The Dutch Ambassador to Uganda, Henk Jan Bakker, says Ugandans deserve good governance as key in their well-being and development.
Ambassador Bakker made the remarks while launching the 2016/17 Local Government councils scorecard assessment in Kampala.
Ambassador Bakker, also spoke in his capacity as board chair of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), which sponsors the scorecard assessment.
Good governance is about promoting eight pillars of governance, namely accountability, transparency, rule of law, efficiency, effectiveness, inclusiveness, among others.
The scorecard, which measures five variables – legislative role, accountability, planning and budgeting, monitoring service delivery and contact with electorate – covers 35 districts.
In the scorecard, Gulu emerged best district, and its district chairperson, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, too emerged best chairperson.
Ambassador Bakker says after 25 years, decentralization, as a policy, has had mixed results. He says while decentralization has increased local participation and sense of local ownership, increased school enrollment and provision of services like clean and safe water, studies also show that the successes have not been proportionate to the massive resources and funds used.
Bakker says challenges like inadequate financing, corruption, inequality, nepotism, poor local revenue mobilization, conflicts, among others, continue to curtail the effectiveness and efficiency of decentralization and local governments.
Ambassador Bakker says it is crucial that issues raised in the scorecard, like need for transparency, accountability, responsive governments, and effectiveness among others are followed. He said ACODE’s objectives of policies that work rhyme with DGF’s mission of deepening good governance.
Ambassador Bakker encourages peer-to-peer learning and visits by among districts as one way of deepening good governance, citing the best farmer competition which has seen winners transforming into leaders and exemplary farmers.
ACODE executive director, Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, says the scorecard is not meant to name-and-shame but rather to strengthen democratic decentralization and encourage leadership that is responsive to citizens’ demands.
Dr Bainomugisha says a key policy problem is how to improve the citizens’ demands for public goods and services and governments’ responsiveness in supplying, effectively and efficiently, the public goods and services demanded.
He noted that districts and leaders that performed poorly in previous assessments transformed into better performers after following on their weaknesses. The best district chairperson, Gulu’s Mapenduzi, says they use the scorecard to fine-tune their engagements with the citizens.
Luweero district chairperson, Ronald Ndawula, one of the top performers, says he uses the feat to prove to voters his ability to perform and deliver, a strong reason why he has been reelected.