Challenges of popular participation in the planning process of local governments: acase study of Nsangi Sub-County Local Government in Wakiso District (1998-2003)
Babirye, Olivia Mary
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The study was on popular participation in the planning process of local governments, a case study of Nsangi sub-county local government in Wakiso district. It specifically focused on examining the category of people who participate in the planning process of local governments. The study further set out to analyze the impact of peoples’ decisions in the planning process, to explain the levels of the planning process in which popular participation takes place and to explore the challenges associated with popular participation in the planning process of local governments. The study used in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews, documentary review and observation to obtain the qualitative and quantitative data. A sample of 136 respondents aged 18 years and above was interviewed. The study findings reveal that local councilors, the elderly and other adults but mainly not the youth and women, do participate in the planning meetings though the overall turn up is very low. It was revealed that whereas the local people at the village level are involved in the identification of priority projects through contributing ideas, they are usually disappointed as their much desired priority projects are in most cases not implemented and the community is generally not involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of such projects. The study shows that preferably a bigger percentage of the population is not aware of the planning process and they are not involved. Furthermore, the study reveals that the areas or levels of the planning process in which popular participation takes place are three: LCI, LC2 and LC3 in other words the Village, Parish and Sub-county levels respectively. The local people are generally involved at the village level but the local leaders or councilors and administrators do participate in the remaining levels where in most cases the decisions made by the local people are altered. Finally, the study reveals that the main challenges associated with popular participation in the planning process are delayed project implementation, absence of logistics(money to facilitate the meetings),the time of holding such meetings coupled with limited sensitization and politicization of meetings. The study recommends among others, that to get more local people on board, there is need to improve on the sensitization campaign about the need to participate, time and place. It is important that priority projects identified by the local people are implemented and they should also be involved in monitoring and implementation of any community project. It is important that planning meetings are facilitated to enable especially the local leaders to effectively participate in these meetings. It is also important that councilors are given refresher courses of further trainings improve on their ability to appreciate their role in the planning process. The major conclusions of the study are to the effect that local people’s decisions in the planning process have little impact as the technocrats and councilors make the major decisions. Participation of the local people remains very low due to the many demotivating factors given in the study.