Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why is Uganda so lax in local government promotion?

SIR — Uganda is fortunate to have one of its own in the name of George Matovu as Regional Director, the Municipal Development Partnership (MDP) in Zimbabwe.

This partnership has one of the financiers as World Bank Institute (WBI). The Municipal Development Partnership is targeting local governments within eastern and southern Africa so as to help in their capacity building.

This is done through Africa Good Governance Programme on the Radio Waves and Africa Local Government Action Forum (ALGAF) via a Video Conference facility every first Friday of the month with (Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Washington) and lastly, an e-Learning course on the Internet: What is most unfortunate is Uganda’s poor response to the above initiatives.

While some circles allege that Uganda is a success story of local government decentralisation, it is a fact that the picture portrayed is different! Uganda happens to have the best facilities for video conference as seen from the screens of the countries that participate in ALGAF, but at times there can be as few as four people participating!

Rwanda, where the participants are poor at English registers big turn-ups. It is surprising to learn that the poor response by representatives of local governments is because there is no facilitation!

The courses are building capacity for the participants and as such, the councilors, mayors, chairpersons and officials from the Ministry of Local Government should be turning up for the sessions.

In case the authorities in Uganda’s Ministry of Local Government were not aware of the sessions by the Municipal Development Partnership for capacity building in the local governments, the time is now to get to know and positively respond to the initiative. Otherwise, Uganda’s image is bad to the extent that we are even failing to make paper presentations for ALGAF sessions!

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