By Paul Edotu
(The author is practicing public administrator, Paralegal and cadre
The Hon. Prime Minister, Nabanjja, and Hon. Hillary Onek, disagreement is beyond personal difference but a public sector structural problem which necessitates Constitutional Amendment and enactment of other enabling legislation.
All congratulations go to the Vice President of Uganda, Her Excellency Jessica Alupo for reconciling the Hon. Prime Minister Hon. Nabbanjja and the Hon. Minister of Disaster Hon. Hilliary Onek. This intervention was not only timely but has elevated the VP as a distinguished conflict resolution personality at the echelon of Government. In case you missed your news recently, the Vice President also successfully ironed out another work related conflict between, the Minister of state for Sports Hon. Hamson Obua and the Minister of Finance, Hon. Kassaijja. These are commendable efforts Madam Vice President.
Now as a student and practitioner of public administration, I would like to remind us that the public administration Uganda is practicing was handed down to us by the British colonial masters whereby, in Britain, the Prime Minister wields Executive Power. In 1962 when Uganda received its independence, the1962 Constitution entrenched the British template of administration in Uganda. The Prime Minister was a very powerful individual with power to initiate through a motion the removal of the President (Article 36 of the 1962 Constitution).
The 1962 Constitution also empowered the Prime Minister to recommend persons to be appointed Ministers. This meant that the Ministers were under the supervision of the prime Minister.
I was very curious to cross check what the 1995 Constitution provides in relation to appointment, powers and functions of the Prime minister and sadly, there is no Provision in the 1995 Constitution regarding appointment, powers and functions of such an important office in the land. Article 111 Provides that the President shall appoint such number of Ministers not more than 20 and Assistant Ministers.
Comparing the 1962 and 1995 Constitution, the former had elevated the Prime Minister to be Administer above Ministers (Prime Minister).
From the aforegoing, I want to invite the concerned to rectify this anomaly because it raises a serious governance Question, in as far as you have a structure whose function and power is not legally provided for.
According to the 1962 Constitution, the prime Minister was appointed from a party with majority members, so to speak the prime minister would be viewed as chief government whip. This therefore means that under the current arrangement in Uganda you will also soon or later experience another clash of roles between, the Chief Whip and the Prime Minister because this is an intertwined role of the Prime Minister that’s whipping Ministers into action.
It’s against that background that I rise to recommend, a constitutional amendment, specifically providing for the office of the Prime Minister, appointment, functions and powers. The Constitution should also specifically provide for offices of Ministers, powers and functions.
Thirdly the Constitution should also provide for the ceremonial office of the First Lady as second Most important personality in the land just as it’s with the queen of Britain, our colonial Master. The functions of the First Lady would cross cut all welfare issues of the nation but not limited to education, health, culture, among others.
In conclusion, the above amendment would go a long way in propelling the development of the country, in as far as it would streamline performance and supervision of Ministries. It would also align the national protocol which currently omits very important individuals in the land i.e the Prime Minister and the first Lady. Finally and most importantly, the Amendment would prevent potential role conflict between the Prime Minister and among ministers themselves.
The author is practicing public administrator, Paralegal and cadre