Members of the public have attributed the increased poor service delivery by local governments to corruption and embezzlement of public funds by government officials. On Friday, members of the public convened at Parliament during celebrations to mark the Parliamentary Week, under the theme: Championing Accountability through Service Delivery.
Drawn from different parts of the country, they took to the parliamentary chambers and formed a public parliament, where they debated a motion calling on the Government to provide adequate funding to local governments so as to improve service delivery. They noted that even if funds were increased, the thriving corruption in Uganda would sabotage service delivery.
“Even the little resources given to the local governments are not well-utilised. We should empower Ugandans to demand accountability from local governments before funding can be increased,” Vincent Sserinya, who ‘represented’ Bukoto South, said.
The participants castigated local governments that fail to absorb funds allocated to them, and instead return the money to the consolidated fund. They blamed it on poor planning. Before the debate, members of the public, were allowed to elect the ‘speaker’ of the day (Kassim Ssensalo), ‘the leader of government business’ and he ‘leader of opposition’.
The public parliament is an initiative of the 10th Parliament, under the reign of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah. Members of the public are given a chance to discuss and share views on issues affecting them as Ugandans and the country at large. Their views and suggestions are then taken on by the national assembly and passed on to the central government for action.
The third public parliament suggested that the government increases its annual funding towards local governments to at least 30%.