The Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda with support from Irish Aid under the Strengthening Karamoja Anti Corruption Coalition (SKACC) project conducted a monitoring visit that was held in Moroto district, but attended by participants from Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Moroto and Kotido. A refresher training for the members of civil society in the accountability sector on communication and advocacy as means of building capacity to better deliver on their work was also held.
The Karamoja sub-region in Uganda is undoubtedly the country’s most disadvantaged, with almost 80% of the 1.2 million people living below the poverty line and 82% illiterate (UNHS, 2016/17). The same population has the poorest service delivery in the whole of Uganda (UBOS National Service Delivery Survey report 2015). The Government of Uganda (GOU) through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and specifically the Ministry for Karamoja Affairs has implemented a number of development programmes to enhance recovery and development of the region. However, reports show that previous government interventions like Peace, Recovery and Development Program (PRDP), Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) phase I, II and III have been marred with gross corruption with over sh60 billion lost (ACCU Monitoring Report, 2016).
Provisions in the Constitution (1995), the Decentralization Policy (2009), Access to Information Act (2005) and other laws that the government has put in place to bring services closer to the people have not guaranteed the participation of citizens in monitoring public service delivery due to high illiteracy levels and lack of basic competencies among the citizens to participate in decision making processes and monitoring of government programmes in the region. On the other hand, most of the civil society organizations in the region, are mainly engaged in livelihood and extending social services, leaving the accountability sector inadequately addressed. The few CSOs engaged in the accountability sector are weak and uncoordinated in addressing issues of transparency and accountability and this resulted in the misuse of substantial amounts of money from the Government through the Office of the Prime Minister and other government agencies that are meant to develop Karamoja.
The inadequacy of an active and concerted effort of civil society in issues of good governance, transparency and accountability, coupled with inadequate complaints feedback mechanisms between government and communities has made monitoring of government programmes nearly impossible despite the few community monitors trained by ACCU and KACC in Moroto, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit and Napak districts, thus the need for continuous follow-ups.
Since the onset of the SCPTA project, a number of activities have been implemented in Nabilatuk, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Moroto districts geared at addressing the above challenges. These activities included publicizing the project in the four districts of implementation, providing platforms for communities to engage their duty bearers on accountability issues and building the capacity of KACC in organisational and financial management, developing a policy brief on teachers’ absenteeism, joint monitoring with duty bearers, an exchange visit, simplifying and printing of Whistle Blowers’ Act, Access to Information Act, Anticorruption Act and Covid19 guidelines