Twenty-Four Years of decentralised local government in Uganda: measuring responsiveness, effectiveness, and accountability

26 Jun 2017

The article explores the implementation of decentralised local governance in Uganda and the factors that inhibit the realisation of decentralised local governance. Decentralisation efforts seeks to promote a more responsive, efficient and accountable governance at the local level. The 1995 Constitution of Uganda and subsequently the 1997 Local Governments Act, gave impetus and legal backing for the decentralised local governance in Uganda. Since their establishment in 1997, local governments have played a fundamental role in democratisation, service delivery, maintaining security, expediting local justice, enhancing local economic development and above all promotion of good governance in Uganda. Based on the local council system, local governments have undoubtedly been critical channels of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) – the ruling party’s manifestos and governance agenda. The concern among scholars, practitioners and the civil society is the need to generate a balanced assessment of the governance achievements and challenges facing the local governments in Uganda. Whereas government and the policy makers argue that this system has been a great success, many scholars, academicians, civil society and even street level bureaucrats are of the view that all is not well. This article intends to address this gap by making a balanced assessment of the governance achievements and challenges of the local council system in Uganda. The study present findings based on analysis of available literature, reports and assessments carried out on the performance of local governments in Uganda in the period 1997- 2016. The article shall make suggestions on enhancing responsiveness and accountability in decentralised service delivery in Uganda.