n Journal of Public Administration - Citizen-driven approaches in fighting corruption : a comparative analysis of Uganda's and South Africa's local government systems

Volume 47, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article makes a theoretical comparative examination of citizen-driven approaches in the fight against corruption in Uganda's and South Africa's local government systems. These countries are compared on the basis that they are both democratic countries, their constitutions were enacted at around the same time and both countries started their decentralisation programmes at about the same time. Corruption is possibly one of the most serious impediments to effective service delivery. Seeking better ways to combat it is an urgent necessity. Citizen demonstrations have become a recent phenomenon in both Uganda and South Africa, plainly signifying citizen displeasure with government delivery. Because citizens have lost faith in the ability of formal institutions of government to fight corruption, they resort to what we call 'noise-based' opposition to corruption. With the recent citizen uprisings in North Africa to bring about regime change, the capacity of citizens to demand accountability has been confirmed. Social accountability, as a process of constructive engagement between citizens and government, should be aimed at improving performance in the use of public resources to deliver services, enhance people's welfare, and protect individuals' rights. This article starts with a discussion of theoretical issues where the philosophical origins of citizen involvement are discussed. It then proceeds to explain the structure of local government in Uganda and South Africa through a comparative lens and then discusses the subject of corruption in the two countries giving selected examples of corruption in problematic areas of local government performance. This is followed by a discussion of the policy and legislative frameworks for citizen participation as provided by Uganda and South Africa. Finally, the article suggests policy and managerial implications for adopting citizen-driven approaches in the two countries.

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