Gulu District and its chairman are big winners in the 2016/17 Local Government Councils Assessment whose scorecard was released yesterday in Kampala.
In the assessment conducted by policy think-tank Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) in 35 districts over a six-month period, Gulu District Chairman, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, emerged as the best performer with 91 out of 100 points.
The assessment measured five variables – political leadership, legislative role, contact with electorate, initiation of projects and monitoring service delivery. It covered 1,400 leaders like chairpersons, speakers and councillors from 35 districts, small, medium and big.
Chairman Mapenduzi, who subscribes to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, is serving his second term and this win is his fourth consecutively.
Mapenduzi was closely followed by Kabarole’s Richard Rwabuhinga, a member of the ruling NRM.
The others in Top 10 in order are Erisat Okitoi (Amuria), Patrick Okello Oryema (Nwoya), Thomas Franz Kategere (Kamuli), Matia Lwanga Bwanika (Wakiso), Ronald Ndawula (Luweero), George Mutabazi (Lwengo) and Leonard Opio Ojok (Agago).
The last district chairperson was entered as Tororo’s, understandably because Apollo Jaramogi Olla died and was not replaced, leaving Mbale’s Bernard Mujasi as the worst performer, possibly because he was embroiled in a tough court petition.
The other poor performers in the last Ten, from last, are Amuru’s Michael Lakony, Kisoro’s Abel Bizimana, Mukono’s Andrew Senyonga, Arua’s Sam Wadri Nyakua, Jinja’s Titus Kisambira, Nebbi’s Esrom William Alenyo, Apac’s Bob Okae, Sheema’s David Kabigumira and Soroti’s George Egunyu.
Gulu District Council also emerged the best, followed by Kabarole, Mpigi, Wakiso, Agago, Luweero, Mbale, Ntungamo, Amuria, Lira and Hoima.
The bottom Ten, from last are Sheema, Arua, Tororo, Kaliro, Kabale, Nebbi, Mbarara, Kisoro, Moroto and Bududa.
The best district speaker is Muhammed Mafabi from Mbale, followed by Ketty Akol of Amuria and Stella Kyorampe from Kabarole. The worst speaker is Kaliro’s Sanon Bwire, followed by Kisoro’s Amos Hakizimana and Nebbi’s Robert Steen Omito, who is now the chairperson of Pakwach District, newly carved from Nebbi.
The best performing district councillor is Bernadette Plan from Kahoora sub-county in Hoima district, followed by Hussein Kato from Bombo Town Council in Luweero, and Thomas Jeffason Obalim from Central Division, Lira Municipality.
The last councillor is Peter Tuhairwe from Western Division, Rukungiri Municipality, followed by Denis Francis Owera from Barr sub-county in Lira, and Rose Abili Amono from Bungatira sub-county in Gulu.
Commenting on the findings, Lillian Tamale, a researcher at ACODE, said the findings show that it is important that if leaders want to be relevant they have to engage and pay attention to what the citizens are saying.
Professor Kiran Cunningham, also an ACODE research fellow who participated in the assessment, said the three key sectors where citizens made lots of demands were in health, water and roads, observing that when councillors engage the citizens there is a high likelihood of many activities getting implemented.