CHAPTER 11. LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Principles and Structures of Local Government
176. Local government system
- Subject to article 178, the system of local government in Uganda shall be based on the district as a unit under which there shall be such local governments and administrative units as Parliament may, by law, provide.
- The following principles shall apply to the local government system-
- the system shall be such as to ensure that functions, powers and responsibilities are devolved and transferred from the Government to local government units in a co-ordinated manner;
- decentralisation shall be a principle applying to all levels of local government and in particular, from higher to lower local government units to ensure peoples’ participation and democratic control in decision making;
- the system shall be such as to ensure the full realisation of democratic governance at all local government levels;
- there shall be established for each local government unit a sound financial base with reliable sources of revenue;
- appropriate measures shall be taken to enable local government units to plan, initiate and execute policies in respect of all matters affecting the people within their jurisdiction;
- persons in the service of local government shall be employed by the local governments; and
- the local governments shall oversee the performance of persons employed by the Government to provide services in their areas and to monitor the provision of Government services or the implementation of projects in their areas.
- The system of local government shall be based on democratically elected councils on the basis of universal adult suffrage in accordance with clause (4) of article 181 of this Constitution.
177. Districts of Uganda
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, for the purposes of local government, Uganda shall be divided into the districts referred to in clause (2) of article 5 of this Constitution.
- The districts referred to in clause (1) of this article shall be taken to have been divided into the lower local government units which existed immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution.
178. Regional governments
- Two or more districts may cooperate to form a regional government to perform the functions and services specified in the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution.
- A district shall not be taken to have agreed to enter into a cooperation arrangement to form a regional government unless-
- the proposal to join the regional government has been approved by resolution of the district council by a majority of two thirds of the members of the district council; and
- the decision of the district council has been ratified by not less than two-thirds of the sub county councils in the district.
- Subject to clause (1) and to the provisions of this Constitution, the districts of the regions of Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Acholi and Lango, specified in the First Schedule to this Constitution, shall be deemed to have agreed to form regional governments for the purposes of this article.
- The headquarters of the regional governments deemed to have been established in clause (3) of this article shall be as follows-
- in Buganda, Mengo Municipality which shall be created by Parliament;
- in Bunyoro, Hoima Municipality which shall be created by Parliament;
- in Busoga, Jinja Municipality;
- in Acholi, Gulu Municipality; and
- in Lango, Lira Municipality.
- The districts forming the regional government shall form a regional assembly.
- A regional government shall be a body corporate with power to sue and be sued and shall have power to do all things that may be done by a body corporate and shall be subject to all obligations to which a body corporate is subject.
- Notwithstanding article 180, a regional government formed under this article shall be the highest political authority within its region and shall have political, legislative, executive, administrative and cultural functions in the region.
- A regional government shall in particular have in relation to the region, the functions and services conferred upon a regional government in the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution and may make laws which shall have the force of law in the region.
- A regional assembly shall have power to legislate on matters within its jurisdiction.
- Subject to this article and to the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution, the executive and administrative powers of a regional government shall extend to the execution and implementation of the laws enacted by the regional assembly and other laws operating in the region and the management of the affairs of the regional government.
- The laws made by the regional assembly shall be in conformity with the Constitution and the national laws and shall be consistent with national policies.
- The provisions of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution shall have effect in respect of the matters specified in it in relation to regional governments.
- Regional governments shall commence on 1st July, 2006.
178A. Grants for districts not forming regional governments
- A district which does not wish or is not able to enter into a cooperation arrangement to form a regional government shall be paid an equalization grant.
- The equalization grant payable under clause (1) shall be based on the incremental costs met by the Central Government in managing the regional government.
- The President shall cause to be presented to Parliament, proposals for the money to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund as equalization grant under clause (1).
- The proposals made under clause (3) shall be made at the same time as the estimates of revenue and expenditure under article 155 of this Constitution and shall state the sums of money that are to be paid to each district.
179. Boundaries of local government units
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may-
- alter the boundaries of districts; and
- create new districts.
- Any measure to alter the boundary of a district or to create a new district shall be supported by a majority of all the members of Parliament.
- Parliament shall by law empower district councils to alter the boundaries of lower local government units and to create new local government units within their districts.
- Any measure for the alteration of the boundaries of or the creation of districts or administrative units shall be based on the necessity for effective administration and the need to bring services closer to the people and it may take into account the means of communication, geographical features, density of population, economic viability and the wishes of the people concerned.
180. Local government councils
- A local government shall be based on a council which shall be the highest political authority within its area of jurisdiction and which shall have legislative and executive powers to be exercised in accordance with this Constitution.
