Uphold Decentralization Principles

Published By UNNGOF |  March 18, 2022

The LC V Chairperson of Maracha District Local Government, Mr Obitre Steven, has called for commitment towards the principles of decentralisation. This will enhance citizens’ appreciation of local government leadership. 

Mr Obitre argued that local governments do not design their development paths, and they still run development plans/programs as directed by the central government. Unfortunately, the government releases very minimal resources that cannot spur local economic growth. 

“Decentralisation is expected to contribute to development by empowering the people and institutions at every level of society, including public, private and civic institutions. It should also improve access to basic services; increase people’s participation in decision-making, and enhance local government’s responsiveness to people’s needs. However, the case for Uganda remains different as the system is still centralised,” says Steven.

Mr Obitre was speaking at the capacity enhancement (induction) workshop for Maracha District Councillors held on 15th March 2022 at the District Council Hall. The workshop was organised by West Nile Regional Civil Society Network (WECISNET) supported by UNNGOF under its Civil Society Strengthening Programme.

He illustrated how Maracha, with 19 sub-counties, only constructs only eight boreholes every year. He feared it would take long for all the communities to access water. He noted that deliberations on resolutions that cannot translate well into services for citizens affects the credibility and relevance of the local governments.

The session that brought together at least 40 district councillors was facilitated by two experienced leaders, Hon. Genesis Ecema and Hon. Ronald Ofoyrwoth, who shared hands-on experience on how to be better policymakers at the local government level.

Ofoyrwoth is a former District Youth councillor for Nebbi, former Chairperson – Social Services Committee for Nebbi, former District Speaker for Zombo, and now an Executive Director for Nebbi NGO Forum. Ecema is a former youth chairperson, former deputy speaker, former District Vice-Chairperson and former District Chairperson for Madi-Okollo District.

Ecema challenged the district councillors to remember why District Councils exist, emphasising that this can be traced in the ‘Standard Council Prayer’ recited at every council seating. He stressed that their primary mandate as people’s representatives is to ensure society’s welfare is improved. Therefore, all decisions taken by District Council ought to be guided by the principle of equity. 

UNNGOF believes that collaboration between state and non-state actors is important for realising sustainable development. This is why we prioritise supporting training for local government leaders because it helps raise their consciousness towards responding to citizens’ aspirations.