Decentralised system of governance in Uganda is one of the reforms of governance undertaken since Uganda’s independence in 1962. The National Resistance Movement embraced decentralisation system of governance when it came to power in 1986.
The principal objectives of decentralisation have been the promotion of accountability, integrity, transparency, efficiency in governance and service delivery, and the empowerment of the masses through promotion of participation of individuals and communities in their governance.
The legislative framework of decentralisation is provided by the Local Government Statute of 1993. This law facilitated administrative and financial decentralisation, which was soon followed by another act that enabled human resources decentralisation. The enactment of the Local Government Act, 1997 provided the way for further decentralisation. The 2001 amendment to the 1997 Act extensively empowered elected local governments in Uganda.
Structure of Local Government in Uganda
The Kampala City Capital Authority and the districts are the highest tier of government. Urban areas are composed of municipalities and towns; both Kampala City and the municipalities are split into divisions, and subsequently, wards and zones. The rural districts are split into subcounties and subsequently into parishes and villages. Most of the executive decisions are taken at the district and municipality level.
The lower-level authorities are considered to be the sub-counties, towns and divisions, while parishes and wards are regarded as administrative units supporting their upper structures
The central government retained responsibility for national security, planning, immigration, foreign affairs and national projects; all other functions were devolved to local institutions. One of the reforms instituted by the government is the principle of non-subordination, which implies the power of lower councils to make decisions on matters affecting them without resorting to higher levels of local government
Financial decentralisation in Uganda has empowered local governments. These lower tiers are responsible for collecting and allocating taxes and other financial grants. Articles 191 and 192 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda specifically empower local governments to mobilise and generate local revenues.