Decentralization and Conflict in Uganda: Governance Adrift


  • Terrell G. Manyak
  • Isaac Wasswa Katono


This study examines the challenges that threaten one of Africa’s most ambitious experiments in political, administrative and fiscal decentralization. Based on extensive interviews with local government leaders throughout Uganda, the research uncovered a complex interplay of conflicts that impact decision-making effectiveness. The sources of these conflicts center around (a) the impact of national politics on local government as the country approaches the 2011 election, (b) the inability to meet rising citizen demand for services as the tax base of local governments continues to erode, (c) the corrosive impact of social conflicts stemming mostly from poverty and illiteracy complicated by tribal and ethnic differences, and (d) the challenges of developing honest and effective leadership in local government. Can Uganda unravel this web of conflicts to bring meaningful governance to this young nation? Indeed, many countries within the developing world are watching this experiment with a great deal of interest.