President Museveni’s New Year Address Sparks Debate on Political Economy

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President Museveni’s 2024 New Year address has ignited a debate on the perceived role of the president in fueling the commercialization of politics in Uganda. Political players are pointing fingers at the president, alleging that his creation of numerous political units is seen as a reward system for areas he visits, contributing to the perception that politics is a lucrative source of income.

The president, in his address, expressed concern over the trend where many individuals are turning to politics as a means of earning a living. While the concern raised by the president is acknowledged, critics argue that the executive, under his leadership, has been actively involved in motions to create new constituencies, districts, and administrative units. This, they claim, has led to the bloating of the administration and increased financial strain on national resources.

Legislators, in response, blame the president for using the creation of administrative units as a form of reward and patronage, contributing to the monetization of politics. Some lawmakers suggest that the president’s concern about the commercialization of politics would be better addressed by refraining from the creation of more political units.

Political researcher Dr. Patrick Wakida questions the legitimacy of the president’s concern, highlighting the contradiction between the expressed worry and the continued creation of political units. The debate intensifies as the government plans to create more administrative units in the upcoming financial year, further influencing the political landscape and raising questions about its impact on service delivery.