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Decentralization was meant to cause transformation

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Added 8th April 2019 02:48 PM

The Local leaders are key stakeholders in understanding the challenges and coming up with tailor-made interventions through our civic engagements.

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The Local leaders are key stakeholders in understanding the challenges and coming up with tailor-made interventions through our civic engagements.

OPINION
 
By Thaddeo Kasaija
 
Decentralization as a system was developed to empower Local Government Administrative Units (Districts) possess the mandate to superintend the Implementation & Monitor of Government Programs and Projects.
 
Why on Earth do we have a DEO, DIS, LC5, MPs, DPC, RDC, DISO, GISO, PISO, OC, Sub county Chief, LC3, Councilors, LC2, Parish Chief, LC1 etc. but still have rampant Teacher absenteeism, Inadequate pupil enrollments (In Government Schools Under UPE) and Unlicensed learning Centers.
 
The spirit of the Local government Act that establishes these Units was to devolve power and create layers of Authority bearing in mind that those entrusted with Administrative Authorities either through Elections or by Appointment will have the technical know-how to offset such envisaged responsibilities diligently.
 
I don’t think it should call for the President or Minister’s attention to ensure young kids of school-going age are enrolled in school.
 
Leaders are watching as kids waste away in dangerous behavior or simply stay home under the auspices of their able parents/guardians.
 
The Notion of a Child being a treasure of a Nation meant the proportionate enjoyment of rights disregarding all forms of social class stratification.
 
Why must we have kids of 5, 6, 7 or 10 years in our neighborhoods roaming around while our kin and those of our friends are in schools? A single Community meeting, Village Council meeting, Community Surveillance and proper Liaison would be effective if the above officers dared to execute their full mandate.
 
Being a Social worker, I have interfaced with communities where you realize absolute lack of leadership from those concerned. How do you have a Head teacher or a Hospital In-charge simply “visiting” a School/ Health Center twice or thrice a week and uses the rest of the time to do God knows what and all the above quoted officers will be quick to narrate to you the ordeal of such a civil servant with a smile-No action, no concern and most certainly no reprimand. No serious Country should tolerate this kind of behavior. 
 
A child of 7 years out of school today will be 17 years in 2029 and it’ll be extremely hard or nearly impossible to encourage such a teenager to join school when their peers are in A ‘Level. Tomorrow is made by the choices of today and this must be localized to the smallest administrative Unit in the Land.
 
Let these LCs be sensitised and empowered to raise any red alerts in their communities.
 
I pray for a collaborative effort in seeking to help build a strong foundation for the young generation hence guaranteeing the future. 
 
As Strategic Linkages for Sustainability, we work with schools to help scale up quality Education by engaging with the central stakeholders like Parents, School Management Committees, School Proprietors, and the Education Technocrats all aimed and enhancing a seamless Education delivery chain.
 
The Local leaders are key stakeholders in understanding the challenges and coming up with tailor-made interventions through our civic engagements.
 
It sets a reminder that Leadership is a Service and you must at the very least propose and implement solutions. 
 
Since we are living in a digital age, we can make use of simple and affordable technologies like the Teacher Tracking (Apps) to record & monitor Teacher attendance and output like the case of Bridge International Academy Schools. These can be case studied and tested (Piloting) through strategic partnerships with some of these Organizations. 
 
If indeed we are committed to seeing actual social economic transformation happen in the villages, we must strengthen the Local Administrative Units beginning with the Local Council 1 and empower the Sub-counties/Division instead of riding on intellectual dishonesty.
 
We must address the issues of Funding and make appropriate allocations to make these institutions work for the people they represent. I can’t skip to mention the issues of Capacity building through trainings and civic engagements to check the knowledge gaps. Some Local Councils are doing the right thing and ought to be applauded and given a platform.
 
I am a strong believer that a fully Functioning LC is more relevant to the development agenda of masses that a Member of Parliament & am not mixing up things but drawing attention to budgetary allocation. You can’t harvest where you have not sown. 
 
The realities of mobilizing people, calling them to partake in transforming their incomes and livelihoods is the ultimate role of a State and Government.
 
We must evaluate and ascertain where the stakes are high as we make budgets and investment choices.
 
We don’t need a Parliament of close to 500 Members with half hardly contributing anything except drawing a huge salary and allowances. How on Earth do you comprehend the existence of all the Leaders and appointments in the Local Governments yet children in the communities are at home or roaming trading centers and towns?  RDC, Deputy RDC, DPC, DISO, GISO, PISO, Sub-county Chief, CDO, LCV, LC111, LC11, LC1, Councilors, O.C Police, OWC, NAADS extension workers etc. and you want us to refer the mess in the Communities to the President! What is happening in this Country is a shame and a big one.
 
Leaders must begin to be accountable and live to serve.  The above officers should be able to check Community sanitation and hygiene, Household Productivity, School Enrollment, all civil servants and all leaders. 
 
I believe we can achieve so much with the resources available provided we check the issue of competences and build strong monitoring systems (digitize monitoring) to check actual output. 
 
“The good harvest comes after a well prepared garden”. Development happens when the leaders actually & effectively lead. 
 
 
Executive Director
Strategic Linkages for Sustainability (SLiS)
taddeokasaija@gmail.com, www.slisuganda.org
The writer is a Development Analyst and a Smart Partner 

 

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