Decentralisation and urban governance in Uganda

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dc.contributor.author Makara, Sabiti
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-13T10:43:20Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-13T10:43:20Z
dc.date.issued 2010-04-13T10:43:20Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/7971
dc.description.abstract Abstract The study examines the nature and context of the debate on state-society relations, focusing on the socio-economic and political reforms that have taken place in the governance of the public realm in the past three decades. It analyses the process and impact of the new governance reforms undertaken in Uganda since the early 1990s on the performance of state institutions. It focuses on the implementation of the programme of state reform through decentralisation; putting in perspective the ramifications of the claim that decentralisation brings about effective, efficient, participatory and citizen-focused service delivery in the management of public organisations, including urban authorities. Drawing from the peculiar failures of state institutions in post-colonial Uganda, the study critiques the theoretical and empirical premise of devolution by attempting to link the process of institutional recovery to experimentation with the “new governance models” as applied to the management of the urbanisation process. It interrogates the claim that decentralisation reforms bring about demand-driven service delivery, democratic discourse and greater organisational performance. Anchored in the premises of good governance theorem, the study questions the realities of decentralisation in engendering a new official behaviour, taming rigid bureaucratic practices, engineering a new service culture and espousing a dictum of statecivil society engagement. These goals raise the key argument, that is, whether the quest for realisation of organisational change in the implementation of urban governance reforms in Uganda has been facilitated by the conscious readiness of the state to realise tangible public goods such as popular accountability, improved livelihoods of the ordinary people and the increased capacity of the state to build sustainable management systems. Furthermore, the study discusses and questions the capacity of decentralisation to adequately address the myriad of urban governance challenges that include explosion of the urban population, high poverty levels, scarcity of employment, poor service delivery, deterioration in urban infrastructure, low management capacities and a poor management culture, raising complex political questions surrounding the decision making process that seem to have undercut the possibility of a new governance model to effectively take root. This study concludes that although decentralisation has improved relations between government officials and the ordinary people, there are still many challenges in the management of Kampala city. The challenges encountered in urban service delivery include the failure of state institutions to perfom their functions, lack of pro-poor policies, demotivated local government officials and prevalence of corruption. The interventions of civil society in service delivery have helped the ordinary people to survive. However, civil society organisations have their own limits and weaknesses. The attempts by government to reform the public sector generally have yielded some positive attitudes but have also lacked commitment and resources to realise tangible benefits to the ordinary urban dweller. Finally, while decentralisation created strong hopes of better service delivery, tangible results in the case of Kampala city have been minimal. The study suggests that successful decentralisation requires a dynamic pro-people urban policy, increased avenues of popular participation; cultivation of trust, horizontal power relations and strong accountability mechanisms in the public domain. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.title Decentralisation and urban governance in Uganda en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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