By Julius Mugaga Tukakunduga/Umoja Standard.
Kikuube, Bunyoro Sub Region: On Tuesday, Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission, (ACF) in partnership with Ministry of Local Government (MOLG) has kicked off a 4-day residential induction exercise for Kikuube District Councilors. The induction is geared towards equipping them with accepted legislative skills and other capacities like lobbying and advocacy.
It is in the mandate of Ministry of Local Government to always carry out induction exercise of Local Council members and technical staff before the first sitting in matters of legislation, debate, patriotism and others however it is usually not possible due to financial constraints.
It’s against this background that with funding from Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission which is already implementing the Right to Grow project that aims at reducing stunting and malnutrution in children under five in the area that arrangement was possible.
Councilors seen during induction exercise. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Understanding Decentralization dominated DAY-ONE of the training. It will be remembered that in 1993 prior to 1995 Ugandan Constitution, the Government decided to delegate powers from top (Central Government) to grassroot (Local Government) to ensure good governance, popular participation, accountability, partnerships and others.
The architects of this policy aimed at improvement of financial accountability and responsibility, improvement of capacities of councils to plan, finance and manage service delivery, embrace local economic development and others.
Mr. Ismail Ahmad, the Principal Inspector in the Ministry of Local Government reminded councilor’s that the beauty of decentralization policy is that it reduced bottlenecks, enabled regular financial transfer from central Government, improved development planning, fostered involvement of people in government programmes, empowered local politicians, facilitated development at grassroot to mention but a few.
Mr. Ismail Ahmad, the Principal Inspector in the Ministry of Local Government facilitates at the Induction exercise. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He however mentioned that it is associated with some challenges that include but not limited to inadequate financing, staffing, poor information and records management, poor intra and inter-government coordination, poor mindset and attitudinal challenges. But this can be strengthened by having strong political will, legal framework, supportive attitudinal behavior, regular performance reviews, deepening and improving local government communication system.
Mr. Ismail went on to task councilors to defend Uganda’s constitution by following provisions of key sections in the Local Government Act.
“We need to read the Local Government Act. When you’re in your district council committee, always remind yourself with the Act and this will boost your debating skills because it is one of the tools of local government that ensure local government delivery to people you serve”. Ismail stated.
Gerald Nuwagaba – the Senior Research Officer in the Ministry of Local Government takes councilors through communication skills. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Earlier on, Gerald Nuwagaba – the Senior Research Officer in the Ministry of Local Government emphasized that councilors should to ensure proper handling of the ‘Communication tool’ as this is the only mode that will help them have effective deliberations and tangible development.
“For a communication to be effective, it has to comprise of a sender, receiver and must have feedback. However, this is cannot be possible if you don’t take a keen interest in listening properly and asking questions to seek clarity where information is not clear”. Said Mr. Nuwagaba.
“In case of Kikuube district Local Government, you should look at a communication model that favors all members of council and technical staff in case of any engagement in order not to leave anyone out”. He added.
Agum Moses, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, (DCAO) for Kikuube District lauded Action Against Hunger for the funding and organizing the induction training believing that it will up the game of councilors to be at the same footing in delivering their duties.
Mr. Agum Moses, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, (DCAO) for Kikuube District gives his remarks. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He said, this will help them to hold relevant offices accountable through right channels for the development of Kikuube District.
“I want to see sanity prevail in Kikuube District, so, use this 4-day induction exercise to refuse wrong decisions”. Said Mr. Agum.
“We need to set a strong foundation, if somethings are wrong, they should be regarded wrong and the reverse is true. I want us to start on an issue of dialogue and mutual understanding rather that fights”. He added.
Mr. Bisobora Peter, Resident District Commissioner for Kikuube District. Photo by Julius Mugaga We are harvesting.
In the same regard, the Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Bisobora Peter was confident that the induction will boost capacity of Kikuube District Councilors. ‘We are talking about sharpening minds of councilors with the training which will guide their way of legislating and handling issues’.
“As an RDC, i appeal to you the councilors to mobilize masses against environmental degradation, corruption tendencies and inhuman living in the area for the benefit of all.
About Action Against Hunger.
Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger.
In Uganda, it operates in five districts of Kikuube, Kiryandongo, Isingiro, Adjumani, Yumbe and very soon will also be operating in North Eastern Uganda (Karamoja Region).