- Parliament shall by law prescribe the composition, qualifications, functions and electoral procedures in respect of local government councils, except that-
- the person elected as District Chairperson of a local government shall be a member of the council;
- one third of the membership of each local government council shall be reserved for women; and
- any law enacted by virtue of this article shall provide for affirmative action for all marginalised groups referred to in article 32 of this Constitution;
- Parliament shall exercise similar powers of review as stipulated in clause (2) of article 78 of this Constitution, in relation to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this clause.
- A person shall not be a member of a local government council unless that person is a citizen of Uganda.
181. Elections of local government councils
- A district shall be divided by the Electoral Commission into electoral areas which shall be demarcated in such a way that the number of inhabitants in the electoral areas are as nearly as possible equal.
- The number of inhabitants in an electoral area may be greater or less than other electoral areas in order to take account of means of communication, geographical features and density of population.
- The demarcation of electoral areas shall ensure that a sub-county, a town council or an equivalent part of a municipality is represented at the district council by at least one person.
- All local government councils shall be elected every seven years.
- Subject to article 61 of this Constitution, elections of all local government councils shall take place on such date as the Electoral Commission shall determine in accordance with the law.
182. Revocation of mandate
- Subject to clause (2) of this article, the mandate of an elected member of a local government council may be revoked by the electorate.
- Parliament shall by law prescribe the grounds on which and the manner in which the electorate may revoke the mandate of an elected member of a local government council.
183. District Chairperson
- There shall be a District Chairperson who shall-
- be the political head of the district; and
- be elected by universal adult suffrage through a secret ballot.
- A person is not qualified to be elected District Chairperson unless he or she is-
- qualified to be elected a member of Parliament;
- a person ordinarily resident in the district.
- The District Chairperson shall-
- preside at meetings of the executive committee of the district;
- monitor the general administration of the district;
- co-ordinate the activities of urban councils and councils of the lower local administrative units in the district;
- co-ordinate and monitor Government functions as between the district and the Government; and
- perform such other functions as Parliament may prescribe.
- In the performance of the functions under clause (3) of this article, the Chairperson shall be subject to the rules, decisions and recommendations of the district council and be answerable to the council.
184. Speaker of district council
- Each district council shall have a Speaker elected by the district council from among its members; but a person shall only be taken to have been elected if the votes cast in his or her favour are more than fifty per cent of all the members of the council.
- The Speaker of the council shall, in relation to the council, perform similar functions to those of the Speaker of Parliament.
185. Removal of District Chairperson and Speaker
- The District Chairperson or the Speaker of a district council may be removed from office by the council by resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all members of the council on any of the following grounds-
- abuse of office;
- misconduct or misbehaviour; or
- such physical or mental incapacity as would render him or her incapable of performing the duties of his or her office.
- Parliament shall prescribe any other grounds and the procedure for the removal of a District Chairperson or the Speaker of a council under this article.
186. District executive committee
- There shall be an executive committee for each district council which shall perform the executive functions of the council.
- An executive committee shall consist of-
- the District Chairperson;
- the Vice-Chairperson; and
- such number of Secretaries as the council may decide.
- The Vice-Chairperson shall be a person nominated by the District Chairperson from among members of the council and approved by two-thirds of all members of the council.
- The Secretaries shall be nominated by the Chairperson from among members of the council and approved by a majority of all members of the Council.
- The Vice-Chairperson shall deputise for the Chairperson and shall perform such other functions as may be assigned to him or her by the Chairperson.
- If the District Chairperson dies, resigns or is removed from office, the Vice-Chairperson shall assume the office of Chairperson until the election of a new District Chairperson, but the election shall be held within six months after the occurrence of the event.
- A Secretary shall have responsibility for such functions of the district council as the District Chairperson may, from time to time assign to him or her.
- A district council shall appoint standing and other committees necessary for the efficient performance of its functions.
- The following shall apply with respect to the composition of the committees of a district council-
- the chairpersons and members of the committees shall be elected from among the members of the council;
- the District Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and a Secretary, shall not be members of a committee of the council but may take part in its proceedings without voting.
187. Vacation of office of member of district executive committee
- The office of a member of a district executive committee shall become vacant if-
- the appointment of that member is revoked by the District Chairperson; or
- that member-
- is elected as Speaker of the district council;
- resigns from office;
- becomes disqualified to be a member of the district council;
- is unable to perform his or her functions due to mental or physical incapacity or dies;
- is censured by the council; or
- a new Chairperson assumes office.
- A district council may, by resolution supported by not less than half of all members of the council, pass a vote of censure against a member of the executive committee.
- Proceedings for censure shall be initiated by a petition to the Chairperson through the Speaker signed by not less than one-third of all the members of the district council to the effect that they are dissatisfied with the conduct or performance of the member of the executive committee.
- The Chairperson shall, upon receipt of the petition, cause a copy of it to be given to the member of the executive committee in question.
