Monday, 30 September 2013

Local councilors of Kabarole District give accountability on HITS FM.

The local Councilors of Kabarole District appeared on HITS FM on 28th September 2013 to give accountability to the local people, explain their roles, achievements and challenges in delivering services.  This was during the Orukurato Program on HITS FM. The local councilors included Hon. Mashuhuko, a councilor of Karambi Sub County and Hon.  Kyaligonza John, a councilor of Kabonero Sub County, all in Kabarole District.

While appearing on the program, Hon Mashuhuko explained the roles of councilors at the District level. “Councilors elect the vice Chairperson and the executive, elect the speaker, the deputy speaker and the five (5) working committees of the council. Councilors also forward people’s issues to the district and follow them up, have an over sight role on the funds released by the government to the district and monitoring them for their appropriate usage, participating in meetings at the district, sub county, parish level, among others”.

Hon Rwabuhinga Richard, Chairman LC IV Kabarole District addresses education issues at Nyansozi P. S in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.
Hon. Mashuhuko also went ahead to discuss some of the achievements that he had acquired for his sub county ever since he started his term of office. “I have managed to monitor technical staff in Karambi Sub County. At Karambi Health Center III, some staffs were chased away and others transferred due to poor conduct and absenteeism and new ones were recruited. I have also worked with the District Police Commander (DPC) to form village security committees and restructuring home guards and as I talk, security is no longer a threat in Karambi Sub County”.

Meanwhile, Hon Kyaligonza also discussed the achievements that he had brought to Kabonero Sub County ever since he started his term of office. “I lobbied for the up grading of Kabonero HC II to Health Center III and new staffs were also recruited and we are now trying to lobby for a maternity ward. Kagunda Primary School also had no desks and I raised the issue to the district and thirty five (35) desks were supplied to the school. Kinyampanika Primary School had no water and pupils were using river water, I lobbied for safe water and a bore hole was constructed there”.

However, the councilors also went ahead to state some of the challenges that they face in bringing better services to their people. “Funds allocated to our sub counties are not enough to tackle the issue of poor services in our Sub Counties. There is also a challenge of poor implementation of government projects in our sub counties”, said Hon Mashuhuko, councilor of Karambi Sub County in Kabarole District.

Local listeners who participated in the live radio discussion through call ins were able to raise their issues and concerns. “Our councilors do not appear in our community meetings and have never given us accountability”, said Jorum of Bukuuku Sub County, Kabarole District. “Busanga River is disrupting our movements with floods”, said  Kasaija from Kyezire parish, Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.   “Kaliija Charles is our councilor and we thank him for picking our issues and giving us accountability”, said Patrick from Harugongo Sub County, Kabarole District.  “Security is threatening in our sub county, our cows and goats are being stolen and thieves have people whom they are coordinating with in our area”, said Muhammad from Butangwa Sub County.  

Accountability programs improve service delivery in the Rwenzori Region

ToroDev initiated the on-job mentorship training for rural FM journalists/presenters in the Rwenzori region because radio remains the most accessible and cost effective traditional ICT tool in Uganda to mobilize the citizenry, engage their leaders for improved service delivery through virtual platforms in form of talk shows. Radio programs/discussions provide better ways to involve leaders for accountability and to demand for better service delivery from their local leaders.

 Mentors from Voice of Kamwenge lobbied for three (3) accountability programs that have enabled leaders to give accountability to the local people. “We lobbied for three (3) accountability programs known as Senjero, Farmers Forum and Parliament. During these programs, we host different leaders from the district and also members of parliament who are able to give accountability to the community, we also allow the local listeners to participate in the radio talk shows through call ins and using the SMS plat form”, said Ngabirano Gerevaziyo, a mentor at Voice of Kamwenge in Kamwenge District.

ToroDev's Recheal meets Muhumuza Godwin, a mentor at Voice of Kamwenge
Meanwhile, mentors in Kyenjojo District have also lobbied for accountability programs that have caused an impact especially in the Road Sector. “We used our skills to monitor the services that are delivered in our sub county by airing out issues on radio and asking the concerned leaders to intervene. Kyenjojo – Katooke – Kagadi Road was in a poor state and impassable during the rainy season, we discussed the issue on radio in the month of August and in September, the road was constructed”, said Ayesiga Deo of Kyenjojo FM in Kyenjojo District.

