Follow us on Twitter

Contact and Perception of Authorities

You are here

Peace-building requires rebuilding relationships among individuals, communities, and the state. Considering the long standing divide and history of conflicts between the North and the South, it is an important challenge in Uganda. Our previous studies suggest that for social reconstruction to be effective, the government should be perceived as legitimate, should not impose measures on communities without their input, and should manage expectations of its development programs. Failure to do so may renew tensions that could undermine the prospect for a lasting peace.

The first finding of the 2010 survey regarding the relationship between northern Ugandans and the state is that respondents have only limited contact with authorities, especially above the Local Council level 1 (LC1). Respondents were asked how often they contacted a list of authorities to ask for help with a problem or to give their views in the six months prior to the survey. Two out of three respondents (62%) had contacted a religious leader at least once a month during that period and about half (49%) had contacted the LC1. However, significantly fewer had had contacts at least once a month with an LC3, a higher level local council  (21%), or a government official (18%). Even fewer had contacts with a traditional leader (14%).

Figure 19: Contacts with Authorities once a Month or More

Figure 19 - Contacts with Authorities once a Month or More

Focusing on local government officials, a majority of the respondents felt that the authorities were not helping families in need (72%) or helping build infrastructure (70%). However, most said local officials had helped improve security and fight crime (72%), as well as solve local conflicts (78%). About half (47%) felt the central government was not delivering services appropriately, and the central government was unlikely to respond to their needs if they reported them (39%); however, 33 percent said the government was likely to respond to their needs.

When asked how they perceived the government’s performances on a range of topics, only about one-third of respondents said it was handling “well” or “very well” the fight against corruption (30%), uniting the south and north of Uganda (30%), increasing employment (32%), reducing poverty (35%), and involving the population in decisions (36%). Respondents had also mentioned uniting the south and north of Uganda and reducing poverty as essential to peace-building. Less than half the respondents said the government performed well on providing social services (45%) and ensuring free elections (47%). The only topics for which a majority of the population ranked the government’s performance positively were security-related, including reducing crime (64%), protecting human rights (65%), and maintaining peace (79%).

Figure 20: Respondents’ Perception of Government Performance

Figure 20 - Respondents’ Perception of Government Performance