Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Kakumba, Umar URN etd-04272009-100708 Document Title External control systems in the enhancement of accountability in local government : the case of Uganda Degree PhD Department Public Management and Administration Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof C Thornhill Co-Supervisor Prof D J Fourie Supervisor Keywords
- operationalisation of legislation and regulatory f
- institutional capacity
- qualitative research
- systems and processes
- accountability in local government
Date 2009-04-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study investigated the role of two cardinal external control agencies, the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) and the Inspectorate of Government (IG) in the enhancement of accountability in Uganda’s local government (LG). In Uganda, local governments’ accountability failures are relentlessly blamed on the weak internal systems of control, despite the existence of external controls. This study departs from the premise that, the institutional predicaments of LGs do not only represent poor internal systems, but also signify deficits in the external control mechanisms. The evaluation of external control agencies was based on four main fronts: their institutional capacity to enhance accountability; how they have promoted the operationalisation of legislation and regulatory framework pertaining to accountability; how they have enhanced LG systems and processes towards accountability; and, how far they have helped to strengthen the potential of civil society in fostering accountability in LGs. A largely qualitative research approach was employed, but with some elements quantitative data. Interviews, documents review and direct observation were used as instruments of data collection.
The study established that the IG and the OAG exhibit mixed fortunes of institutional capacity, punctuated by financial and human resources limitations; deficiencies in the enabling legislation; and poor support from various stakeholders. The study revealed a stupendous effort by the IG and the OAG in operationalising legislation, but they perform dismally in enhancing local government systems and processes; and in strengthening civil society capacity towards accountability. There is lack of a harmonised policy and coordinated mechanisms to support supervision, mentoring and inspection of LGs by the external control framework.
The thesis argues that, reforming local government requires changes in the approach of individual and organisational culture. The mere crackdown and reprimands meted out on those that abuse public trust do not necessarily improve accountability. Thus, commitment should be put on identifying the organisational-structural deficiencies and possible system reforms, rather than mere inspections and monitoring exercises that encourage mediocrity. Hence, those who inspect, audit and review local governments should be able to recognise the inherent system challenges, but also appreciate the constraints under which the public servants operate, or where they have little or no control. In the end, improved performance and accountability depend on the extent to which people appreciate them as legitimate goals, both within the administration and within the external control agency system.
© University of Pretoria 2008
Please cite as follows:
Kakumba, U 2008, External control systems in the enhancement of accountability in local government : the case of Uganda, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04272009-100708/>
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