By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi
MASAKA. Whenever one talks about the doctrine of division of powers and checks and balances, what are mentioned are the legislature, executive and judiciary and also to an extent, the press.
However, all those bear temporal powers. There are also traditional/ cultural power and spiritual powers.
While the President and cabinet exercise executive power, Members of parliament exercise legislative power, and the justices, judges and magistrates exercise judicial power, and checks on the three, traditional/cultural clerics exercise spiritual power.
This was well illustrated by President Yoweri Museveni while presenting a paper in 1995 on separation of powers and checks and balances at Sheraton Kampala Hotel where his discussant was Prof. Mahmud Mamdhani, and the moderator the then Nyabushozi Member of Parliament Elly Karuhanga.
There is a reason why all those power centers were created in the 1995 constitution.
So, it is not justifiable for a disgruntled individual, either acting alone, or in association with others to resort to violence and bloodshed without exhausting those power centers.
Usually, any aggrieved person is entitled to petition the executive directly to the President or cabinet. Petitions can also reach the President through Resident District/City Commissioners and or their deputies who are Presidential and Central Government representatives in districts and cities, presidential advisors and assistants, or even responsible technocrats in government ministries, departments and agencies.
However, the wanainchi also petition through their members of parliament, the ruling party led by Leader of Government Business or the Opposition led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
The Opposition is also led by Nnyendo Mukungwe MP Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, with a shadow cabinet include Dr.Abed Bwanika (Kimaanya Kabonera), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala), to mention but a few. There are also chairpersons of Oversight Committees like Joel Sennyonyi (Nakawa West) who is chairperson of COSASE.
Petitions can also be done through local government leaders like Kampala Lord Mayor Al Haji Ssaalongo Erias Lukwago, Masaka City Mayor Florence Namayanja and other district chairpersons, municipal mayors, and councilors.
In the event petitioners are not helped they can take legal action, and many have been doing so. It is a sign of maturity of liberal democracy where any aggrieved party goes to courts of law other than applying a rule of the jungle.
They can also articulate their views and points in media as a free and independent media or through civil society to make noise at home and abroad. Recently the Attorney General Counsel Kiryowa Kiwanuka was in Geneva responding on queries of human rights.
However, in case all those avenues of temporal power fail, an aggrieved citizen of Uganda can petition through his/her traditional leader like Kabaka of Buganda, directly or through Bataka (clan leaders), bakungu (officials) like Katikkiro (Prime Minister), or chiefs.
In a liberal democracy like Uganda, a country where people’s sovereignty eroded in 1966 crisis was restored and guaranteed.
No wonder since, 1986, since the National Resistance movement/Army took power after a five-year people’s protracted war, all the rebel groups that mush roomed, none made an impact and those that did it for long like Lord’s Resistance Army under Joseph Kony and Allied Democratic Forces under Jamil Mukulu, are either languishing in Uganda or International Court of Justice’s prisons, or are fugitives in DR Congo and Central African Republic.
Ugandans have grown weary of war and want to utilize peace for expanding their household income and general development through poverty alleviation programs like Emyooga, Parish Development Model, Women Fund, Small and Medium Enterprises, and other government programs and services.
Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and Deputy Resident City Commissioner, Masaka City in charge of Kimaanya-Kabonera City Division.
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