Drivers of recentralization in Uganda and effect on service delivery.
Lwanga, Martin M.
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Decentralization defined as the transfer of authority from central to local governments to perform certain duties, is seen as one of the public sector reform strategies to increase service delivery. Uganda is one of the countries whose decentralization reform was labeled ‘exceptional’ among developing countries in terms of the scale and scope of the transfer of power and responsibilities to the local level. But starting in 2005, the Government of Uganda started rethinking the policy. Among others the office of Chief Administrative Office (CAO) was recentralized taking the responsibility of CAO appointments from District Service Commission) DSCs) to Public Service Commission (PSC). This has been followed with recentralization of Kampala City under the management of a Central government appointed Executive Director and certain aspects of the Health sector. What drives this more recent development of recentralization in Uganda? Is it an indication of failure of decentralization? Scholars have argued that drivers could range from electoral politics, ethnic politics, to the need for financial accountability. This paper seeks to verify these drivers with evidence from Uganda. The paper reviews different government, public and academic literature as well as findings of other researches concerning the phenomena. Interviews were conducted with a number of key policy makers. Based on these sources the paper answer the following questions: what are the drivers of recentralization in Uganda? Further, to what extent does recentralization improve service delivery by increasing efficiency, participation, accountability and effectiveness? What are their prospects of continued recentralization in Uganda?