Local Government SMS Platform Fails to Deliver

1709 Views Kyenjojo, Uganda

In short
The SMS platform, launched in 2014 by Kyenjojo Integrated Initiative and Kyaka Association for CBOs, was designed to enable citizens in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts relate with their elected leaders through communication.

A Short Messaging System (SMS) platform launched by Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs to link citizens with their local government leaders has failed to bear fruit.

The SMS platform, launched in 2014 by Kyenjojo Integrated Initiative and Kyaka Association for CBOs, was designed to enable citizens in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts relate with their elected leaders through communication.

Through the platform, a number 7300 was set aside for citizens to send messages about their service delivery concerns to councilors and LC III chairpersons.  The leaders would then present them in the respective council meetings and forge a way forward.

However an assessment of the platform in Kyenjojo district shows that it has not addressed poor service delivery. The residents accuse the local leaders of not responding to their concerns.

Steven Businge, a resident of Kyegegwa town council says that he has several times sent phone messages to the town council leadership to address the water problem in the area, in vain.

He explains that the lack of clean and safe water, residents in the town council threatens to cause water borne diseases in the area.
 
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Viola Bagonza, a service delivery monitor in Kyenjojo town council says that at its inception, the SMS platform was welcomed with the hope that it would improve service delivery. She however says that the platform has not been a success, which she attributed to the conduct of the local leaders.

Bagonza explains that residents have sent several phone messages to the leaders informing them about several projects that have gone to waste due to shoddy work, but no action has been taken. She cites Mahoma Primary School, which was poorly constructed and condemned by the district engineer.
 
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However some local leaders say that the SMS platform was bound to fail due to the ambiguous demands from the residents.
 
Charles Kunihira, the Kyegegwa district LCV councilor, says that some residents misused the platform by demanding for non-budgeted projects. He explains that leaders cannot readily provide what the citizens want, due to lack of funds.
 
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Vincent Magezi, the executive director Kyenjojo Integrated Initiative, says that it is unfortunate that the platform has not benefited the electorate. He however says that the organization will continue to empower residents to demand for better services. 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.