• Building capacities of Local Councils: A facilitator’s Tale

By Joseph Kalungi

 In Kamwenge District two orientations have been done for councils of Mahyoro and Nkoma-Katalyeba Town Council. The Focus was to mentor Councillors on their roles as people representatives. Give them practical knowledge and skills on the operations of council as well as rules and procedures of council.

 As facilitators, before the orientation, I noted that most councilors had high expectation of availability of lots of funds for both service delivery as well as personal gain. During the orientation this imagination was demystified. The councilors were able to appreciate the fact that there is always limited funds spend through a prioritized budget.

 On the roles of the councilors, the councilors were able to appreciate that as representatives of the people, it was important for them to be in touch with the electorate. They needed to constantly hold consultative meeting and update electorate issue/matters for decision making in council. It was noted that some councilors spend entire term of office without consulting on any matter for debate in council. As a result some councilors do not debate in council because they have no Ideas due to failure to consult.

 It was also noted that Town Council Business committees were not functional. Most Councils sit when funds are available without prior preparation and sorting of business in Council or inviting councilors according to 7days notice as provided for by rules of procedure. As a result most Councillors come to Council without knowing the business of Council.

 Importantly they have no time to consult electorate and opinion leaders in their areas of representation. After the orientation speakers and Councillors were happy and pledged to revitalize business committee. This would also improve consultation of Councillors to enrich council debate.

 Motions during council were revised. Importantly was the motion to change Council to committee for the whole house. This was most tricky part of Council. To be grasped it had to be done practically. By the end of training councillors were able to move council to a committee of the whole and vice-versa.

 In the next phases of emphasis will be put on the planning cycle and mentoring   Councillors on chairing productive meetings. With the orientation I am sure Councillors can now consult and confidently debate in Council.

The author is the Chief Facilitator of council trainings in Kamwenge District

He is a Former District Speaker Kamwenge District

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