Mentors of Guide radio in Kasese District also opened up a plat form known as Rwenzururu Discussion Board on which the local community posts issues of service delivery in their different sub counties which are later aired out during the accountability programs.  “We used our skills to open up a plat form known as Rwenzururu Discussion Board that allows the community to post issues concerning their sub counties. Such issues are followed up and later aired on radio”, said Thembo Kahunge, a radio mentor at Guide Radio in Kasese District. 

Guide Radio's Thembo Kahunge shows ToroDev's Recheal Kogere the accountability issues posted by the community on the Rwenzururu Discussion Board.

Accountability programs on radio stations have brought local people on board to discuss service delivery and accountability issues in Kabarole District. “We lobbied for accountability programs like the Listeners Forum, Omunyayuganda  and  Akakekeyo programs. Great impact has been seen as a result of bringing people on board to discuss their service delivery issues during these programs. Kiguma Gravity Scheme in Butiiti Sub County Kyenjojo District has been worked on, two tanks have been delivered and toilets built at Rubango Primary School in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District, among other impacts”, said Mukonyezi  Wlifred, a journalist at Better FM.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Accountability programs on FM local Radios help local citizens get accountability from their local leaders in Bundibugyo District.

The local citizens of Bundibugyo District have been able to demand for accountability and better service delivery from their local leaders through the use of accountability programs on FM local radios. The accountability programs focus on social accountability of the local leaders in the different sectors like NAADS, education, roads, health, administration, among others. 

Voice of Bundibugyo's Howard Tumwine shows the Facebook page of Ekimeza Program where the local people post their accountability and service delivery issues which are later aired on radio during the accountability programs.
“We introduced the Ekimeza program that runs every Sunday from 3:00 – 5:00pm. During the program, we invite different political and local leaders to come and give accountability. We also allow the local listeners to participate in the radio discussions through call INS and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. On Thursday 17th, September 2013, we hosted the District LC V Bundibugyo District during the Ekimeza program who gave accountability to the local people. We are also going to host the District Health Officers on Sunday 29th September 2013 to discuss the issue of inadequate medicine in the health centers of Nyahuka HC IV and Bukwanga HC III. ”, said Tumwine Howard, a mentor at Voice of Bundibugyo in Bundibugyo District.

ToroDev's Recheal Kogere meets mentors of Development Radio, Bundibugyo District.
 The accountability programs have also created awareness among the community. “Our accountability programs like Semuliki Sun Rise Program have created awareness among the community. On Monday 23rd September 2013, we hosted members of the district school management committee to give accountability about the Universal Primary Education Program in the district. The committee members blamed head teachers for not releasing the amount of funds that are released from the local government and not putting the details of the funds on the notice boards in their various schools to show how these funds are allocated/used. Members of the committee promised to follow up the issue to see that proper management of funds is done in government aided schools”, said Katsirombi Edson , a mentor from Development Radio in Bundibugyo District.  

However, the radio mentors/journalists are facing some challenges in involving political and local leaders in giving accountability on radio. "Some leaders do not respond positively when called upon to give accountability to the local community on radio. We also lack enough computers in our radio stations to use and share on line accountability issues that are discussed in our accountability programs ", said Tumwine Howard, a mentor at Voice of Bundibugyo in Bundibugyo District.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Corruption in the administration affects service delivery in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

Mr. Muzora Godwin, Chairman of Katooke Advocacy Forum in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District held a live radio discussion on Better FM on 22nd September 2013 highlighting the high rate of corruption among the local leaders of Katooke Sub County that is affecting service delivery. The live radio program called the ‘Listener’s Forum’ that is supported by ToroDev discusses issues of accountability and is held every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm) and moderated by Mukonyezi Wilfred.

While appearing in the live radio talk show, Mr. Muzora indicated some of the services that had improved due to the activities of advocacy. “Offices of the administrators at the sub county are always open during working hours and no longer closed as it used to be, 2 (two) tanks have been delivered and toilets built at Rubango Primary School, teachers are also active and no longer absent at Rubango Primary School”.

