Monday 23 July 2012

Another advocacy forum formed in Hakibaale Sub-County, Kabarole District to Monitor Service Delivery.

Youth of Hakibaale Sub-County in Kabarole district have formed an advocacy group called ‘Committed Citizens for Better Services’ to monitor the delivery of government services in their area. The formation of the group has been inspired by the ‘Listeners Forum’ radio program which is supported by Toro Development Network (ToroDev) in partnership with Better FM, Fort Portal.
The advocacy group follows the formation of other advocacy groups in Ntoroko district and in the Kabarole District Sub Counties of Mugusu, Kisomoro and Katebwa.
During the initiation of the ‘Listeners Forum’ talkshow in January, 2012, ToroDev has been actively encouraging the formation of advocacy groups to enable sustainable monitoring of service delivery in the Rwenzori Region districts.
Participants from Hakibaale Sub County. 
The group will be officially launched on Saturday, 28th July, 2012 in Hakibaale Sub County, Kabarole district where all political leaders have been invited and the King of Tooro Kingdom, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukiidi IV will be the chief guest according to Amanyire Kaswata John the founder of the advocacy group.
According to Kasweta, the objectives of the advocacy group include among others; bridging the gap between local people and their political leaders, assisting local leaders in monitoring service delivery, fighting corruption, promoting unity and cooperation between local leaders and the local population, improve the delivery of government services and to give a voice to the voiceless.
While appearing on the ‘Listeners Forum’ talkshow, on Sunday, 22nd July, 2012, members of the advocacy group Muhereza Mugara Patrick who is also a parish councilor for Hakibaale and Kasweta highlighted a number of issues affecting development of their sub county.
They appealed to the local leaders to lobby Rural Electrification Agency to extend electricity to Kabenda trading center in Hakibaale Sub County to enable the reduction of unemployment levels especially among the youth through the starting up agro-processing industries and other small scale businesses which require electricity like saloons.
The members of the advocacy group also highlighted the poor state of the education sector, water and sanitation sector and road sector and appealed to their leaders to take action through increased budget allocations to those sectors and improved monitoring to avoid shody work by technocrats.
ToroDev staff, Akugizibwe Solomon while appearing on the same talkshow promised to build the capacities of members of service delivery advocacy groups through training in ICT skills, monitoring and evaluation, skills in monitoring service delivery, skills in information access and sharing and documentation among others.
ToroDev is a public accountability NGO operating in the Rwenzori Region districts of Western Uganda. ToroDev sponsors the ‘Listeners Forum’ radio program on Better FM which focuses on discussing issues of public accountability for improved service delivery. The radio talkshows which mainly targets the marginalized population groups of rural women and youth broadcasts every Sunday for 2 hours (08:00 – 10:00pm).

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Security chiefs meet Better FM radio manager over the ‘listener’s forum’ program.

Security chiefs from the Internal Security Organization (ISO) held a meeting on Monday, 16th July, 2012 (Monday) with the Better FM radio manager Nyakahuma Patrick over the ‘Listeners Forum’ radio talk show held on Sunday, 15th July, 2012.

According to Nyakahuma, the security chiefs wanted a recording of the talkshow to enable them review it because they viewed it as 'controversial.' ToroDev Executive Director, Johnstone Baguma described the meeting as a form of intimidation by Uganda security agents over the years to repress civil society organizations involved in empowering communities take charge of their own destiny through demanding accountability from their leaders.

Participants from Kisomoro on the show.
Nyakahuma indicated that the talkshow was within the limits of the law but the threats by the security chiefs should be taken seriously. He appealed to panelists to always tactfully present their issues without directly attacking political leaders to avoid such security interrogation’s which might eventually result in closure of the FM radio station and continued arrests and intimidation of civil society activists.  

In 2009, four FM radio stations in Uganda were closed including the Buganda Kingdom radio called CBS FM which were accused of broadcasting issues which were promoting insecurity during the Buganda riots when the government denied the Buganda King to tour one of his County of Bugerere.

An inside source in the meeting told ToroDev that the Uganda leadership is tightening the grip on FM radio stations across the country following the increasing unrest over corruption, bad service delivery, high inflation, high unemployment rates and recent loses in parliamentary by-elections by the ruling NRM party. FM radios are the most popular media channel for information access and sharing especially by the rural populace since they are cheap and convenient to their lifestyles.

The radio program which was moderated by ‘Listeners Forum’ Mukonyenzi Wilfred was discussing, “Service delivery in Kabarole district; A case of Kisomoro Sub-County.” The talkshow included panelists from Kisomoro Sub- County namely; Kiiza Clovis Pantaleo, Yoweri Besisa and Muganzi Richard and Magezi Anthony from Karambi Sub-County in Kabarole District.

The panelists highlighted issues of poor infrastructure especially the Isekahora Bridge in Kisomoro Sub-County which broke down a few months after being worked on due to shoddy work as a result of corruption.

They also reminded political leaders to fulfill their promises they made during the campaigns to help improve the livelihoods of the people in the sub county. The panelists also highlighted issues of poor health services, poor road network and limited support to the agricultural sector resulting in the high unemployment rates in the Sub-County of Kisomoro.

The ‘listeners Forum’ radio program which aims at discussing issues of public accountability for improved service delivery is held every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm) on Better FM Fort Portal; the radio talkshow is sponsored by Toro Development Network (ToroDev) a local public accountability NGO operating in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda.

Documented by Solomon Akugizibwe

Thursday 5 July 2012

Advocacy group formed to monitor the delivery of government services

Youth in Mugusu Sub-County, Kabarole district have formed a advocacy group called Mugusu United for Better Services Forum to monitor the delivery of government services especially roads, schools, water and health services which are in dire state.

The advocacy group was started in March, 2012 following the participation of one of the founding members Senyonjo Mukwano on the “listener’s forum” live talkshow on Better FM, Fort Portal. The “Listeners Forum” live talkshow which discusses issues of public accountability for improved service delivery is supported by Toro Development Network (ToroDev) in partnership with Better FM. The talkshow which started airing in January, 2012 is broadcasted every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm) for a whole year.

Members of Mugusu Pressure Group on Listeners Forum
While appearing on the live talkshow on 1st July, 2012, to discuss the topic titled, “Monitoring Service Delivery by Concerned Citizens in Rwenzori Region; A case of Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District,” the interim chairperson of the group Mr. Senyonjo Mukwano indicated that the objectives of the group is to empower the local community for development through improved public information access and sharing and also ensuring consultative leadership for improved accountability.

According to Mukwano, the advocacy group has already held consultative meetings with the Sub County and District Chairpersons, Kabarole district Woman Member of Parliament and the County Member of Parliament.

Mukwano appealed to the local leaders to lobby for more roads, clean water, improved health services and improved schools to help improve the livelihoods of the people.

The advocacy group will continue to hold more consultative meetings with the local leaders to demand for accountability and also monitor government services implemented by the local governments in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.

ToroDev staff, Solomon Akugizibwe appealed to local communities in the Rwenzori Region districts to replicate such initiatives in the local communities to ensure improved service delivery through improved monitoring.