Thursday 28 September 2017

ToroDev Held Three (3) Rural Radio Magazines in Kakabara Sub county Kyegegwa District to give a chance to women and youths from hard to reach area to hear their say on the status of service delivery in health, education and entrepreneurship development.

Rural magazine/debate concept was birthed after realizing a smaller number of women were participating in live radio talkshows and their issues were not presented to their duty bearers.The limited number of women and youth from hard to reach areas forced ToroDev to come up with a convenient way of reaching out to them and have their voices recorded. 

On 27th/9/ 2017 ToroDev team moved to three villages located in Kakabara sub county in Kyegegwa District to mainly capture issues from rural women, youths and Duty bearers from hard to reach areas of Mwibaale, Mukuba villages and Kakabara  trading center in kakabara sub county Kyegegwa district.
Participants of the Rural Radio Magazine/debate at Mukuba in a group photo
“The focus areas are mainly very remote areas with poor essential service delivery.Participants selected were mainly 40% rural women 40% youth and 20% technical leaders (head teachers of government schools, in-charge of health centers, OCs of police stations, & local leaders are also involved in the debate”. Said Amanya Sheila ToroDev during the rural radio debate in Mwibale Parish Kakabara Sub County. 
Sheila added key issues collected from the three debates will be presented to the duty bearers from Kyegegwa District to take action,the recorded voices will be amplified live on Jubilee and duty bearers invited to give their comments on what was amplified. Documentation will be done on listener’s forum face book page, ToroDev facebook page, website and blog to create more awareness and to attract leader’s attention. Furthermore key leaders from Kyegegwa will receive copies on their emails.
Issues captured will be amplified live on Jubilee radio on 22nd/29th October & 5th November 2017 during the ‘Listeners Forum’ program that is aired live every Sunday starting from 8:00-10:00pm for the duty bearers’ intervention.
A woman giving out her views to program moderator during the Rural Radio Magazine/Debate field exercise
During the 3 rural radio debates/ magazines 98 women and 40 youths from hard to reach areas showed their outcry over the poor service delivery in health centers, education, roads sectors and entrepreneurship development and asked for support from their leaders. 

Detailed articles will be published immediately after the voices are amplified live on radio talkshow and listener’s comments will be included.

The rural radio debates/magazines are supported by NED, ICT4Dem and SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve the participation of marginalized population groups of rural youths and women in governance issues in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Members of parliament need to consider electorates views before amending Article 102(b) of the constitution.

ToroDev through her weekly ‘Orukurato’ talk show that is aired live every Saturday 8pm-10pm on Hits Fm on 23rd September, 2017 hosted Hon. Enock Byakagaba, a division councilor in Fort portal municipality, Mr. Baguma Patrick the Fort Portal municipality FDC vice chairperson and Hon.Herbert Mugisa chairperson LCIII South division who discussed the on-going debate in Uganda’s parliament where Article 102 (b) of the constitution that talks about age limit is in the processes of being amended.

The three shared with listeners their opinions especially on what they thought to be done before any amendment of the constitution.‘’I think as Ugandans especially our members of parliament have a lot to discuss at this time especially issues that impart directly to service delivery sectors like education, health, economic development, infrastructure, etc other than the age limit debate which seem to be focusing on making the current president as an individual eligible for another term of service than a country’s development, we need to build our country to truth, justice and reconciliation if we are to have successful democratic engagements as a country’’, said Patrick Baguma.

‘’We appreciate what the president has done for the country in the last 30 years towards improving and developing our country.  The idea of amending article 102(b) of the constitution will take the country back in conflicts and will guarantee life presidency and its unfortunate that our members of parliament and the leaders we elect to represent us are the ones proposing the idea of amending our constitution without consulting citizens. Article 102 (b) states that a person is not qualified for election as president of Uganda if he or she is “less than thirty-five years (35) and or more than seventy-five (75) years of age which disqualifies President Museveni, what is happening now in the country is aimed at benefiting an individual to rule the country until he decides to retire’’, said Hon Enock Byakagaba.

‘’I urge our leaders not to rush amending the constitution but focus on other service delivery issues that benefit the common man and if they are to amend the article, they should  consult citizens and hear their views/opinions on the matter because even the constitution provides for a referendum in case of such disagreements’’,said Herbert Mugisa chairperson LCIII South division. 

During the 2 hours live discussion over 30 listeners participated by calling in to share their views on the matter,” Why is it  that the  president has failed to come out and say something on age limit amendment bill so that the country can know  who is behind it”, asked Patrick from Kasenda Kabarole district, ‘’why is it that our MPs  are concentrating a lot on age limit bill not on under-performing sectors in the country like education, health, among others, asked Badru from Rubona Kabarole district, ‘’Members of parliament will be blamed if article 102(b) in the constitution will be amended and most likely they will pay for their actions when they come back to ask for votes from  electorates in 2021’’, Said Waswa from Kasunga Nyanja in Bunyangabu district. 

