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Issue 08 | August 2023
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Welcome to the 8th issue of the Local Governance Briefer, a platform where we delve into critical themes shaping the landscape of local governance in Uganda. In this edition, we cast our spotlight on a topic of paramount importance – "Enhancing Accountability at the Local Government Level in Uganda."

Accountability lies at the heart of effective governance, fostering transparency, citizen trust, and the responsible utilization of resources. This issue serves as a clarion call for reinforcing accountability mechanisms within Uganda's local government framework, exploring multidimensional perspectives and practices that contribute to building stronger, more resilient communities.

Our articles traverse diverse dimensions of accountability, shedding light on essential areas of concern. We delve into the intricate tapestry of citizen engagement and accountability, where the dynamic interplay between local authorities and the communities they serve shapes the very foundation of democratic governance. As we navigate through the pages, we examine the intricacies of political accountability, unravelling the ties between elected representatives and their constituents, thus ensuring that public officials remain steadfastly attuned to the needs of their communities.

A cornerstone of this issue is the exploration of downward, vertical, and horizontal accountability practices in local governments. We explore the mechanisms that facilitate oversight from various directions – from higher tiers of governance to the grassroots level and across departments, fostering a robust ecosystem of checks and balances that safeguards the public interest.

Crucially, one of our articles shines a spotlight on a pressing concern – accountability for essential medicines and health supplies at the local government level. Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right, and we delve into the vital role local governments play in ensuring that essential medicines and health supplies reach those in need, efficiently and equitably. We aim to spark a conversation that not only raises awareness about the importance of accountability but also fosters actionable solutions. The 8th issue invites readers to embark on a journey of discovery, as we unravel the complex tapestry of accountability practices within Uganda's local governance sphere.

Together, let us forge a path towards enhanced accountability, stronger communities, and a brighter future for local governance in Uganda. In case you missed Issue no.07, please click here.


Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director.

In this Issue

Addressing accountability deficits in the management of essential medicines and health supplies (EMHS) in the district local governments in Uganda

By Moses Mukundane, Senior Research Fellow, ACODE

In 1992 when Uganda adopted decentralization, among the devolved powers was the management of services delivery, health services inclusive. Relatedly, the Government of Uganda (GoU) established the National Medical Stores (NMS) under the National Medical Stores Act (1993) as an agency under the Ministry of Health responsible for procuring, warehousing, and distributing medicines and health supplies to public health facilities in the country. Subsequently, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) established vote number 116 in the national budget under Ministry of Health through which NMS receives GoU funds to procure, warehouse, and distribute medicines and health supplies to the public health facilities. Joint Medical Store (JMS) is a sister agency to NMS; it procures, warehouses, and distributes medicines and health supplies to private-not-for profit (mainly faith-based) health facilities in the country. This article examines the accountability deficits in the management of essential medicines and health supplies (EMHS) in district local governments of Uganda and how these can be addressed.

Functionality of Local Government Accountability Mechanisms and Structures in Uganda

Rebecca By Walter Akena, Research Officer, ACODE

The overarching goal of Uganda's decentralisation policy has been to promote accountability, openness, and efficiency in government and service delivery . Nonetheless, three decades later, the quality of public service is less than acceptable, and local leaders' ability to remain accountable has been called into question. The appalling degree of accountability for public resources at sub national levels throws into question the efficacy of systems and structures charged with enforcing accountability at that level. This article clarifies how the structures and accountability mechanisms at the local government levels work, with a focus on the citizens' agency, council, and statutory bodies in particular. It also offers policy recommendations to strengthen these structures and improve accountability and transparency in local governments.

Citizen engagement: a prerequisite for fostering accountability in local governments

By Rebecca Nalwoga-Mukwaya, Research Officer, ACODE

Engagement of citizens in governance of their affairs is one of the ways of enhancing accountability. The aspect of accountability is premised on the second objective of decentralization in Uganda. ‘To bring political and administrative control over services to a point where they are actually delivered, thereby improving accountability and effectiveness, promoting people’s feeling of ownership of programmes and projects executed in their districts. In essence, the local government system ought to enable a more inclusive, participatory and responsive system of government. This article examines the key aspects of citizen engagement in accountability; and what can be done to foster accountability in the public sector.

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