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Textbook, 2013, 34 Pages
Chapter One Introduction
1.1. Purpose of the Study
2.5. Local governance
2.5.1. Stigler’s menu
2.5.2. Decentralization theorem
3.Characteristics of good governance
3.1. Rule of Law
3.3. Equity and equality
3.7. Strategic vision
3.8. Effectiveness and efficiency
3.10. The quest for good governance
4.2. Civil Society
4.3. Good governance, Decentralization, Democratization and Civil society linkages
4.4. Benefits of Decentralization
4.5. State of governance in some selected parts of the world
4.6. Relationship between democracy and development
4.7.Decentralization . A policy for social service delivery and rural development in Uganda
Communities need a holistic approach to address problems that affect the people at the grass root. Planning from the direct beneficiaries involves decentralization to allow the lower power centers to widely take part in the development of society. Concerns of the grass root people form the need for decentralization and of local governance. People’s involvement in planning at various levels from the village level and all local government units makes problem identification and problem solving easier. High participatory levels of all the people especially the marginalized, encourages innovation to source for the appropriate solutions to the common problems that face society. It therefore calls a decentralized system that caters for the voters’ preferences while providing for their services. The concerns of the people call for local planning , transfer of power to the public so that services are brought nearer to the people. This research paper will cover the aspects of local government and decentralization such as good governance, democratization, civil society, deconcetration, devolution and delegation and how these link to development of societies.
The course will aid people and managers to
- Empower the population so that they are able to manage the public affairs themselves.
- Develop skills for good governance and involving the people in making decisions that affect their wellbeing in their respective communities.
Decentralization entails the transfer of power, responsibilities and finance from central government to sub-national levels of government at provincial and or local levels (Crow ford, 2008: 7). It is the transfer of the legal, political, administrative and financial affairs and authority to plan, to make decisions and manage public functions and services.
This is when the work, duties and responsibilities and associated authority are transferred from the central government to staff located outside the local government units for their performance on behalf of the public. Local government staff may not be given any independent authority to take decision on performance functions at the lower level it directly reports to the relevant ministry at the central level.
Power is given to the local administrative units by the central units to carry out functions on their behalf. It therefore involves transfer of powers to semi independent organizations in the system but accountable to the centre.
In the local government context, delegation means giving power to an individual or body to carry out a function or duty behalf of the public. Procedurally, some duties cannot be delegated. Some of the duties that cannot be delegated in the 1997 local government act include; approval of development plans, contracting loans, approval of annual budgets among others. This is done to avoid errors that are liable to be committed by local authorizes mainly because of lack of enough expertise.
Through devolution, local authorities are given autonomous powers for planning, administration and financial management on behalf of the central government. Devolution involves the transfer of responsibility of performing these roles with legally defined powers. For example Uganda constitutes 111 administrative districts with Kampala as the centre, the federal government of USA constitutes 50 states and one district with Washington D.C as the centre, Denmark constitutes 47 administrative divisions and 98 municipalities. The local authorities have autonomous plans to make and implement development plans in their respective areas.
The private sector is a very important agent in service delivery. Instead of the local government, the private sector is left with a noble responsibility of providing essential services to the population. At times a partnership of the private sector and local governance is suitable in this endeavor for example in extending safe water, energy among other needs of the population.
Shah (2006 : 2), emphasizes that local governance includes objectives of vibrant, living, working and environmentally preserved self governing communities. He stresses its importance in providing a range of local services and preserving liberty to local residents which creates an environment for democratic participation and civil dialogue, and also promoting market led environmentally sustainable local development. It therefore entails citizen – state and citizen – citizen relations which eases delivery of social services to the population. In the era of globalization, these relationships enhance social and economic net works that is meant for sustainable growth and development.
Several theories have been put forward to support the role of local governance in the areas of manageability, accountability, efficiency and autonomy. Some of these theories include the following.
Stigler (1957) identifies two principles of jurisdictional design. Its emphasis is on the closeness of the representative government to its people so as to well cater for the citizens. Peoples’ right to vote for the kind and amount of services required is another principle emphasized by Stigler. These principles stress the power of the citizens in decision making through the relevant organs. It is also important to have the services closer to the people but in some cases administrative divisions do not adequately cater for the people in terms of service provision. It is also noted that sometimes the power of the people is not exercised since choosing the leaders to represent the local population is not done in a right manner. This is evidenced most especially when the elections to choose leaders are marred with irregularities.
According to the theorem, each public service should be provided by the jurisdiction having control over the minimum geographical area that would internalize benefits and costs of such provision (Oates, 1972: 55) because;
- Concerns of local residents are understood by local governments.
- Fiscal responsibility and efficiency are encouraged if decisions are taken at the local level. Decisions are owned by the real stakeholders and this encourages effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.
- Layers of the jurisdiction that are not necessary are eliminated.
