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Political leaders have a duty to monitor service delivery

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd September 2012 08:43 PM

In my last two articles, I have written about service delivery and linked it to MPs’ longevity in Parliament. Last week, I gave examples of what one needed to do to follow up on the availability of medicines at heath centres and hospitals.

Moses Byaruhanga

In my last two articles, I have written about service delivery and linked it to MPs’ longevity in Parliament. 
Last week, I gave examples of what one needed to do to follow up on the availability of medicines at heath centres and hospitals. 

One thing was glaring. The hospitals in the last financial year used only 80% of their medicine budget. Since 80% is an average, it means that there are those who utilised less than that. 

This could be a hospital in your constituency, where patients have been complaining of no medicines most times they go for medication. 

My opinion is that if the political class followed up service delivery in their constituencies and the RDCs did the same, that would be a good check on the Government whose work is delivery of services but is frustrated by civil servants who don’t do their work. 

The political leader who follows up service delivery and closes the loopholes along the way, such a person is assured of re-election. For the RDC, he/she would be assured of job security. We will have to demand from RDCs reports showing how one has monitored service delivery in the district. It is a constitutional role of the RDC to monitor implementation of the Government programmes. 

Today, I will focus on agriculture and provision of water. In agriculture, the NRM programme has been empowering the households to transform from subsistence to commercial production. 

Lots of monies have been voted for under NAADS for this purpose. One of the major hindrances under NAADS is that a lot of money is being spent on paying staff salaries. At a sub county; there is an agricultural and a veterinary officer under the district administration. 

You also find another agricultural and a veterinary officer under NAADS on top of the sub county NAADS coordinator. This is wastage of resources. We need to have one agricultural and veterinary officer at the sub county under the district administration with a sub county NAADS coordinator. This will save resources where today about 50% of the resources sent to the sub county are spent on salaries and allowances. 

The above notwithstanding, a political leader, whether MP, RDC, or district councilor should endeavour to find out how many farmers have benefitted under the NAADS programme in the areas of their jurisdiction, since two years ago, when the Government introduced a programme of giving inputs at village level to enhance food security. 

A farmer, under this programme, was supposed to get inputs worth sh100,000, which was calculated to be enough to buy seeds to plant one acre of rice. In the case of other crops like maize, you need 10kg of maize seed for one acre, which would cost you about sh40,000. 

The assumption was that the farmer would offer labour to clear the land. A number of farmers have since benefitted under the above scheme. 

The work of the political leader and a mobiliser is, therefore, to check in your village(s) how many farmers have benefited or is the Government getting figures of non existing farmers. 

When you visit them, crosscheck with the list of the sub county NAADS coordinator and if you find a disconnect, raise it so that it is sorted out. 

Such information could be passed on to the district leadership, NAADS Secretariat or the ministry of agriculture. 
Also find out about other farmers other than the food security farmers under NAADS and the challenges affecting farmers and pass on that information to policy makers for solutions. 

The work of a political mobiliser is to find out the problems affecting society and work towards offering solutions. This is what President Museveni has been telling NRM leaders but some people don’t follow the teaching.  
Today, there are enough resources to deliver services in the country with little assistance from donors. We are now collecting sh7,000b compared to sh5b the economy was collecting in 1986. 
The economy has grown 14 times in the last 25 years of NRM. We could do better if services are delivered as per the Government programmes. Our problem today is luck of resources supervision.
In the budget speech, the finance minister talked about a crop approach and the ministry of agriculture budget was said to have been increased by sh150b. Now the population is waiting for this crop approach. What is in it? 
Let me turn to the water sector. Today, access to clean drinking water is about 63% in the rural areas compared to about 10% in 1986. This is a tremendous achievement but we could do more if only we sorted out a few issues on the ground, which need to raised by the political leaders. 
When you get figures from the ministry of water on the water situation in any place, you will be given information on a number of bore holes, spring wells, shallow wells etc. However, some of the bore holes are indicated as non functional. Under the Water Act, responsibility to repair bore holes is with the users and the Government. 
The political leader should find out how many boreholes in the constituency are non-functional and what programme is in place to repair them and monitor to ensure they are repaired. In every year’s budget for water for every district, there is a component of repair of boreholes. 
As an MP, do you know which boreholes in your constituency are going to be repaired this financial year?  What about the new ones to be sunk? Can you name the villages where they are? The same applies to the RDC, district councilor, etc. on water; we need to examine the costs. 
Today, it costs about sh25m to sink a borehole using the tenderers. Supposing the Government had its own drilling rigs, it would cost a lot cheaper, hence, we would be able to provide more boreholes to the areas where they can be sunk and increase on the access to clean water. 
About three years ago, working with the Katakwi district leadership under Nkata, the then CAO, on the orders of the President, we were able to construct eight valley tanks the size of 60 meters by 40 meters three meters deep each at a cost of sh25m. The tenderers wanted sh150-200m for the same size of a dam. 
We need to rethink on these costs.  Hon. Peter Ogwang, I was with you on this. Now you are in Parliament, pass on the baton to your colleagues. 
Parliament shouldn’t just pass budgets without scrutiny. For you who have dams at personal farms you know the costs of dams. They don’t cost hundreds of millions like the Government spends. 

May be instead of a public dam, we should buy equipment where users pay for fuel and have their dams constructed. Even for the big public dams, we can construct smaller ones per village depending on a number of cows in the village. If we successfully monitor implementation of the Government programmes, the NRM will be much stronger and the question of presidential succession will not be an issue. 

After all the party will decide on whom to front at the next general election.

Senior Presidential Adviser

Political leaders have a duty to monitor service delivery

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