The United Cities and Local Governments – Africa (UCLG-Africa) in partnership with the Transparency International and with the support of the European Commission under the Framework Partnership Programme is implementing a project aimed at promoting transparency and integrity in local governance.
The project, Leaders in Local Government for Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery is a timely intervention to forestall the risk of local government institutions becoming embroiled in the scourge of corruption and malpractices that has rocked African public administration. The expected outcome of this project is Citizen responsive local governance continually seeking to improve on transparency, integrity and accountability in an inclusive participatory governance environment.
Three local governments: Walvis Bay, Namibia; Kabarole District, Uganda; and Tema Municipal Assembly, Ghana have volunteered to participate in a project that seeks firstly, to assess the institutional organisational weaknesses that render local governments susceptible to corruption and other malpractices in the delivery of services, and secondly, to develop policies and systems that mitigate against, detect and attenuate the risks.
Figure 1: The UCLGA-Transparency International meet the Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Uganda, Benjamin Kumumanya.
During November and December 2016, a joint team comprising representatives from the participating lead organisations, the UCLG-Africa – Charles Patsika, director for Membership Development, Networks Coordination and External Relations; Chantal Uwimana, Africa Regional Director for Transparency International and Liaison with the African Union; and Harriet Wachira, programme office at the Kenya Chapter of Transparency International visited the first two volunteer local governments, Walvis Bay and Kabarole on a project inception and launch mission. The UCLG-Africa and Transparency International network representatives are expected to actively participate in and support project promotion and implementation. The team was, therefore, joined in the respective countries by the regional and country UCLG-Africa and Transparency International partners – Maureen Kambala, Secretary General of Association of Local Authorities of Namibia (ALAN); Dr Juma Nyende, Director of UCLG-Africa East Africa Regional Office, Richard Okuku of Uganda Local Government Association; and Gerald Auku of Transparency International Uganda. The team presented and held discussions on the project with the leadership of the ministries responsible for decentralisation and local government and the mayors and councillors of local authorities concerned as well as representatives of civil society. In Namibia, the team met the deputy minister responsible for local government, Hon. Derek Klazen and in Uganda, the Permanent Secretary, Benjamin Kumumanya. In both countries the leaders expressed profound interest and commitment to support the project. The mayors and councillors in both cities confirmed their support and willingness to participate in the project. The Team also sought to encourage ministries to ratify the African Union instrument on the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development. This instrument, among other issues, calls for transparent and accountable local government institutions free from corruption and other vices.
With most central governments in Africa having accepted decentralisation as an indispensable policy of ensuring that decision-making on local development is best placed under the purview of the citizens themselves within their own locality and territory, it is crucial that local governments be protected from the scourge that has rocked governmental institutions in Africa – corruption and lack of integrity. The project seeks to assist local governments pre-empt the risk of degenerating into havens of corruption through proactively and continuously taking corrective measures to improve the fight against the scourges.
With both the central government ministries and the local governments keen to see the project underway, the UCLG-Africa and Transparency International team will begin to conduct the full-scale implementation of the project early in 2017.