Primary five block of Rubango Primary School that was constructed by parents

During the discussion, Mr. Muzora also raised the issue of corruption in the sub county. “There is a gravity scheme that was constructed from Nyakisi Hill through Iboroga to Katooke Town Council. This project brings a monthly income of 600,000 (six hundred thousand)  – 800,000 (eight hundred thousand) Ug shillings to the sub county. However, leaders have misused this money for their own mutual benefits instead of developing the sub county. Leaders of the water board committee and the Sub County chief made a requisition of 280 million to extend water to Kazaza Sub County but all has been in vain”.

Mr. Muzora further highlighted the ‘T section tools’ for bridge construction that were swindled by the leaders. “Hon Butime, the former Member of Parliament for Mwenge North brought ‘T section tools’ that were around 20 – 30 feet for construction of bridges in Katooke Sub County. Unfortunately, these metals were taken by some corrupt leaders to serve their own mutual purposes”.

Mr. Muzora indicated the sorry state of some schools in the sub county. “Rukizi Primary School has a toilet that was dug 10 (ten) years ago and has never been complete. There are only six teachers with a population of over 352 pupils. The school has no safe water and pupils use dirty water from a nearby well. There are no staff quarters at the school and teachers travel long distances from Rwamukoora Trading Center”.

Meanwhile, local listeners were also able to use the on line plat form to call in and share their accountability issues. “The Government promised to work on our roads and also provide water in our sub county but nothing has been done”, said Musinguzi Justus, from Kabonero Sub County, Kabarole District. “Our roads are very poor and impassable during the rainy season”, said Mugisa Patrick from Butungama in Ntoroko District. “Leaders do not give information to the people”, said Latiff from Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District. “We are sharing our water source with animals. When I approached our local local leaders about the issue, they threatened me”, said Kyalisiima from Kinogero Sub County, Kyenjojo Sub County.  

Monday, 23 September 2013

Minister for Local Government appeals to teachers to resume work

The minister for local government and Member of Parliament for Bunyangabu County, Kabarole District Hon. Adolf Mwesige has appealed to teachers to resume work. This was during the Orukurato Program on HITS FM, on Saturday 21st September 2013. “I appeal to all teachers who are on strike to resume work and be patient as the government intervenes their issues. The government has set up a cabinet of six (6) ministers who are following up teachers’ issues and setting resolutions for them”. 

The Minister went ahead to discuss the cause of the strike. “The teachers’ strike started as early as July 2001 when teachers were seeking for 8(eight) grievances from the government. These included salary increment, Removal of taxes from teachers’ salary, eliminating teachers from Pay As You Earn tax, organizing of salary review board, special allowance to science teachers, special allowance to teachers in hard to reach areas, funds be passed to schools directly and  forming a scheme of  promoting teachers”.

Hon Adolf Mwesige, Minister of Local Governments

During the live radio discussion, Hon Adolf also explained how the government had gone ahead to make resolutions to some of the teachers grievances. “We made a 15% raise to the teacher’s salary in 2003, 30% salary raise to teachers in hard to reach areas, 30% salary raise to science teachers, scheme of promoting teachers was set and 4000 teachers were promoted last year to different levels and funds go directly to schools from the accounts office.   However, we decided that teachers have to pay taxes as any other citizens of this country do and so their tax issue was not heard by the government”.

The Minister emphasized how money in the budget was not enough to cover the 20% salary increment that is being demanded by teachers as promised by the government this year. “142(One hundred and forty two) billion shillings is needed to give teachers a 20% salary increment. However, this money is not available in the budget because the government chose to invest in other priorities like road construction and industrialization so that more revenue is generated to cover up salary increment. The government cannot borrow money for consumption in form of increasing teachers’ salary but instead invests it through constructing roads and rural electrification so as to generate more revenue”.  

Local citizens who participated in the live radio discussion through call ins were able to raise their issues and concerns about the ongoing teachers’ strike. “We are worried about the delay of our pupils resuming school at a time when they are almost sitting in for their final exams”, said Pascal from Kabirizi Sub County, Kyenjojo District. “The current teachers on strike do not mind much about teaching our children yet parents contribute some money to their salary. Government should recruit new teachers”, said Apollo from Kyenjojo District. “The government shouldn’t have promised teachers a salary increment if it was not sure about the budget”, said Yakubu from Busiita Parish, Bunyangabu County, Kabarole District.

Meanwhile, Hon MP appealed to teachers to be patient and resume work as government intervenes their issue by setting up a salary review board. He also added that politicians should not use the ongoing teachers strike as an opportunity to sell their views against the government.