Addressing Leadership Problems in Karamoja - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
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GAIN-Uganda and KAS invited local leaders and representatives of civil society, who had been attending a previous workshop earlier this month, to share the outcomes of the monitoring tools and the self-assessment mechanism introduced by Dr. Milton Mutto, Executive Director of Pincer Group International, and Dr. Arthur Bagonza, Consultant at Pincer Group International, and to give all participants a platform to develop a way forward.
On the first workshop day, Dr. Mutto started with a joint session refreshing on what had been discussed in the previous workshop. The local leaders and the members of civil society talked about the principles of democracy and defined political accountability, transparency, and good governance in more detail before the group was split into the local government group and the citizens group.
Dr. Mutto went through the self-assessment with the local leaders in detail. The reflection of the self-assessment results showed that some of the local leaders had problems to answer the questions which were asked due to language difficulties and poor knowledge on internal processes. For example, none of the participants was able to state when the planning process for the annual budget starts, which makes it almost impossible for them to include the demands of the local community in the priorities of the constituencies. However, the reflection helped the local leaders to identify areas where more knowledge is needed and how they are able to improve their leadership skills.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bagonza discussed the results of the monitored projects implemented by the local government with the members of civil society. The outcomes were quite interesting and showed that some of the monitored projects followed an intransparent implementation process and the community was not included in the decision making process. Especially a maternal care ward, which should have been finished in 2014 and is still under construction, caught the attention of the observers. Beside the delayed start of the construction, the process of choosing a constructing company which delivers high quality and good rates was intransparent. The leader of a local cultural group reported that the officials refused her offer to be a helping hand in the implementation process. Others informed the group that the unfinished construction is of poor quality and might collapse soon after finishing the whole building.
The participants complained that it was not easy to get access to some of the information asked in the monitoring tool. Some offices refused to answer the questions asked by the observers. However, all participants finally got the information they needed due to insisting and heavily demanding for their answers.
Following that, all participants had the chance to give feedback on the workshop, the input of the trainer and the monitoring tools which will be evaluated by the trainer to improve future workshops.
At the second workshop day, the participants had the opportunity to confront one another with their results. A lively discussion on accountability, transparency and inclusiveness, of the citizens in the local community was held. Corruption was identified as the major problem in the community especially on the LC1-level.
Even though the exchange forum was a good start for open dialogue and for exchanging questions and concerns on both sides - through that strengthening accountability and transparency, there are more discussions needed in order to address all challenges in the community and find ways towards good governance and transparent leadership. Towards the end of the forum, all participants agreed that they cannot achieve their goals without having the others on their side, meaning that it is necessary for civil society, elected leaders, and technocrats to work together and have the same objectives. Hopefully, this will be the basis for improved service delivery and transparent governance in Moroto District.
author: Nele Krueger, KAS Intern