Good Governance Project Taught Us How to Give Accountability – Tooro Leaders
Leaders in Tooro Sub-region are appreciating the Good Governance project, saying it has transformed them into good leaders who can now give accountability to their electorates.
Alex Dominic, the Butunduzi Sub County LC III chairperson in Kyenjojo district, is one of those leaders who are enjoying the fruits of the Good Governance – one of the projects under the Justice and Peace Programme of Caritas Fort Portal- HEWASA.
Alex says that in 2016 when the project was started in his Sub County, they had numerous challenges including lack of knowledge on how to conduct council sessions and give transparent accountabilities.
He adds that chairpersons of villages in his Sub County would frequently go to him for advice on a number of issues but he could not help them because he also lacked the knowledge.
“So, when the Good Governance Project came, they started holding meetings with all of us, teaching us how to read the constitution and interpret it. LC I chairpersons no longer come to me for advice on how to run their villages because they now know what to do,” Alex says.
During the same time, all leaders from LC I to LC III in Butunduzi Sub County, were given free Constitutions of the Republic of Uganda and the Local Government Act among other instruments to help them go about their leadership roles.
In fact, because of the training, Alex says he was able to win the Nation Resistance Movement – NRM party primaries for the Butunduzi Sub County LC III race. He is now the NRM flag bearer for the same political office after he beat his opponent in a landslide victory in the September 2020 elections.
“People saw that I had become a very good leader who can give accountability of how we have used the money we got and they even see the things on ground. I really appreciate the Good Governance project. It has made me what I am today,” Alex says.
Moses Kangwaje is the Rwimi Sub County LC III chairperson. He says that, like Alex, their council also faced with a number of leadership challenges especially on how to give accountability.
Kangwaje recalls that before the project in 2015, he would face sharp criticism from the electorates who would accuse him of misusing revenue.
“To me, I think they were right. I did not know how to make accountability. Truth is that I would not misuse the money but because I could fail to make accountability, people would think I have ‘eaten’ it. But now I’m so good at accounting for all the money that we receive,” he says.
After the training, Kangwaje notes that they also learnt how to give feedback to the electorates on issues of public interest, adding that this has helped him and his council to lead organized and informed people with no clashes.
The story of Alex and Kangwaje is shared with over 800 other leaders in Fort Portal Catholic Diocese who have since benefited in similar ways from the Good Governance project
The Good Governance project has been operational for more than 10 years. It is part of the Justice and Peace Commission Programme mandated from the Second Vatican Council to address societal challenges resulting from conflicts, inequalities, injustices and abuse.
The work of the Justice and Peace commission is inspired by the gospel and the Social Teaching of the Church. It is aimed at promoting Justice, peace, reconciliation and love within the socio – economic, political, cultural and environmental spheres of life. In Fort Portal Diocese, the Justice and Peace office started in 1991.
The Good Governance Project is particularly aimed at promoting and facilitating dialogue as a tool to resolve conflicts among members of the diocese, promote accountable leaders among the men and women of Fort Portal diocese and to empower women and children on their rights and responsibilities
It has been implemented in the districts of Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Bunyangabu and Kyegegwa with a number of achievements including improvement in giving accountability. The Project Coordinator, Julian Yagala, says that 96.6% of the Local council I chairpersons have got at least 7 instruments of compliance and accountability which include minute books, office stamp, attendance lists, household registers, court records, village development plans and budget among others.
“The major challenge is that the achievements are based on the change of mind set. This is a gradual process observed though participants reactions to situations, actions and speech. At times the result of the project may be realized at a later time depending on when the situation calls for it,” Yagala says.
Currently, the project continuing with Civic Education programme on Good Governance, Human Rights and Economic Empowerment in districts of Kamwenge and Kyenjojo for development in the diocese of Fort Portal.
It directly targets 6,850 women, youth, political, opinion, cultural and religious leaders. The leaders are met from time to time tackling different aspects of good governance, elections and entrepreneurship. These leaders are expected to pass on the information to members of the community through meetings and other gatherings as well as the radio. Indirectly the project targets about 68,500 community members.