Evolution of Decentralization in Uganda: Opportunities, Perceptions and Constraints
This chapter examines the historical background of Uganda in order to clarify the context in which decentralization measures are currently implemented. The post-independent history of Uganda since 1962 reveals long-lasting civil strife, decaying state institutions and economic bankruptcy. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) seized power in 1986, it did not want to repeat this painful past (The name of “resistance” reflected their guerrilla struggle and political desire of rejecting instability in their regime). The NRM wished to pursue decentralization to widen popular support by increasing people’s participation in decision making through local governments. This policy was intended to contribute to more effective socio-economic development with the ultimate goal of reducing persistent poverty in the country.1 The NRM’s decentralization efforts, with donor support, have been accelerated since 1993. The Constitution, 1995, and the Local Governments Act, 1997, provide rights and responsibilities for local governments. While these legislations have created opportunities for stakeholders to negotiate mutually agreeable outcomes, turning the opportunities into sustained improvement of local livelihood remains a serious challenge.
KeywordsLocal Government Central Government Focus Group Discussion Civil Servant Movement Polity
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