Our usual way of thinking has it that democracy connotes to holding periodical elections and permitting free speech.
Mathias Kamp, a civil society expert with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) country representative has said without constant engagement between the citizenry and government it remains a fallacy.
He made these remarks while speaking at an open government workshop under the auspices of the Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC) held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
“It’s exactly not about citizens casting their votes every five years and then government goes about their business based on that mandate…. it is about the identification of the people with what is happening in the political sphere,” he points out.
As such, Kamp insists that key emphasis should be placed on enlisting citizens’ views about a wide range of societal issues and postulate solutions to their concerns. Kamp says this is an essential component if government is to be held accountable and monitored effectively.
“In Project management we always talk about monitoring and evaluation and checking for results. And everybody thinks first about accountability. So we have to monitor, evaluate so that we can show what we are doing with donor funding and so on,” Kamp explains.
At the tail end, he urged government not to ignore digital technologies but harness their positive potentials to create better linkages with the populace.
On her part, Mary Karooro Okurut, the Minister of General Duties assured of elevated management and allocation of public resources with the automation of government entities.
“Approximately, 248 Gov’t websites and 297 applications are in place. ICT has enabled government to accelerate the use of websites as tools for dissemination of information and service provision. This has transformed and eased access to service delivery,” she says.
In order to effectively encourage open dialogue, Awel Uwihanganye, the GCIC head says government has enacted the 900-toll free number through which citizens can provide timely feedback to queries on service delivery.
According to the United Nations E- Government survey of 2018, Uganda’s online service index improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018, which puts the country in the high online service index bracket.
The UN survey further indicates that Uganda’s E-Gov’t development index (EGDI) improved from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018 which is above the African average of 34%.