Inaugural Lecture by Prof. Sabiti Makara: Democratic Decentralization: Unpacking Politics, Administration and Service Delivery

Join us for Prof. Sabiti Makara’s inaugural lecture as he dissects Democratic Decentralization: Analyzing Politics, Administration, and Service Delivery. Don’t miss this insightful discussion.

Democratic decentralization has been in vogue worldwide since the 1990s, as part of neoliberal public sector reforms, and part of the democratization movement. While the quest for decentralization is not new in Africa, what is spurring fresh interest in its study is the vigor and importance it now attaches to democratic administration, characterized by a focus on local-based issues, ordinary people’s participation in making decisions, demand for accountability, efficiency and responsiveness in government; and the need for empowerment of local communities to engage in socio-economic development. These salient tenets of decentralization are summarized in the concept of good
governance. The good governance paradigm aims to create space for citizens to take charge of their own affairs, and to press government institutions to act properly, and in the interest of common good.

When we talk of democratic decentralization, in effect, we talk of devolution (the political aspect of decentralization) which refers to the transfer of power from the centre to local jurisdictions. This entails the rights of citizens to choose their leaders, hold them accountable, and make better-informed decisions at local level. At the same time, democratic decentralization is a champion of good governance, for instance, citizens’ demand for services, promoting efficient, effective, responsive, and accountable administration. While these benefits appear to be evident in several countries that have embraced democratic decentralization, including Uganda, the challenges have arisen in the current implementation of decentralization that have led to frustration of service delivery at the local level. These challenges include: creation of numerous local governments that are poorly funded, a thin resource envelope for local governments, poor staffing, privatization of public services, poor supervision of service delivery, environmental degradation, recentralization and control of certain offices by the centre. These challenges have been exacerbated by corruption and political manipulation of the service provision by the political actors. As such, the anticipated benefits of democratic decentralization have been sapped, to the chagrin of the ordinary citizen. The question that arises is: since the implementation of decentralization in Uganda more than 30 years ago, has it improved good governance and service delivery? Where is the problem? What is to be done?

The purpose of this presentation is to revisit the debate on new grounds over a truly democratic decentralization that could be re-invented or re-energized to serve the interests of the ordinary person. I intend to revisit the theories of new managerialism and democratic administration to contextualize the debate, and to highlight some practical examples of how decentralization can bear the fruits.

Meeting ID: 929 0788 4945
Passcode: 481810

Meeting Link:



Start Date

September 29, 2023 2:00 pm

End Date

September 29, 2023 5:00 pm


Main Hall (Faculty of Education) - Kikungiri Church


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