Friday, 29 November 2013

“In Kicwamba Sub County, community roads are better than District and Central Government roads”, Rwaheru Gilbert.

The local citizens of Kicwamba Sub County in Kabarole District appeared on Better FM on 24th November 2013 to discuss their service delivery issues. This was during the ‘Listeners Forum’ a 2hour weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Sunday (08:00-10:00pm) that is sponsored by ToroDev.

“In Kicwamba Sub County, we have three kinds of roads, those that are managed by the community, those under the district and those under the central government. However, roads maintained by the community are better than roads under the district and central government. This is because of the little funds that the central government allocates for road maintenance”, said Rwaheru Gilbert, the Chairperson of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District.

The poor roads in Kicwamba Sub County
During the discussion, Gilbert went ahead to indicted how Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery is being used to lobby for better roads. “Through Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery, a forum that is initiated by the local people, we mobilized leaders to tax companies and vehicles collecting stones from Hurugongo and as we talk, 10 (ten) million shillings has been collected to the sub county account to work on the roads”.

Meanwhile, the live radio discussion was also attended by Mr. Kachope Matsiko, a local citizen from Kicwamba Sub County who discussed how roads are the most important services since they are used to access other services. “Roads are the most important services that should be given first priority because they are used to access other services like water, health centers and schools. However, it is too sad that the money allocated by the government for road maintenance is too little. Kakondwa-Harugongo road, Kinyamangi road and Kihondo roads are all in the budget to be worked on but the allocated funds are too little”.

Local citizens also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins. “Our roads are so poor”, said Roger from Katebwa Sub County, “Wasa bridge is so poor and hindering our movements”, said Allelluah from Ntoroko District, “Rwabaganda road is so poor with a lot of pot holes”, said Musa from Kagorogoro, “The demonstration has helped because most leaders have been dormant”, said Elizabeth from Harugongo, “Our Members of Parliament are too dormant and have never come back on ground to pick our issues” said Swaibu.

The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Alituha Patrick.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

“Analyzing the role of leaders and government in promoting Tourism through appropriate laws and policies for improved livelihoods of the ordinary citizens through tourism.”

On 23rd November 2013, panelists appeared on HITS FM to discuss the role of leaders in promoting tourism for improved livelihoods of the ordinary citizens. This was during the ‘Orukurato Program’ a 2hour weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00pm) that is sponsored by ToroDev. 

“Tourism means the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest like natural resources such as wild life, land scape, among others. Tourism is so important because it brings a lot of foreign exchange in the country”, said Benjamin Kennedy, an expert in tourism.

Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Tourism

Mr. Benjamin further went ahead to indicate some of the challenges that hinder the development of Uganda's tourism sector. “The local people do not provide market for tourism because they think that it’s for the rich and so choose to spend their leisure time in bars, clubs and sports. The local people are also destroying tourist attractions through killing wild life like rhinos and elephants for ivory and destroying forests. Government is not investing enough in tourism and that’s why many roads leading to tourism sites are poor”. 

Hon Mugisa Herbert, Chairperson LC III, South Division Fort Portal Municipality Kabarole District also participated in the live radio discussion by indicating the poor government policies. “Policies made by the government are not implemented effectively. Some of the passed policies have failed completely such as the burning of the polythene bags (buveera) and stopping smoking in public.  The government should develop tourist sites, conserve land with tourist attractions instead of giving it to foreign investors so as to match with the competing world”. 

Local people also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “We have a beach and tourists like touring the place, but Rwatera road that leads to the tourist site is so poor”, said Kasasira from Kasenda Sub County in Kabarole District, “There are many crater lakes in my area but the local people whose land they occupy claim their ownership. Are crater lakes for the government or for the local people?”, said Mwesige from Kasunganyanja in Kabarole District, “Both political and local leaders should embrace tourism so as to bring in more foreighn exchange”, said Edward.

The 2hr (two hour) live radio discussion was moderated by Kasigazi Willy Donanto. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Radio remains the most accessible and cost effective traditional ICT tool in Uganda to mobilize the citizenry, engage leaders for improved service delivery through virtual platforms in form of talk shows.

Radio programs/discussions have provided better ways to involve leaders for accountability and to engage local citizens to demand for better service delivery from their local leaders.

In Kabarole District, broadcasting issues related to accountability has increased on every radio station. Most of the accountability programs are moderated by a trained radio mentor trained by ToroDev. “On Voice of Toro, Kabarole district, there are two Programs that handle issues related to accountability (Bukire program and Manya Abebembezi bawe). Leaders have been on Air and recorded voices of grass root people have also been aired live on air. Open discussions are always emphasized during these programs which has created a great platform for leaders and grass root people to discuss issues’’. Said Tusiime Francis, a mentor at Voice of Toro, Kabarole district.
Rwenzori radio journalists during a training with ToroDev
Radio mentors have also improved skills of rural FM radio journalists and radio proprietors through trainings and sharing the experience in broadcasting public accountability programs. “The experience we have has made it easier for us to approach the managers and lobby for accountability programs so that different political and local leaders are invited for talk shows and accountability programs are broadcasted”, said Balinda Chris from Kyenjojo Development Radio ,Kyenjojo District.

