Assessing the political leadership accountability mechanisms in local governments: A case study of ACODE’s local government SMS platform
Atukunda, Phoebe Kirungyi
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The purpose of this study was to assess the mechanisms of political leadership accountability in local governments in Uganda with focus on ACODE’s Local Government SMS platform as the case study. The study focussed on achieving the following objectives: to examine the degree of responsiveness of political leaders in the different districts towards the Local Government SMS Platform; to analyse the factors affecting the effectiveness of the Local Government SMS Platform; to establish possible mechanism to enhance the effectiveness of political leadership accountability. Descriptive research design based on a case study was used. Data was collected using document reviews, observations and questionnaires from a sample of 388 citizens, local councilors, executive members and community leaders. Data was analysed using SPSS version 20. Results were summarised using frequencies, percentages, and presented using figures, tables and text. The study established that the degree of responsiveness of political leaders towards the LG SMS platform has been low because issues raised by citizens are not responded to by political leaders. Factors affecting the effectiveness of the LG SMS platform established by the study include: lack of advertising, the training on how to use the LG SMS platform was not appropriate and hence end users do not know how to use the platform. The study also established possible mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of political leadership accountability which include: using the media especially radio talk shows, civic education, encouraging use of barazas, and involvement of civil society, free and fair elections. The study recommends that ACODE should carry out more training for both political leaders and citizens on how to use the LG SMS platform. ACODE should put in place an intensive advertising strategy for the LG SMS platform. Advertising should be in the different local languages and it can be through use of drama series to interest citizens to listen to adverts. Government should support political leaders to use media to communicate with their electorate because media like radio stations are able to reach the local people.