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Refereed articles

Chewing more than one can swallow: the creation of new districts in Uganda - p 19

As is the case in many other developing countries, Uganda’s decentralisation programme is designed to promote grassroots democracy and participatory development. However, it is argued in this paper that it is also meant to accommodate Uganda’s diverse identities and culture.

Uganda has undergone a process of decentralisation in which the district was chosen as the basic unit of local government to which powers and functions are devolved. Since the commencement of the decentralisation programme numerous new districts have been created.

After laying the ground for the constitutional articulation of districts as the main pillars of local governance, the article questions the practice of creating units of lower government that may not be economically sustainable. The article assesses what resources will be at the disposal of the districts and concludes that creating too many districts may disrupt the realisation of socio-economic rights. The process of creating new districts is not only open to manipulation, but also runs counter to the intended objectives of the decentralisation programme. The article makes a proposal for the establishment of an independent boundary demarcation body that should be responsible for changing district boundaries.

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