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In addition to the district planners’ insights, we also utilised the simplified legal compendium resource published under the SPACE Project to enhance participant’s knowledge on public resources and also stimulate them to fulfil their mandates. We further discussed progress in public sector, efficiency of public service delivery, issues and what should be done to mitigate the challenges and improve service delivery.
Responsible duty bearers provided an update on some of the issues previously raised for action during the second district dialogues. These included: Promoting gender inclusion in projects and programme implementations; Deployment of army to insecurity points in Karamoja region; Communities to feed the army with information of any planned raids; CAO’s office to follow up with the Water Officers on boreholes rehabilitation.
In an update on the insecurity issues faced, Vice Chairperson of Napak shared that, ‘’The preceding District Dialogue informed our meeting with security forces. We identified hot spots and have deployed detachments and police units there.’’ He further stated that they are still finding a way to contain open fire exchange with raiders but also admitted that the issue of insecurity has become a big challenge of which they don’t seem to be making upright progress with.
Some good news was shared regarding Lopei Health Centre III. It had been closed due to lack of water, but as of recent, the borehole was fixed, it is fully operational and being utilised by community members.
Our participants included ordinary citizens from the most recent community platforms who corroborated issues raised on public service delivery and accountability in their communities. Issues openly discussed and presented on included;
Mismanagement and negligence of government resources due to the misinformation that these resources belong to the government and therefore consumers (citizens) cannot be held responsible.
Tap water is very expensive and also not available during dry seasons like now. Furthermore, the water user committees assigned to manage these taps have not fulfilled their duties such as payment of the water bills to national water and consequently, a large number of the taps have been disconnected. This was addressed by sending out new ToRs to identify competent working groups to manage water supply in the affected areas.
Increase in rape cases. It was discussed to further sensitize the community on approaches and responses to rape and child sexual abuse.
Poor sanitation and open defecation. The District Health Officers pledged to enforce cleanliness by introducing a day of general cleaning per week while ensuring that every home managed their garbage. To close all public places without latrines until they are put in place, and also ban the use of polythene bags.
Participants derived the following Action points for follow up in the next district dialogue;
Boosting up security through more deployment of UPDF and also regulating LDUs.
Provision of clean water in rural and emerging resettlement areas.
Kick-starting barazas as districts and also sensitizing communities on the importance of participation.
Regular council meetings at districts and sub-counties.
Advocating for more drugs from Ministry of Health.
The district representatives requested the SPACE team to organise peace dialogues between rivalry sub-counties in the region as a step towards resolving the insecurity issues among the people.
We concluded with a reminder to ordinary citizens and those charged with governance of the important role each plays in promoting accountability and service delivery in their societies.
ACTIVITY REPORT: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM (CEP), MOROTO & NAPAK
In a bid to increase active citizenship on community platforms to promote accountability and service delivery, we engaged ordinary citizens and opinion leaders of Moroto and Napak districts, at village level once again. We continuously discussed the status of service delivery in these villages, with a focus on various sectors from health to education to infrastructure to security and natural resources.
Whereas the government has set-up interventions such as community schools, health centres, mining sites, police posts, construction of latrines in schools and drilling of boreholes, participants are constantly heavy-laden with gaps in these interventions and raised the following issues for action;
Lack of implementation of by-laws and ordinances with regards to households without latrines and any other places of convenience. Open defecation is still a very big problem in Karamoja region and this may cause an outbreak of cholera.
There is a constant lack of drugs in health centres. “We don’t have an ambulance in Rupa health centre and also the drugs are not enough, they always send us to buy from a clinic yet we don’t have money.” Participant. In addition, the health centres are sparsely located and moreover nurses report late for duty or even don’t show up at all.
‘’No dormitories for pupils in boarding school, they study in classrooms during the day, and sleep in them at night.’’ Said a participant who also voiced that the schools are long distances for these pupils to walk to and from on a daily.
In addition, to lack of accountability from the schools to parents on the different cash and in kind contributions, such as, registration fees, medical fees, cement, there’s a gap in monitoring of schools by the school inspector because issues raised in PTA meeting reports are not addressed.
Participants acknowledged that learning materials distributed only favour children whose parents can read and write and those with illiterate parents haven’t been learning in any way.
Unfavourable conditions of fees payments and school requirements such as hand sanitisers. ‘’Schools have opened but we are conditioned to pay full fees for our children to be admitted in school despite the income drawbacks caused by COVID-19.’’
Infrastructure; Poor road network to Mussupo parish, the bridge is also down and during rainy seasons, no economic activity takes place across including pupils being blocked from going to school.
Scarcity of water; The functioning boreholes within the communities are very few compared to the populations. ‘’ Cow dams are not in place and this is causing congestion at the borehole because even cows come to drink at the borehole.’’ Consequently, Water User Committees are not performing their roles and because of that, the few boreholes available are not well maintained and are out of use.
Natural resources; Community members complained about being over worked and yet the biggest percentage of the marble and gold mined goes to the sub-county.
Security; Raring animals in the community has become a source of insecurity. ‘’Our biggest problem here is insecurity, the Gie and the Bokora are a problem, they have finished all our cows and we are left with nothing.” Participant. Corruption and high rates of bribery in the police department, resulting into unresolved cases.
Open fire exchange between police and raiders which puts lives of ordinary citizens within these areas in jeopardy.
Absenteeism of sub-county representatives. They are out of reach.
Rise in rape crimes. Cases reported are never resolved. Perpetrators are released shortly after arrests. The girls raped agonizingly live with these perpetrators in the same community.
Opinion leaders present, certified that as much as all these issues have been raised out of the different individual experiences, they affect the entire community and called for joint effort in improvement of service delivery in the respective areas, with citizenry attention to what should be achieved and by whom.
In order to further bring these to the responsiveness and action of duty bearers in Local Government, we mobilised representatives from these platforms to participate in the district dialogues.