Last year, the Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi issued a circular to all district chairpersons and Mayors informing them of a suspension on the creation of new administrative units in villages, parishes, sub-counties, divisions, municipalities, and districts.
According to the circular, the suspension was derived from cabinet deliberations on how government can reduce public expenditures and instead use the resources committed to other productive sectors.
Despite the guidance, the sub-county councils have gone ahead to create new administrative units, after they approved the splitting of the existing sub-counties and parishes.
The councils have considered motions to create two new sub-counties namely; Kasambya and Nankondo, three parishes of Nabiseke, Kakiika, and Buddebutakya, and 15 villages that were curved out of the existing lower local government units in the area.
Stephen Akabwayi, the Chairperson for Lwebitakuli sub county which was split to create Nankondo sub county, says their decision was based on the demands of the local communities that wanted the areas to be split.
He says that apparently, some of the villages in the sub-county are not fully covered in terms of service delivery due to the very huge land area, hence the need to split it and create new units to further decentralize service delivery.
“We realized that we were among the sub-counties that were going to receive the least budgetary allocation under the Parish Development Model-PDM scheme, yet we have a population of over 25,000 people. To increase our bargaining powers, we had to move and create new units,” he indicated.
Akabwayi argues that suspension for the creation of new units contradicts those principles of democracy that respect the views of the majority. “We have with us petitions from the different groups of people asking to consider their demands in our council session, and at some point they people could attend the councils to ensure that the matters are considered,” he adds.
Elias Kasozi, the Sembabule District Council Speaker says that his office has already received minutes of councils of lower sub-counties where the new units have been created. According to him, the matter has been referred to the social services committee before it is eventually considered by the entire district council.
Kasozi observes that the electorates through the representatives or groups have the right to demand the creation of new units if they perceive them as the solution to underlying inadequacies in the social service delivery in their areas.
But Raphael Magyezi, the Minister of Local Government insists that the guidance of his circular still stands.
At the moment, Sembabule district is comprised of 18 sub-counties, of which seven were created in 2018. However, some of the newly created sub-counties are still operating without substantive offices and operations budgets.