Concerns of the local people are an underlying cause and effect of local governance. This calls for the people to be involved in planning at various levels from the village level and all local government units. High participatory levels encourage innovation to source for the appropriate solutions to the common problems that face society. It therefore calls a decentralized system that caters for the voters’ preferences while providing for their services.
According to Gordon Crawford (2008 : 7), decentralization entails the transfer of power, responsibilities and finance from the central government to sub- national levels of government at provincial and or local levels. This is meant to have the real beneficiaries have power and authority to participate in decision making and implementation of what affects them.
Good governance ensures adherence of human rights, a fair and impartial legal framework, freedom of association and fair social justice.
An all embracing system where every development partner is involved in the making of decisions. For example a situation where all men and women participate either directly or indirectly in the work plans of both the local councils and at the national and international level. All citizens are given an opportunity of expressing their opinions for proper resource allocation and service delivery.
All people regardless of color, sex, age, or tribe should be treated equally for the sake of ensuring the welfare to the population. All members of the society are given equal opportunities and this ensures their good welfare.
This is very important to ensure fairness within the systems. Civil servants, civil society organizations, the politicians and the private sector are accountable to the public. Accountability is in form of resources and the quality and quantity (output) of the work done.
Good communication and free flow of information is the mainstream of transparency. All the information is for all the development partners for proper planning, evaluation and monitoring. This helps to build mutual trust between government institutions, the private sector, civil society and the public. Consensus orientation. The public policy takes into the account the interests of the population.
All the planning is geared towards the needs of all stakeholders. This helps to improve the aspirations of the public and aid government proper planning.
For development to take place, there is always a long term goal for leaders and the public to focus on. This is within the historical, cultural and social complexities of a respective community. Once the vision is taken up by the public, they develop a sense of responsibility and ownership.
The development partners and all stakeholders make sure that processes and institutions make use of the available resources to produce the best output for the entire population. There is maximum service delivery and optimal utilization of the local resources.
This is meant to upgrade the moral conduct of the government employees to attain the basic minimum code of conduct so as to execute the job of proper service delivery on behalf of the government. The best outcome of the decentralization is economic and managerial empowerment.
This is a campaign that has been going on since 1980’s in almost all countries of the world. This is a dream of all partners in development. These include researchers, donors, politicians, intellectuals, management practitioners, and the entire community. All these have realized the need for good governance and democratization in order to arrive at sustainable development. Development will not be realized by mere manipulation of micro and micro economic environment but through proper resource mobilization, allocation and planning through good governance.
The concept good governance has been defined in both political and academic circles for a long time referring to a task of running government. (Hyden 1992). Since 1980’s better methods of governance have major dimensions of development theory and practice. The 1989 World Bank Report on the Sub Saharan Africa shows the growing concern of good governance and its impact on economic growth and development.
LeRoy (1992) insists that the following factors must prevail if one is to talk of good governance; Legitimacy of authority, Public responsiveness, Public accountability, Public management effectiveness, Information openness and Public tolerance of other factors in public character.
The global coalition for Africa considers the following elements for good governance.
1. Predictability of the law.
2. Primacy of legality.
3. Responsible government.
4. Constitutional arrangements and human rights.
6. Coherence of administrative institutions.
7. Openness and tolerance of the political system.
8. Participation of the people and communication.
9. Favorable climate for the private sector.
Uganda’s cabinet of ministers and permanent secretaries during their retreat held in Mbarara on 6th -10th Jan. 1997, whose theme was “The quest for good governance” came out with the following definitions of good governance in Uganda’s context
- Good governance is the authority or administrative order which is accountable, transparent, democratic and conforms to the rule of national justice and established norms accepted to society.
- A system of managing society in such a way that resources are responsibly used in a democratic and participatory manner for the maximum realization of human potential and people’s aspirations.
- Good governance is a democratically established system of conducting public affair by a society for their own welfare, it is a system that is responsible to the critical needs of promoting human welfare and positive transformation of society. Such system is characterized by adherence to constutionalism, rule of law, accountability, and transparency in the conduct of public affairs.
All these definitions show that good governance encompasses political and leadership systems (both structures and behavior), public sector management, civil society development and efficiency in service delivery. However it should be noted that good governance must not concentrate on mechanic aspect of efficient service delivery. It must focus its attention on qualitative and equity aspects of empowering people.
Politically, decentralization is a concept that evokes a variety of functionaries such as liberty, self government autonomy and democracy. Alberti, (2011) explains that the global consensus on the urgency of reinventing government is not only manifested in the research efforts that are focusing on how to improve the performance of governance and public administration institutions. He also said that that it also seen in the innovator’s readiness to come together to share information and knowledge about their innovations to minimize wastage of resources and time in re-inventing the wheel. Decentralization therefore results into proper resource allocation, proper service delivery, and increased participation of the beneficiaries, transparency and accountability.
Powers to the local authorities are administratively linked to the central powers by the principle of hierarchical subordination. It is technically the process by which some sections, departments of the central government are given corporate body status and considerable independence to carry out certain functions through decentralization process.
This is the process of putting in place systems, structures and practices of government to address the following;
- Freedoms (opinion, association, press and worship)
- Periodic free and fair elections of national and local leaders.
- Decent living standards for every member of society.
- Have accountable administrative structures.
Democratization transforms political and administrative institutions as well as behavior to participate effectively in shaping the economic, political and cultural well-being.
In our school system, there is a lot of power centers right from the top down to the students and workers. There is senior management at the top. There are also departments that are manned by heads of departments. At each of these levels, decision making is done to enable proper departmental planning. All the workers at least belong to any of the departments.
With the students body, there is students prefecture of 60 leaders in a school population of 1200 students. Prefects fall into various departments that include; health department, environment, accommodation, academic, discipline and social justice. Students are able to express their views through the school councils and are able to develop skills such as leadership, communication, and respect for others. With this arrangement, there is proper channels and flow of information. This has tended to improve the academic , professional standards of the entire school community.
According to Moyo (1996), the concept civil society to be a “ free association” or “a self organization” or “a political community”.
In this case the civil society is taken as a political community capable of accommodating a variety of individual and associational interests within a pluralist or at least multi centric social frame work in such greater common public good.
Despite the diverse conceptualizations of civil society amongst scholars, there is a consensus that it must be independent of the state. It articulates and defends civil interests; it is not necessarily in basic contradiction to the state. The major interest of the greater part of civil society is not to capture state power but to check its abuse as well as to influence the formulation and implementation of public policy. At the same time civil society is not the same as society. It refers to the political realm specifically the means and process through which citizens shape character of political and economic life in their country.
The pressure and strength of civil society can be verified by the existence and dynamism of organizations such as NGO’s, professional and private sector associations and trade unions. To determine the level of decentralization, it is necessary to identify the degree of autonomy and amount of powers, resources and functions that are devolved to local governments to manage their local affairs. Although this is not easy, several indicators of autonomy can be used to give an idea to how decentralization may be assessed. The following questions must be asked;
- Are the political leaders of the local governments elected by central government? Decentralization should guarantee the existence and proper functioning of elected local leadership.
- How much autonomy do the local governments have in the management of the human resource?
- What legal powers do the local authorities have? Can they take important decisions without having to seek permission from the central government? Decentralization should ensure autonomy in decision making at the local government level.
- What is the degree of their financial autonomy? Do they have any specific sources of revenue? Can they borrow or receive grants from the state? Are the sources for local governments constitutionalised or just decided by the central government.
- Does the political system in the country favor decentralization or centralization?
Munshi etal, (2009 : 1) emphasizes that governance has gained prominence public debates around the world in recent times because of its importance.
When the paradigms of good governance, decentralization, democratization and civil society are closely analyzed, it becomes evident that they all seek to empower the people to exercise as much influence as possible on their social political and economic destiny. In other words, political, legal, technical and even technological empowerment is the meeting point of good governance, decentralization, civil society and democratization. Anders, (2011) puts it that disconnect between formal and informal institutions that largely explains the problems in capacity building and institutional performance in both the public and private sectors in Africa. Good governance therefore makes it possible for capacity building for economies to grow.
Decentralization is the process that depending on its objectives and the way it is implemented and the prevailing environment, may lead to the installation of the political administrative frame work for good governance. However decentralization is not synonymous with good governance, neither is it the same thing with democratization.
If decentralization does not lead to the empowerment of the people, then it can not constitute good governance. It can also not contribute to democratization or strengthening of the civil society. Decentralization enhances democratic practices and good governance. It serves as a tool of empowering the population at the grass root level with vested responsibilities of allocating resources and discharging outlined duties.
Good governance must be underpinned by a democratic system of government but democracy can not thrive unless space is given to civil society to operate effectively. The efficiency of civil society is enhanced by the process of empowerment that is fostered by decentralization. Empowerment awakens the society’s right to monitor and sanction government. Decentralization especially when it takes the form of devolution, promotes good governance to the extent that it takes the form of devolution promotes good governance to the extent that it creates conditions for the immergence of independent associations and interest groups at all levels of society, it also creates opportunities for a democratic monitoring process.
Decentralization places the decision making centers nearer to the beneficiaries and therefore create opportunities for these beneficiaries to gain access to the decision making elites and thus increase chances for effective accountability and transparency in the conduct of public affairs.
Decentralization and good governance share some imperatives and rationale, good governance is a pre requisite for realization of sustainable and equitable development. Decentralization serves and enhances good governance to the extent that it helps to create a conducive atmosphere for good governance.
Conditions for good governance include high participatory approach and adoption of policies and action programs with an aim of promoting the welfare and security of the people. Implementation and formulation of government policies and the creation of institutional capacity is broad based and encompasses political freedom, maintenance of the rule of law and sustainable growth of society.