- The motion for the resolution of censure shall not be debated until the expiry of fourteen days after the petition was sent to the Chairperson.
- A member of the executive committee in respect of whom a vote of censure is debated under clause (5) of this article is entitled during the debate to be heard in his or her defence.
- Nothing in this article shall prevent a person from being re-appointed to the executive committee of a district council.
188. Chief and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
- There shall be a Chief Administrative Officer and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for every district.
- Notwithstanding articles 176(2) and (3) and 200 of this Constitution, the Public Service Commission shall appoint persons to hold or act in the office of Chief Administrative Officer and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, including the confirmation of their appointments and the exercise of disciplinary control over such persons and their removal from office.
- Parliament shall by law establish the qualifications and functions of a Chief Administrative Officer and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.
189. Functions of Government and district councils
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the functions and services specified in the Sixth Schedule to this Constitution shall be the responsibility of the Government.
- District councils and the councils of lower local government units may, on request by them, be allowed to exercise the functions and services specified in the Sixth Schedule to this Constitution or if delegated to them by the Government or by Parliament by law.
- District councils shall have responsibility for any functions and services not specified in the Sixth Schedule to this Constitution.
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Government may, on request by a district council, assume responsibility for functions and services assigned to the district council.
- This article shall have effect without prejudice to the functions and services authorised or required to be performed by a regional government under this Constitution.
Finances of Local Governments
District councils shall prepare comprehensive and integrated development plans incorporating the plans of lower level local governments for submission to the National Planning Authority.
191. Power to levy and appropriate taxes
- Local governments shall have power to levy, charge, collect and appropriate fees and taxes in accordance with any law enacted by Parliament by virtue of article 152 of this Constitution.
- The fees and taxes to be levied, charged, collected and appropriated under clause (1) of this article shall consist of rents, rates, royalties, stamp duties, cess, fees on registration and licensing and any other fees and taxes that Parliament may prescribe.
- No appropriation of funds by a local government shall be made unless approved in a budget by its council.
- Parliament shall by law make provision for tax appeals in relation to taxes to which this article applies.
192. Collection of taxes by local governments
Parliament shall by law provide-
- for the taxes that may be collected by a local government for or on behalf of the Government for payment into the Consolidated Fund;
- for a local government to retain for the purposes of its functions and services, a specified proportion of the revenues collected for or on behalf of the Government from the district.
193. Grants to local governments
- The President shall for each financial year, in accordance with this Constitution, cause to be presented to Parliament proposals as to the moneys to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund as-
- unconditional grant in accordance with clause (2) of this article;
- conditional grant in accordance with clause (3) of this article;
- equalisation grant in accordance with clause (4) of this article.
- Unconditional grant is the minimum grant that shall be paid to local governments to run decentralised services and shall be calculated in the manner specified in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.
- Conditional grant shall consist of moneys given to local governments to finance programmes agreed upon between the Government and the local governments; and shall be expended only for the purposes for which it was made and in accordance with the conditions agreed upon.
- Equalisation grant is the money to be paid to local governments for giving subsidies or making special provisions for the least developed districts; and shall be based on the degree to which a local government unit is lagging behind the national average standard for a particular service.
- District councils shall be obliged to indicate how conditional and equalisation grants obtained from the Government are to be passed onto the lower levels of local government.
- The proposals made under clause (1) of this article shall be made at the same time as the estimates of revenue and expenditure under article 155 of this Constitution and shall state the sums of moneys that are to be paid to each local government.
- The proposals made under this article shall form part of the Appropriation Act as provided for in article 156 of this Constitution.
194. Local Government Finance Commission
- There shall be a Local Government Finance Commission which shall consist of seven members appointed by the President.
- Of the seven members referred to in clause (1) of this article, four shall be nominated by the local governments.
- The members of the Local Government Finance Commission shall elect from among themselves a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson.
- The Local Government Finance Commission shall-
- advise the President on all matters concerning the distribution of revenue between the Government and local governments and the allocation to each local government of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund;
- in consultation with the National Planning Authority, consider and recommend to the President the amount to be allocated as the equalisation and conditional grants and their allocation to each local government;
- consider and recommend to the President potential sources of revenue for local governments;
- advise the local governments on appropriate tax levels to be levied by local governments;
- perform such other functions as Parliament shall prescribe.
- The expenses of the Commission, including salaries, allowances and pensions payable to persons serving with the Commission, shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
195. Loans and grants
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and with the approval of the Government, a local government may, for the carrying out of its functions and services, borrow money or accept and use any grant or assistance as Parliament shall prescribe.
