Assessing the Institutional Capacity of External Agencies in Holding Local Government Accountable in Uganda

Umar Kakumba

Abstract


The Government of Uganda established external agencies as part of the control mechanisms aimed at promoting accountability in the public sector in general and local governments (LGs) in particular. The two cardinal control agencies include the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the Inspectorate of Government (IG), who are mandated to enhance public service through efficient and effective resource management, ensuring adherence to standards and regulations, and promoting responsiveness to community needs. In spite of these institutional controls, a surge of unbearable events involving abuse of authority and misuse of public resources still exists, suggesting significant managerial and capacity handicaps, not only in the internal mechanisms of LGs, but also in the external control agencies.

This paper presents findings of a study conducted to evaluate the institutional capacity of the OAG and the IG in the enhancement of accountability in local governments (LGs) in Uganda. The findings demonstrate deficiencies in institutional capacity across the spectrum of financial, human and material resources, as well as the enabling legislation and lack stakeholder support. The scenario is a recipe for encouraging public malfeasance. The paper makes a strong case for strengthening institutional capacity, through improvements in planning, resource facilitation and collaborative relations among the key stakeholders. It is argued that the establishment of a special anti-corruption court could help reduce the delays and provide appropriate corrective measures in support of accountability.

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