Municipal and Subcounty candidates might have to produce an O level academic qualification in coming elections if the new campaign by Members of parliament to improve Local government supervision succeeds.
Some MPs have expressed fear that government is continuing to lose a lot of money by allowing uneducated people to be at the helm of Subcounty and municipal leaderships levels in the country.
They argue that by virtue of their positons, laws and policies which are written in a language (English) they dont understand owing to their low level of educaiton.
One of the legislators leading in this crusade is MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda (Pictured).
Citing one Municipal Authority which he was not at liberty to name but which he said recently recieved over Ushs 25bn for development is being presided over by a mayor whom he lamented, cannot read and write.
” It is disastrous to have such funds in the hands of civil servants who very well know that the political heads or Municipalities or Subcounties who are supposed to supervise them are illiterate potato growers,” Ssemuju said.
He added that ” This is one way of informing them that they are free to to embezzle as much government funds as they possibly can ” . The debate about Councillor’s Education has recently taken center stage following the recent swearing in ceremonies where many councillors failled to read their swear -in scripts while others pleaded to swear-in in their local languages to their public embarassment.
Kikinkizi East MP and State Minister for Health Chris Baryomunsi agrees with Ssemuju over the matter.
” Now that many things have improved, for example the entrenchment of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) ,there is need to think of putting a minimum academic standard for L3 chair persons because we cant run away fron the fact that these positons come with responsibilities which makes it necessary for the candidates to acquire at least an O Level academic standard,” Baryomunsi said
Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu says: ” We cant have a situatuaiton where civil servants are educated while the politicians who assume a supervisory role over them are not. This is how some civil servants have become so rich because they always get a field day exploiting this unfortunate situation to their advantage.” Katuntu says .
But the NRM government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo says that the campaign is both unrealistic and un called for.
He fears that if given precedence, the call for a minimum academic qualification threatens to desenfranchise Ugandans by denying them the right to elect a leader of their choice ” simply because they cant speak English.”
Citing the same swear-in ceremonies during which English gave many MPs a headache, Opondo contends that a mere presenting of academic papers is no proof for academic competence when political candidates later take up office .