Parliament shall make laws-
- requiring each local government to draw up a comprehensive list of all its internal revenue sources and to maintain data on total potential collectable revenues;
- prescribing financial control and accountability measures for compliance by all local governments;
- imposing regular audit requirements and procedures for local governments.
197. Financial autonomy of urban authorities
Urban authorities shall have autonomy over their financial and planning matters in relation to the district councils as Parliament may, by law provide.
District Service Commissions
198. District Service Commissions
- There shall be a District Service Commission for each district.
- The District Service Commission shall consist of a chairperson and such other members as the district council shall determine, at least one of whom shall represent urban authorities and all of whom shall be appointed by the district council on the recommendation of the district executive committee with the approval of the Public Service Commission.
- Members of a District Service Commission shall be persons of high moral character and proven integrity.
- Members of a District Service Commission shall hold office for a period of four years but are eligible for re-appointment for one more term.
- In the performance of its functions, a District Service Commission shall conform to the standards established by the Public Service Commission for the public service generally.
- A member of the District Service Commission may be removed from office by the executive committee of the district with the approval of the district council and after consultation with the Public Service Commission but may be removed only for-
- inability to perform the functions of that office arising from physical or mental incapacity;
- misbehaviour or misconduct; or
199. Secondment of staff
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Government may, on request by a district council, post persons to fill, assist and complement the service of a local government.
200. Functions of District Service Commissions
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the power to appoint persons to hold or act in any office in the service of a district, including the power to confirm appointments, to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in any such office and to remove those persons from office is vested in the District Service Commission.
- The terms and conditions of service of local government staff shall conform with those prescribed by the Public Service Commission for the public service generally.
- The District Service Commission may establish committees in respect of specialised disciplines.
- Notwithstanding anything in this article or in articles 172 and 176(2) and (3) of this Constitution, the power to appoint persons to hold or act in the office of Town Clerk in the service of a city or a municipality, including the power to confirm appointments, to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in any such office and to remove those persons from office is vested in the Public Service Commission.
201. Exercise of administrative functions
The functions of a district government shall be exercised in accordance with this Constitution and any other law; but the exercise of those functions shall not detract from the order, peace and good governance of any part of Uganda.
202. Take-over of district administration by President
- The President may, with the approval of two-thirds of all the members of Parliament, assume the executive and legislative powers of any district in any of the following circumstances-
- where the district council so requests and it is in the public interest to do so;
- where a state of emergency has been declared in that district or in Uganda generally; or
- where it has become extremely difficult or impossible for district government to function.
- The exercise by the President of the power conferred by this article, may be done through such persons or officers as the President may appoint; and the legislative functions shall be exercised by statutory instruments.
- Unless approved by Parliament for a longer term, the exercise by the President of the power conferred by this article, shall be for a period not exceeding ninety days.
- Upon the expiry of the term under clause (3) of this article-
- the President shall hand back the administration of the district to the incumbent district government; or
- if Parliament decides that the prevailing circumstances still make it impossible for the incumbent district government to resume the administration of the district then-
- where the unexpired term of the council is longer than twelve months, the President shall cause elections to be held for a new district council within sixty days; or
- where the unexpired term of the council is less than twelve months the President shall continue to administer the district until the next elections are held.
203. Resident District Commissioner
- There shall be for each district a Resident District Commissioner who shall be appointed by the President.
- For a person to be appointed a Resident District Commissioner he or she shall be a citizen of Uganda and qualified to be a member of Parliament.
- The functions of a Resident District Commissioner are-
- to monitor the implementation of central and local government services in the district;
- to act as chairperson of the district security committee of the district; and
- to carry out such other functions as may be assigned by the President or prescribed by Parliament by law.
204. Terms and conditions of service
Parliament shall prescribe the guidelines to be followed by the district councils, in determining terms and conditions of service for-
- members of the local government councils; and
- members of the District Service Commissions and their committees.
205. Prohibition of holding political offices concurrently
- No person shall hold concurrently on a full time basis, political offices-
- in the service of the Government and that of a local government; or
- in the service of a higher local government and that of a lower local government.
- In this article, “political office” means the office of a Minister, a member of Parliament or a member of a local government council, or any other office prescribed by Parliament.
206. Parliament to make laws regarding local government
- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall make laws relating to local Government for the purpose of giving full effect to this Chapter.
- Without prejudice to the general effect of clause (1) of this article, Parliament may make laws-
- limiting the number of political offices that may be created by the local governments;
- enabling councils to make laws, regulations or other instruments for the administration of their areas of jurisdiction;
- requiring that with appropriate modifications, the system of government as it operates at district level shall apply at the lower levels of local government units.
In this Chapter, a reference to a local government includes-
- a district council;
- an urban council;
- a sub-county council; or
- any other unit prescribed by law to replace any of the councils mentioned in paragraphs (a),(b) and (c) of this article.