Review the decentralisation policy, Kadaga tells government

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has joined voices calling for a review of the decentralisation policy to allow local governments effectively operate without undue influence from the centre.

The policy was introduced 21 years ago in 1997 but since 2005, it has steadily been driven away from its original plan which has attracted criticism from a wide spectrum of analysts and local government leaders.

In Kadaga’s view, the decentralisation policy in its current state promotes individualism.

She said that whilst decentralisation has created jobs, Ugandans have become more inward looking.

“I have been told that there are districts which do not advertise because the natives are still at university. So for those years, there are no services,” said Kadaga.

Kadaga was officiating at the launch of the capacity development for district local councils’ project on Thursday, June 21 at Ridar Hotel in Seeta near Mukono.

Kadaga raised the concern of insufficient funding to Local Governments, which she said is one of their biggest challenges and affects performance.

Kadaga addresses delegates who attended the launch of the Capacity Development District Local Councils Project at Ridar Hotel in Seeta, June 21 2018.

She noted that unlike previously when local governments were able to raise funds through sources like markets, local governments have been incapacitated after the central government took over management of markets.

“There are councils which cannot even sit because they have no capacity to pay councillors. There is also disparity in pay in different districts, KCCA pays in millions while other councils cannot even raise Shs20,000 to pay councillors,” said Kadaga.

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali told the launch that while the intention of the decentralisation policy was good, there is need to review it because it has been in existence for 10 years and several gaps have been identified.

He said that during the review, consideration will be made towards increasing funding to local governments, agreeing with Kadaga that decentralisation has created problems in districts across the country.

He said decentralisation had contributed to the high levels of corruption among district officials.

“We realised that funds which are sent for development are diverted by district officials. These officials own beautiful buildings and this is questionable because we know how much they earn,” said Ali.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Uganda District Councils’ Speakers Association, Moses Mukisa Max urged government to review the qualifications of district councillors.

“These councillors handle sensitive documents and it is important that they have the requisite qualifications. We propose that the minimum qualification should be an Ordinary level certificate,” said Mukisa.