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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Uganda Local Government

This Blog entry was written by Doris Kahuura an undergraduate student lawyer and daughter of our friend Victoria who is Director of Education in Kabarole (Fort Portal)

 Currently Uganda has 111 districts with a couple of districts that have been tabled as new ones.
The local government operates under the principle of decentralization. This means that the central government passes on some of its powers to the local government. Some of the powers passed on to the local government include catering for education in the various districts, health services, planning of the towns, sanitation and so on. This passing on of powers is meant to enhance good governance and the principles of democracy. However this well intended law is yet again overlooked and misused as many laws in Uganda have been.

The local government has the power to make local laws (byelaws) and to enforce their implementation. This includes the making of local policy and regulating the delivery of services. Such services include education, sanitation and security. However these laws must be consistent with the constitution and any other laws that have been passed by parliament. So a bye-law proposed by the district or any other level of the local government cannot be passed if it fails this test. This legislative power is orderly. It must be forwarded to the minister and later certified incase of  inconsistencies. The minister with advice of the Attorney General is to return the ordinance within 90 days with his comments. A similar process is undertaken at the lower local governments.

Andrew with the elected leader at Kagoma 2004

Local government also has the authority to formulate development plans based on locally determined priorities. The administrative unit councils serve as the political units to advise on the planning and implementation of services. For instance it oversees the construction of roads and all other developments made have to go through the local government for approval.
The local governments also assist in the resolution of disputes, monitoring and the delivery of services and assist in the maintenance of law and order and security.
Finally it has the power to receive, raise, manage and allocate revenue through the approval and execution of its own budgets. Under the Constitution and the Local Government Act the local government is to have a local government finance commission which is to consist of seven members appointed by the president. Their duty is to advise the president on all matters concerning the distribution of revenue between the government (central government) and the local governments, consider and recommend to the president the potential sources of revenue, advise the local governments on the appropriate tax levels to be levied and perform other functions as the parliament may prescribe.

Written by Kahuura Doris Rusoke

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