By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Parliament has proposed minimum education standards for District, Municipal and Division Councilors, as well as Chairpersons of the Sub-County, a move that might spell anxiety for the local government leaders.
According to the report of the Committee on Public Service and Local Government on the ministerial policy statement for 2018/2019, MPs have proposed that government a minimum education qualification of Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) or O’level for all councilors.
In their report, the MPs in their committee chaired by Godfrey Onzima, Aringa North County MP attributed poor service delivery in the local government to uneducated councilors who cannot comprehend laws and policies in English.
“The Committee noted that due to lack of minimum qualification standards for Councilors, unqualified people are joining elective politics yet they cannot articulate council issues. One of the major reasons why service delivery is poor, is because most of the technical information is communicated in English and only the educated can internalize it,” the report says.
The report adds that currently, a big number of councilors do not have even the minimum competence to interpret the basic things like the Bills of Quantities, budgets, Local Government Act, development plans and the Constitution which are all in English making it hard for the uneducated councilors to comprehend.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Local Government is in the initial stages of reviewing the Local Government Act. It is against this background therefore that the parliamentary committee has recommended that one of the amendments should focus on providing for a minimum standard for the said councilors.
The 1995 Constitution of Uganda only provides minimum qualification of A’level or its equivalent for the office of the President, Members of Parliament and district chairpersons.