AWEPA would like to congratulate Hon. Herbert Edmund Ariko for his election as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Soroti Municipality Constituency in Uganda and wish him all the best for his future role. Hon. Ariko enjoyed an eight year career with AWEPA, most recently as AWEPA’s Human Resource Expert and Programme Manager for the South Sudan Programme.
In a recent interview with AWEPA, Hon. Ariko reflected on his time with the organisation and shared his future priorities for his new role.
Congratulations on your election. How do you see your new role and responsibilities within the Ugandan Parliament?
My role as an MP can be simplified by way of the three core mandates of Parliament and parliamentarians: I will be a representative of my people in the governance of Uganda. Secondly my role will involve participating in the legislation process by way of debating and passing laws by proposing amendments to clauses of Government Bills and/or sponsoring a private member’s bills where necessary. And lastly, as an MP, my role will include carrying out the oversight function over the other arms of Government as provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
However, an MP is also a leader, and as a leader I have a responsibility to lobby from Government, development partners, humanitarian organisations and other people of good will for interventions that will assist in alleviating the poor standards of living of my constituency in terms of provision of better educational opportunities, improved health service delivery, poverty reduction, improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and psycho-social support interventions for vulnerable and marginalised groups such as disabled people, elderly people, women and children among others.
What made you decide to run for parliament? Did your work with parliaments as a Programme Manager for AWEPA affect this decision?
My decision to stand for parliament can be attributed to a number of factors. First and foremost, I have been in leadership throughout my education holding various positions in school, college and university. I am also born to a political family where my late father was one time an MP and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Uganda so the family legacy thing had something to do with it.
In addition, I am inspired by the principals of egalitarianism and common good, so I wanted a platform from which I would work to promote the livelihood of the underprivileged. Leadership is one of those areas where you can achieve this because it gives you the opportunity to advocate and lobby for services for your people. Generally my idea is to be a servant leader who will leave Soroti, Teso and Uganda better places than I have found them today by promoting the ethical values of procedural, interactive and distributive justice.
My work as Programme Manager with AWEPA contributed immensely to my final decision to run for parliament in that it gave me a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the role and responsibilities of an MP through the day-to-day activities that we had to accomplish for the legislatures. Moreover, I was also inspired by some of the success stories and experiences I heard from MPs I worked with through the project.
What is also worth mentioning is the confidence and completeness that I got from the multicultural work environment in AWEPA. Besides this, I personally learnt so much over my years with AWEPA in terms of political engagement, diplomacy, negotiation, lobby and advocacy, all necessary skills in an election.
Please tell us about your future plans as an MP. What will your priorities be?
I have a number of key priorities that I will advocate for in Parliament both at national and constituency level. We will advocate for improved budgetary allocation to the education and health sector, these being the backbone of growth and development. We would like to see to it that schools have sufficient instructional and teaching materials, more classroom and better pay for teachers, among other things.
I will also advocate for the provision of sufficient and modern diagnostic equipment for hospitals and health centres, an improved supply of medicine and drugs and better working conditions for medical staff.
The other key areas of focus in my term of office will include: addressing youth unemployment through vocational education, apprenticeships and youth livelihood projects; women empowerment activities; and savings and credit associations. I will also address the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene in liaison with the municipal local authorities.
Attention shall be paid to vulnerable and marginalised groups. And the promotions of talent, culture and unity through sports will also receive some attention.
Overall, I shall not forget my responsibilities as an MP to advocate and lobby for betters laws and policies for the governance of this country, carrying out government oversight and fighting corruption as well as ensuring the effective representation of the people of Soroti Municipality.
Could you share with us a highlight of your time working with AWEPA?
My time and work with AWEPA in South Sudan remains an adventure that I will forever treasure. AWEPA South Sudan offered me a lot of opportunity to demonstrate my Human Resources and Programme Management skills. It was a chance to work in multicultural environments with its associated challenges, and playing a part in building parliamentary democracy in the new nation of South Sudan was also humbling for me.
I thank AWEPA for all the good wishes and prayers without which I probably would not have made it. In me, AWEPA has a permanent friend, colleague and associate.