Local Governance and Local Democracy in Uganda

John Kiyaga-Nsubuga, Yasin Olum


Abstract

Uganda embarked in 1993 on radical decentralization, among other reasons, to enhance local governance and local democracy. The major focus of the decentralization policy was on empowering citizens to participate in decisions that affect their localities. This issue will be examined based on two major themes of the twelve principles of the Commonwealth’s ‘Aberdeen Agenda’ for local democracy – the enabling environment and participation. However, the paper argues that Uganda’s devolutionary decentralization can only foster local governance and local democracy if it is properly conceptualised, the facilitating conditions are given careful attention, and the institutional framework is sufficiently elaborate and effective to enable it to achieve its intended objectives. Short of these measures, the gap between intent and reality might be so great as to disable the decentralization policy from achieving real local governance and local democracy.

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