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Ugandans not content with political parties

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th June 2010 03:00 AM

A study done in seven districts has revealed that residents are not satisfied with political parties, democracy and representation within their communities.

A study done in seven districts has revealed that residents are not satisfied with political parties, democracy and representation within their communities.

By Cyprian Musoke

A study done in seven districts has revealed that residents are not satisfied with political parties, democracy and representation within their communities.

The study was conducted by Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German NGO, with the Uganda Media Development Foundation and funded by the European Union.

It was conducted in the districts of Arua, Gulu, Kasese, Masaka, Mbarara, Mbale and Soroti.

“Findings indicate serious shortcomings in all three dimensions and clearly expose an urgent need for improvement,” the report said.

Explaining the findings, the research consultant, Makerere University political scientist Prof. Yasin Olum said there was a high level of scepticism, frustration and mistrust towards parties and elected leaders with regard to effectiveness, accountability and transparency.

Although the people are aware of the presence of political parties in their districts, the report noted, they are considered weak in structure and performance of democratic functions.

“They are mostly personality-driven, the more popular the candidate is in a given area, the stronger the party is perceived to be in that area,” the study said.

While their internal democracy seems to meet minimum standards, party members do not have confidence in it. “This explains the high number of independents running for office against candidates of parties to which they formerly belonged,” the report explained.

It highlighted other challenges in parties as lack of funding and clear programmes, weak or absent structures at grassroot levels, and conflict among members.

Citizens, the study said, do not have adequate knowledge of their rights, duties and obligations, which makes it difficult for them to hold leaders accountable and to effectively take advantage of the multi-party dispensation.

On representation, it was discovered people do not feel properly represented due to poor feedback from elected leaders and lack of consultation about their needs and priorities.

“There is frustration with elected leaders who make promises during campaigns but do not fulfil them. Once elected, they lose touch with the community and pursue individual interests,” the report said.

Ugandans not content with political parties

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