Wednesday 27 September 2017

Voters Demand Mid-term Assessment of Elected Leaders

 Residents in the Rwenzori region want mid-term assessment of elected leaders for purposes of improving service delivery.
The residents argue that whenever the leaders are elected they abandon the electorate, don’t address issues affecting the electorate and only return looking for votes.

Three years ago, the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment-ACODE, started an assessment known as the local council score card initiative in more than 50 districts with the aim of assessing performance of lower local governments. However ACODE’s assessment targets only district councilors.

The electorates argue that the assessment should be carried out during the mid-term to gauge the performance of their leaders.
Christine Muhindo, a resident of Nyakasanga Village, Kasese Municipality says that some leaders especially councilors have stopped monitoring government programmes, aimed at improving of service delivery.
Without mentioning names, Muhindo says that some of the leaders are rarely in office and people who want urgent issues addressed cannot reach them.

“It’s a year since we elected our leaders, but can you imagine none of them has bothered to consult us and find out if there are problems,” Muhindo says.

Hamis Kugonza, a resident of Kanara Village, Kanara Sub County in Bundibugyo district says that individual assessment of leaders makes them accountable to the electorate. He also says that it is an opportunity for the leaders to know what is good and bad for the electorate.
Godber Tumushabe, the former Executive Director ACODE supports the calls of the voters.
Tumushabe explains that the assessment will improve service delivery and hold the leaders accountable. “If assessment is consistent, expect boreholes to be constructed and repaired, school, health facilities repaired and government projects monitored by district leaders,” Tumushabe says.
According to Tumushabe, after the assessment the performance should be widely disseminated to the electorate to help them understand how their leaders are performing.
 However some leaders councilors have mixed reactions to the calls for assessment.
Victoria Muhindo, the Muhokya Sub County councilor says that the criteria of assessment should first be known to the councilors. She explains that the electorate may assess leaders based on the number of burials and parties they have attended instead of focusing the mandates of the elected leaders.

 “We should be assessed on tasks such as monitoring government projects, sensitization and representation in council, not on how many parties we have attended,” Muhindo says.

Joram Bintamanya, the Kabarole district councilor representing Fort Portal Municipality says that although assessment is a good idea, sometimes they are face challenges to deliver services   and monitor government projects due to inadequate facilitation.

“As councilors, we are not provided with enough facilitation to supervise and run other activities, otherwise assessing our performance is good,” Bintamanya says.

The writer is Emmanuel Kajubu, a journalist and an ICT4Democracy in East Africa Media Fellow

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