The Minister of Local Government James Musoni, yesterday, pointed out that sports and decentralisation, as a form of governance, complement one another in the achievement of good governance.
Musoni made the remarks while addressing a meeting on effective decentralization in East Africa which brought together local authorities from the region. The meeting preceded the East African Local Authorities Sports and Cultural (EALASCA) competitions presently taking place in Kigali.
“This will help us to understand the relationship between sports and decentralization and how one supports the other. The two play an important role in promoting people-to-people integration,” the Minister said.
Musoni told the delegates that the preference for decentralization had resulted in the country’s transformation from a failed state 17 years ago, to its current standing today.
“After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, we came up with vision 2020 and placed decentralization among our top priorities. We opted for decentralization as the best model of governance aimed at enhancing citizens’ participation, accountability and democratization,” he said, adding that since the adoption of the decentralization process in the year 2000, impressive results have been recorded.
The Minister further reiterated the need for member countries’ to involve their citizens in development initiatives.
“It is imperative for our countries to ensure that their country men and women have a greater stake when it comes to having common goals, purpose, objectives and development initiatives.
“It instills in them a sense of ownership and a shared national and regional vision,” he advised.
Speaking at the conference, the Minister in the Office of the President in charge of Kampala Capital City, Kabakumba Matsiko, said local governments are the building blocks of the community, stating that they must be encouraged to participate and strengthen EALASCA.
She also emphasised the need for the member countries to sensitise their respective populace on the integration process.
“People may think that the integration process is taking a long time. But we want all East Africans to know, understand and own the process,” she noted, adding that the EALSACA games, if strengthened, could help realise that goal.
The regional games, which have been running for the third year running, assemble various sporting teams from the EAC member states as a way of interaction.