“Be heedful of Article one of the constitution.” Ugandans in the Teso sub-region implore leaders

Published By UNNGOF |  August 5, 2015

For a very long time now, leaders vying for elective positions have continuously made countless unobtainable promises during electioneering periods to sway their electorate in their favor. 2011 was no different a year, except that this time, citizens went a notch higher and prescribed their demands in the 2011 – 2016 Citizen Manifesto under the auspices of the Uganda Governance and Monitoring Platform. Sadly though, five years later, there’s looming disparity between the anticipated and realized progress. This stagnation, citizens believe has been caused by the unchecked wanton theft of public resources, complete disregard of the citizenry, and disrespect for human dignity and thus called for the respect of the citizens power as enshrined in the first Article of the Ugandan constitution. “All power belongs to the people who shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance with this Constitution.” Article 1 (1)

These sentiments were expressed during the recently concluded community consultations in the Teso sub region organized by the Uganda National NGO Forum, Action Aid and Public Affairs Center as part of the ongoing process to enumerate the progress made as far the 2011 – 2016 Citizen Manifesto demands. This process is expected to form the mainspring for generating the 2016 – 2021 Manifesto.

The consultations which took place between Sunday the 26th day of July and Saturday 1st August in the districts of Soroti, Kumi, Bukedea, Ngora Serere and Katakwi employed a multifaceted delivery mechanisms including public interviews in market places, public rallies, town hall meetings, community Bimezas, meetings with farmers’ and women’s groups in order to measure up to the dynamics and the peculiar characteristics of each community. At least 3 communities were consulted in each of the districts.

The citizens underscored the need for the state to respect the dignity of all citizens by providing decent health care, education, water and sanitation plus developing a well connected and suitable road network to facilitate trade and agriculture which forms a backbone of the Teso economy.

In Malera village, community leaders also decried the deception of some Members of Parliament who promise things beyond their mandate only to disappear and never return after elections. They thus vowed to deal with them during the next general elections. “Our MP promised to take us for an exchange visit in Entebbe but since we elected him, he has never returned home, we are waiting for him, and we shall deal with him when he comes marshalling for votes” a local leader vowed more than he lamented.

The citizens thanked the Uganda National NGO Forum and Action Aid International Uganda for continued efforts and commitment to raising the civic consciousness and promoting the democratic principles in Uganda. They thus vowed to remain resolute in their constitutional duty of holding their leaders accountable and demand for better services.

Story by Chris Nkwatsibwe