We take a great opportunity to thank SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & all our development partners for financial support.

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

A year in office, Elected Leaders Yet to Fulfill Pledges

ToroDev under post election agenda program embarked on reaching elected leaders from the Rwenzori region to capture their pledges committed to the electorates for the 2016/2021 term of office, this was during & after campaigns in 2016.

It is now a full year and some months since they made those sounding pledges and now we take a look at how far they have fulfilled what they pledged.

Emmanuel Kajubu is a journalist and an ICT4Democracy in East Africa Media Fellow where ToroDev is a partner organization, during his fellowship work, he engaged the elected leaders in Rwenzori particularly on what they pledged during campaigns & now shares what he found on ground;

During the 2016 elections local leaders in the Rwenzori region set out impressive pledges for the electorate. They promised to improve service delivery in areas of education, health, roads, water and sanitation and among others.

It’s now a year and six months since voters went to the polls to elect their leaders right from LC3 to Members of Parliament.
However an analysis carried out reveals voters are bitter that the leaders are yet to fulfill any of the pledges they made during the campaigns. 

David Agaba is a resident of Hamura village, Kahunge Sub County in Kamwenge. Agaba like any other voter in the area says that their leaders only go back to them to look for votes. Agaba, a farmer says he is tired of voting for leaders who abandon who do not keep their promises once they are elected. 

“We voted the LC3 chairperson, but can you imagine he has never come back to us to find out if there are issues affecting us,” Agaba says. He notes that Peter Hebarera, the LC3 Chairperson promised to lobby for the construction of feeder roads in the sub county.
Agaba says that maize and rice farmers are facing difficulties to access markers for their produce due to the bad roads. 

“The feeder roads here are very bad and yet there are many farmers here. Some of our produce is getting spoilt,” Agaba says.
 Beatrice Atwine, another resident of Hamura says that the area is faced with lack for access to clean and safe water. She says that the district chairperson promised to address the challenge, but he has kept his promise. 

“Most people in the sub county do not have easy access to clean water sources and health services. The leadership of the district is aware, but they are quiet,” Kwesiga says.
Charles Aguma, an opinion leader in Kamwenge district says that they plan to form a pressure group to demand for accountability from their elected leaders. Aguma says those who are out of touch with the voters and are not working for the development of the electorate, risk not to be re-elected in the next elections.

However, Hebarera says that since being elected he has so far done much good for the sub-county. He cites the renovation of Rukunyu Health Centre II which he lobbied for and the completion of Rukunyu Primary School.
“As a leader, you can’t please everyone, but I have at least done something for my people since I was elected. There are still four years to come,” the chairperson said.

Aggrey Natumanya, the Kamwenge District Chairperson attributes this to low revenue collected by the district. He explains that because of the low revenue, it has affected service delivery in the district.
“We have a challenge of revenue. The money we receive from the Finance Ministry is inadequate to provide service to our people,”

He however says that in this financial year, the district will focus on improving local revenue collection by introducing and assets register to enable them collect local revenue adequately.

In Kabarole, the District Woman Member of Parliament, Sylvia Rwabwogo, pledged to build a strong foundation for the girl child education by establishing Kaayana Ka Tooro Education Fund.
Asked on the progress of the fund, Rwabwogo says that she is still lobbying for financial support from well-wishers to kick start the foundation. She however says that she has carried out awareness campaigns and meeting with parents on the need for educating girls. 

“The education fund is a long term venture which requires funding and I am hopeful it will start any time. During consultative meetings, I spare time to sensitize the parents to educate their children especially girls,” Rwabwogo says.
However some leaders have managed to fulfill one or two pledges they promised to voters.

In Rwimi Sub County, Bunyangabu district, schools have registered an increase in the number of pupils. This is being attributed to the promise made by Abel Ngomayondi, the Mayor Rwimi Town Council.

During the campaigns, he promised to arrest parents who do not take their children to school.
At Rwimi Primary School, this person the head teacher says that in the past, parents were engaging their children in domestic work. He now says that enrollment has increased from 600 pupils to 1,250. 

“We thank the Mayor for his efforts to improve education in Rwimi, abseentessim is no more and the parents now know the importance of education,” the headmaster says.
Ngomayondi says that since August last year, more than 30 parents have been arrested and it has been a lesson to other parents who are denying their education the right to education. 

In Ntoroko districts, schools in Rwebisengo town council are now properly managed through the formation of the School Management Committees.  The committees which are provided for in the Education Act 2008act as educational policy-making bodies for the schools and work together with head teachers to provide services that ensure quality teaching and learning. 
Hussein Ahmed, the Mayor Rwebisengo town council says that his first task in office was to help revive the committees which had become inactive. 

“The committees are important in management of schools. Without them, head teachers and parents will face challenges,” Ahmed says.  

We thank all our development partners for the financial & technical support.