POLITICS NO LONGER A SERVICE BUT EMPLOYMENT
Politics No Longer a Service but Employment
What is the most lucrative source of employment in Uganda today? The simple answer is politics. The 2020 nominations for political candidates saw an unprecedented increase and rush to join elective politics, largely because politics is perceived to bring comparatively better return on investment.
Uganda has over 1,500,000 elective positions at presidential, parliamentary and local government levels with each of them attracting at least four candidates. This also includes positions for special interest groups. This is higher compared to 2015/16 general elections that had 1,299,348 elective positions. This implies positions increased in 2021 by about 201,000 translating into an upward shift of 13.4%.
Whereas the proliferation of electoral constituencies is attributed in part to gerrymandering, the rate at which potential aspirants are picking interest in politics is also high. The secret known is that most candidates are driven by the desire to get into politics to “EAT” or put differently, “WASH OFF DUST”.
And a sizeable chunk of candidates are former civil servants, yet the volumes of money they spend on campaigns begs many questions. ACFIM studies indicate that a head of 2021, 71.1% of 939 candidates were from civil service and private sector.
Politics is regarded as a safe haven for employment and those who are elected are often the envy of many because they are seen to swim in a sea of wealth and happiness. A typical Uganda politician gets in addition to a salary, an off-road SUV, housing allowance, medical insurance, data bundles, airtime and a string of allowances for inland or outside travel.
Members of Parliament and districts councilor are perceived as “groups of people pursuing personal and self-interests”. This is mainly because the discussions on the floors of these assemblies hardly resonate with the aims and aspirations of voters.
When there is a matter of economic gain, the entire Parliament gets to agree, there are always no bi-partisan positions on issues like increasing the emoluments of a Member of Parliament, for example.