‘If good people don’t go into politics, bad people will’; Implications on Uganda’s Parliament.

By Dr Sarah Khanakwa

Politics in Uganda like elsewhere in Africa and many developing countries is synonymous with wealth, whether acquired legally or otherwise. Hence, the scramble for political power at all levels in Uganda has become intense and on many occasions dangerous and tragic, with several reports of loss of lives. The expectation of quick riches increases competition for constituency candidature, which often requires deal-making and vote-buying.

This face of politics in Uganda has to a great extent prevented technical, experienced and capable citizens who are; not ready to “scramble” for power or let alone indulge in vote buying from going into political positions. However, globally – in both developing and developed economies, there is an increasing realization that parliaments have a significant role to play in development.

As Uganda plans to move to a new economic era of middle-income status, dialogue on well-informed, experienced and technical parliamentarians is critical and urgent! The Executive of the Ugandan Government has in the recent past moved to working more closely with parliamentarians in an effort to realize good governance at the center of its development journey.

Argument for a competent and skilled member of Parliament:

Principally, Parliamentarians are primarily tasked with formulating the laws of the land, which have direct implications on the country and the world. A member of parliament must thus be capable of comprehending, reviewing, analyzing, critiquing, sanctioning, endorsing, ratifying and passing a multitude of laws, policies and documents.

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Secondly, the increasingly complex and multifaceted globalized social, political and economic realities of the current century highlight the compelling need for competent and skilled legislators who can effectively navigate these realities.

For example, the ongoing complex economic discussions such as borrowing and debt relief, which will help enable vital and urgent investments in health, education, and social protection, require competent and skilled legislators.

With the aforementioned, it will require Ugandan people to make an effort to ensure that their parliamentarians are competent and skilled. It is a reality that even as there are already efforts to avail parliamentarians with access to experienced and robust legislative advisors, committees, staff and resources, their roles and responsibilities are not getting any easier.

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The writer is an aspiring candidate for Namisindwa District Woman MP seat

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