sufficient funds allocated to the
implementation of policies that will spur socio-economic transformation, I
intend to eliminate presidential advisors and rely on ministry or departmental
technical personnel. When deemed necessary, I shall engage a third party for an
opinion on a relevant or particular issue to promote citizen participation in
governance,” reads part of the manifesto.
He further pledges to establish an efficient and
effective cabinet of only 21 ministers and 7 ministers of state, introduce
reforms that will reduce districts and constituencies to 62, prohibit
non-essential travel for public servants and emphasize value for money in
Mwesigye also seeks to eliminate institutional
mandate overlap by eliminating the undertaking of similar or complimentary
services by government institutions.
Mwesigye’s intentions are not far different from
those of NUP’s presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. He says that
his party’s primary goal is to establish people-centered governance since
progress and different projects in the country have been undermined by poor
governance where corruption and incompetence are persistent.
Kyagulanyi critiques that after 35 years of
President Museveni’s leadership, Uganda still struggles to provide basic
capabilities like access to primary education and health while enhanced
capabilities like specialized medical treatment, secondary and tertiary
education are beyond the reach of the majority.
“We plan to eliminate the nepotism, patronage and
cronyism that are characteristic of public administration in Uganda and are the
causes of poor service delivery and limited human development. To restore trust
and confidence in our economy, we shall stabilize our business environment and
render it more predictable by good governance that empowers the private sector
to create jobs and stimulate growth,” reads part of the NUP manifesto.
Kyagulanyi now pledges an affordable, small and
effective government by merging Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),
reduce the size of cabinet which will be determined by a ministerial review,
reduce the size of parliament to a maximum agreed upon after a national
dialogue, eliminate wasteful political appointments and enforce performance
contracts between senior officials and the government. Currently, Uganda has 100 ministries and autonomous
He also promises to restore Presidential term limits
which were scrapped by Parliament in 2005 saying that once reinstated, removing
the same shall be treasonable. He also pledges to increase the proportion of
women in political leadership at all levels to at least 50 percent in line with
the Africa Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and Affordable
//Cue in: “a vote for…
Cue out:…yet effective administration.”//
Independent Candidate Nancy Kalembe very critical of personalisation of government, saying that her
overall vision in leadership is to create systems that will run independent of
“Systems that all Ugandans can trust and respect,
systems that will show Ugandans that each one of them matters,” she says.
Kalembe emphasizes that leadership positions in her
government will be based on merit.
//Cue in: “everything…
Cue out:…and foremost.”//
Gen. Henry Tumukunde
For Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde, it is the
establishment of a modern, lean and effective government structure,
substituting waste and unnecessary bureaucracy.
Under his ‘Renewed Uganda’ slogan, the independent
presidential candidate says that once elected, his government will also focus
on providing decent wages, appropriate living and working conditions,
reasonable gratuity, and access to growth opportunities to foster a motivated
incorruptible civil service.
According to Tumukunde, this will be achieved by
rationalizing and logically reorganizing Ministries, Departments and Agencies
(MDAs) to unlock budget savings, increase efficiency, reduce regulatory burden
and ease coordination to achieve better service delivery and value for money.
He also highlights the development of a digital
Government Asset Register, supported by regular audits to identify, value and
assess the working condition of Government assets with a view to eliminate
fraud, wastage and to increase efficiency in planning.
Museveni Tibuhaburwa Kaguta
Meanwhile, the incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni under
the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party manifesto acknowledges the
role of the state in guiding and facilitating development through increasing the
effectiveness and efficiency of the public sector in addressing the needs of
the citizens and the private sector.
He says that there has been progress in this area
noting that a key milestone in addressing government’s inefficiency, the NRM
government introduced the Public Finance and Management Act (PFMA) 2015 that
has resulted into significant improvement with the introduction of Performance
Based Budgeting and that more stringent expenditure has been realized in many
local governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
But Museveni pledges that once re-elected, the NRM
is going to restructure and strengthen the Government’s systems to synergize
efforts, remove duplications and align under a programme-based approach.
He also promises to improve monitoring and
evaluation of Government performance through standard and auxiliary units such
as Office of the Prime Minister, Auditor General and others, strengthen
national statistical system that reaches for accurate and informative data
presentation to aid planning and inform results, undertake real-time monitoring
of project and budget spending across and upgrade public sector training to
improve relevance and impact.
Two years ago, government announced plans to merge
or return departments and agencies to their parent ministries. The plan,
approved in September 2018 during a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Yoweri
Museveni was part of a reorganization aimed at realigning functions of agencies
and preventing duplication of roles and waste of public funds.
This merger was envisaged to save about 1 trillion
Shillings in salary and wages, a move that was welcomed by the public as a way
of avoiding duplication and cutting down on waste.
However in October 2019, First Deputy Prime
Minister, Moses Ali told parliament that although Government had committed to
carry out the mergers, there were complications detected along the way which
saw the Executive seek the advice of the Attorney General on the matter.
Relatedly under his Constitutional Amendment Bill
that is yet to be finalized by Parliament, Wilfred Niwagaba the shadow Attorney
General, sought to amend several clauses of the Constitution in a way that
would shake up the current state structure.
He, for instance, wants the size of cabinet reduced
to 21 Ministers and 21 State ministers, who, however, should not be chosen from
among elected Members of Parliament.