Radio mentors have continued sharing issues related to accountability on different online platforms like ushahidi and facebook and this has helped in knowledge and information sharing and networking amongst themselves and leaders. “Issues posted on online plat forms like Ushahidi, face book and blogs have helped us to share this information on radio during news bulletins and this has made our work easier”. Said Tumwine Howard  UBC radio Bundibugyo.

However, radio mentors still face challenges of transport facilitation to reach out the community and pick people’s issues, and lack of equipment like recorders, cameras, computers and internet for information sharing and evidence based information which has affected the bigger work of professional journalists.

Rural monitors continue to lobby for improved services in their Sub Counties

As a way of motivating, encouraging, strengthening and empowering the Advocacy forums and rural monitors, ToroDev has been communicating on Phone and using online (Facebook, Skype and email) tools to assess the performance and weaknesses of the Advocacy Forums and rural monitors.

The Rural monitors of Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District have followed up the issue of fencing Bufunjo Health Center III by using radio discussions. The Fencing of the Bufunjo health center 111 has commenced but our worry is that the quality of the fence is not the best because the metal poles have started falling within a short period of time which shows shoddy work is being done, but as rural monitors we have already identified this issue and the leaders have been informed’’ said Tibeha John Bosco, the secretary of Bufunjo People’s Forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.
Bufunjo Health Center III
Rural monitors of Ntoroko District have also followed up the issue of the poor education sector in the district. “As Rural monitors we have been monitoring the education sector in the sub county of Rwebisengo and we found out that education is still badly off in Rwebisengo S.S , the school has few  qualified teachers  and it’s a government aided school” Said Swizen, a member of Ntoroko Citizens Concern in Ntoroko District. 

Meanwhile, some roads in Kyegegwa District have been worked on and maintained due to the monitoring activities of the rural monitors. “Roads have been worked on and well maintained like Miru -Musanji -Kwantampora Migamba Road, Kwantamora, Kibale , kakabara Road, and Nyakatoma –Kyesega in Mpara Sub county, Kyegegwa District”, Said Alinde Joseph, a rural monitor in Mpara Sub County. 
Mpara Road under construction

According to Mukwano Ssenyonjo of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, NAADS has contributed to the modernization of the agricultural sector. “Through NAADS, agriculture has increased total factor productivity of both the land and labour for the benefit of the farmers. However the rich have benefited more than the poor, and those with enough land, big farms and organized groups have benefited more”.

In conclusion, there is also need to conduct more sensitization/accountability meetings with members of the rural advocacy forums/rural monitors to empower them with more skills to skillfully engage with their local leaders for improved service delivery.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Local citizens discuss the East African Community integration

On 16th November 2012, panelists appeared on HITS FM to discuss the East African Community integration and how it will help the member countries. This was during the ‘Orukurato Program’ a 2hour weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00pm) that is sponsored by ToroDev. “The East African Community integration will be composed of 6(six) countries which include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. All these countries will be politically, socially, and economically united into one country, have one government and one president”, said Lawyer Musana, an Advocate of the high Court.

Lawyer Musana went ahead to indicate the advantages that the six countries are likely to achieve from the integration. “Economically, taxes inform of tariffs on commodities from these countries will be reduced thus cheaper items realized and improved markets. Political stability will also be realized from the unity since we shall be one country with one president”

Leaders during the East African Community summit
The live radio discussion was also attended by Hon. Businge Prosper, a councilor of West Division, Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District and Mr. James Bond, a teacher and an expert on governance.

During the discussion, Hon. Businge Prosper highlighted the factors that should be considered by the six countries before forming the integration. “All the six countries should have common challenges, the geographical location should be the same, they should have common political activities/affairs, and the level of preparedness for the integration should also be equal”.

Meanwhile, Mr. James Bond gave some factors that may hinder the integration of the six countries. “Uganda is a ‘no change country’ yet other countries have presidential term limits, Uganda and Kenya are looking at China as an investor yet Tanzania is looking at America, and corruption in Uganda is too high”.  

Local citizens also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “The local people have not been approached about the integration”, said Paul Rubombora, “Leaders are using the integration to seek their own interests rather than the local people’s interests”, said Kaswara, “Leaders have not sensitized the local people about the integration”, said Edward, “Uganda has not reached that level of joining the integration because  our constitution is not streamlined”, said Kyomuhendo, “There are many benefits for joining the integration but our political system is still a challenge”, said Gollar.

The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto.