Effective implementation of decentralization a preliquisite for the success of NDP III

Published By UNNGOF |  June 12, 2020

Uganda introduced the decentralization policy under the 1997 local government Act to contribute to development by empowering the people and institutions at every level of society including public, private and civic institutions; improving access to basic services; increasing people’s participation in decision-making; assisting in developing people’s capacities; and enhancing government’s responsiveness, transparency and accountability.

However over the last 22 years, implementation of decentralization policy has been more on paper than practice and this is attributed to limited financing, conditional grants from central government, power struggles between central and local governments. Despite this, it remains the best vehicle through which national development can be achieved because local governments are the main service delivery units.

This was further echoed by CSO leaders from West Nile at the regional CSO consultative meeting on the Third National Development Plan held on 6th August 2019 at Desert Breeze Hotel Arua who challenged the central government to walk the talk and operationalize the decentralization policy. This call was made following the findings of the NDP II midterm review that raised key bottlenecks to its success especially on governance and service delivery i.e weak service delivery standards, limited citizens participation, transparency and accountability. A participant stressed “some individuals in government seem to be fighting decentralization yet it will ensure there is inclusiveness, participation and increased accountability”.

Participants also made recommendations towards the proposed NDPIII strategic focus including; ensuring democracy is also measured as a pillar for development,  zero tolerance to corruption, called for political will to develop the country, ensure agricultural zoning for each region to have comparative advantage, avoid politicization of development projects among others.

Uganda National NGO Forum in partnership with its sub national partners and with support from GIZ is convening regional CSO consultative meetings (#NDPIII19) to mobilize citizens and their organizations to contribute to the NDPIII formulation process. This is done through; a) popularization of NDPIII processes, b) coordination of CSOs to generate evidence to input in NDPIII and c) play a representational role in government spaces on NDPIII. A key outcome of these meetings will be a CSO position paper that will be submitted to National Planning Authority for consideration.