Local Government and Public Service Reforms
Ahead of the 2016 elections, the IDEG formulated a project to influence political parties and other stakeholders to commit to the revival of the constitutional amendment process and the democratic reform of local government. The then 18-month project was conceptualized to respond to a context where the ruling government had not shown any firm commitment to undertaking constitutional reforms. The aim of the project was therefore to mobilize strategic leadership and key stakeholders to commit to constitutional reforms. Post elections, the new President and the government have shown a firm commitment to implementing constitutional reforms that ensures democratic devolution. This commitment presents a situation totally different from the one in which the initial proposal was formulated. The new situation presents its own challenges because of the highly polarized and partisan nature of the system. This calls for new civil society intervention to ensure that consensus is built and broad-based support mobilized for the consensus on constitutional amendments.
As part of its new strategic direction, the IDEG will strategically position itself to work with government and political parties to facilitate an inclusive process towards the realization of the reforms. Also, the IDEG has provided thought leadership and focus on the debate for local government reforms since 2014 and thus has the technical expertise required to help government achieve its aim of reforming the current local government system.
Furthermore, multiparty based local government will do away with the appointive powers of the president including appointing two-thirds of the members of the Assembly and thus raising the issue of how the president would effectively govern the unitary state through a multiparty controlled local government. With direct control over the districts taken away, the president would have to work through the public institutions to maintain his/her influence throughout the country. For this reason, the president would require that the public service would be competent, efficient, professional and impartial in the discharge of their duties to all the citizens of the country. This new situation would spur the need for the reformation of the currently polarized public service institutions into impartial, professional and efficient institutions delivering services promptly for the public good throughout the country. In view of this, the IDEG will design a project aimed at restoring high professional standards and strengthen the autonomy of the state bureaucracies.