Published by Patra K on

Is political accountability being appreciated by Ugandan citizens?

Muhammad Nsereko, Kampala Central MP with a group of youth in Kampala during his consultative meeting on article 102(b). (Photo courtetsy of Abubaker)

Voters across the four regions of Uganda which include Central, Eastern, Western, and Northern decided to punish 175 parliamentarians by not voting them back into the 11th Parliament. These parliamentarians were part of the famous 317 members of the 10th Parliament that on 20th December 2017, passed into law the lifting of Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda – to remove the age limit (35 – 75) for presidential candidates. 

It must be recalled that before the lifting of the age limit, parliamentarians were facilitated by government to do consultation from their voters on the sticky issue. The position of most voters on ground was not to lift the age limit because the provision was looked at as the only remaining safety valve in the constitution to guarantee Uganda into a peaceful transfer of power. 

After consultations were conducted, several parliamentarians particularly those from the National Resistance Movement, were faced with a very difficult decision of either voting in favor of the voters’ wishes or abide by the National Resistance Movement party position of lifting the age limit. To the surprise of many voters, 317 parliamentarians decided to take a bold decision of voting in favor of lifting the age limit. This left citizens appalled and promised to pay back during election time.

Indeed, when the 2021 general elections were concluded, the voters who were awake to the fact that elected leaders are supposed to be rewarded for good choices and sanctioned for bad ones decided to sanction 175 parliamentarians for their actions of lifting the age limit as shown in the illustration below. 

Source: SecretsKnown analysis

Of the 175 parliamentarians sanctioned, 50 were from Central, 47 from Eastern, 44 from Western, and 34 Northern regions of Uganda. 

With other factors constant, the actions exhibited by voters during the 2021 election are an indicator that shows that political accountability is taking shape in Uganda’s elective politics. It’s imperative to note that Political accountability, in its wide sense, is concerned with the decisions and actions of all public officials, including not only politicians but also bureaucrats and civil servants, as well as the judiciary, police, and military.

SecretsKnown believes that if voters continue with the same spirit of applying the principle of carrot (reward) and stick (punish/sanction) on politicians then they would be contributing to the building of a well-functioning democratic system in Uganda through enforcing accountability on political leaders.

SecretsKnown makes a clarion call to all members of the 11th Parliament to desist from cheap politics of legislating on issues that are not serving the interests of their constituents and Uganda at large.

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