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Is State-of-the-Nation Address a useless tradition?


Is State-of-the-Nation Address a useless tradition?

Bugwere County MP Abdu Katuntu

Bugwere County MP Abdu Katuntu

Opposition politicians and other notable political analysts have consistently expressed dissatisfaction about President Museveni’s delivery of the State of the Nation Address.

They complain the President has over the years been falling short of expectations from Ugandans while others have always dismissed it as a sheer regurgitation of similar content over many years.

But some MPs this week took the issue to another level when they called for an amendment of the law that entrenched the practice as one of the President’s annual obligations performed two days to the delivery of the budget speech and to mark the begging of the new session of Parliament .

Bugwere County MP Abdu Katuntu (pictured), is one of the adherents of that view.

He explains that the spirit of the framers of the Constitution was to create a platform for the sitting president to give accountability to parliament and the nation at large regarding the funds that would have been spent by the various ministries.

“We are the ones (referring to members of the Constituent Assembly) who created that obligation but we made an error in the fact that we did not specify what would be contained in that document and by so doing, we gave the president a leeway to show up and air out whatever he wants,” Katuntu says.

“We needed to guide him on what should be contained in the State of the Nations Address. He needs to go sector by sector telling Ugandans stating their performance and giving standing challenges and how he expects to go round them in the subsequent financial years,” he adds.

Makerere University Business School (MUBS) economics lecturer Ramathan Ggoobi agrees with Katuntu.

He argues that contrary to the fact that the president is “the Chief executive Officer of Uganda (CEO), Ugandans expect him to explain the performance of his government, giving solutions to existing challenges.

But in many previous occasions in the president has sounded very normative,” adds Ggoobi

“We don’t expect the president to sound like an adviser of his own government on what should be done but we expect him to identify problems and produce solutions as the Chief Executive of Uganda” Ggoobi said.

Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa also thinks that (constitutional) guidance would cure the president of “recycling the speech over time.” .

” I don’t need to attend President Museveni’s state of the nation’s address for as long as I listened to him deliver the same last year. Because I have now been convinced that he is going to say the same things he has been saying for many years, ” Munyagwa adds

But the government’s Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told The Sunrise that Opposition Politicians are only politicking by critizing the president on anything whether good or bad .

“I can’t waste time arguing with members of opposition over this even when I am convinced that the president did account to Ugandans on the performance of various sectors of the economy,” Ofwono Opondo said adding that the president does not need guidance from MPs to address the nation.

But Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda Disagrees with Katuntu.

He argued that: “The framers of the Ugandan constitution were of the view that Uganda will be led by a leader who would not require guidance on a matter as small as writing the state of the Nation address”.




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