Empowering Communities: AFIC holds community dialogue on Access to Information in Cwero, Paicho Sub-county, Gulu

Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) initiated a community dialogue on access to information on April 26th, 2023 at Cwero, Paicho Sub-county, Gulu district in its efforts to develop citizens’ capacities to seek and use public information.

Community dialogue hosted by AFIC at Cwero, Paicho subcounty, Gulu districton 27th April 2023.

During the discussion, Ooha John, the LC1 of Ajanyi village, stated that the community was experiencing displacement.

Ooha John, the LC1 of Ajanyi village, Paicho sub-county in Gulu district.

They came here to build a transmission line, but they didn’t tell us how it would affect us.” Some of our people were forced to relocate without compensation.” He disclosed.

Olum Micheal, LC 1 of Lalwero village, stated that a year ago, government promisedthem a market, but no information has been provided since then.

Olum Micheal, LC 1 of Lalwero village, Paicho subcounty, Gulu district.

We don’t know what really happened. We only stopped at hearing the promise of the market but we don’t know how to follow up.”

Laywelo nighty, a community member, noted that during the assurgency times, government brought people who occupied their land without being compensated an Acwero camping site.

Laywelo nighty, a community member at Cwero

“We needed to know when and how long these people would be staying, but no one told us anything.”

The other issue that came up in this dialogue was the disappearance of Lakwela village in the register after being in existence for over 50 years.

Olum Micheal, the LC 1 of Lalwero village said this was affecting service delivery since they had no one to account to.

“In the border line before the creation of new sub counties, there was a village Lakwela, which existed for over 50 years but later after the creation of new sub counties, it wasn’t assigned to any of the two. The former one said it belonged to the new sub county and the new said the same of the old sub county.

Charity Komujjurizi, AFIC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Cordinator, explained the community members’ right to information.

Charity Komujjurizi, AFIC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator.

“The Ugandan constitution guarantees every citizen, regardless of age, the right to information.” Article 41 of the constitution, gives a right to follow up on public service delivery.” She noted.

Komujjurizi said, AFIC had engaged the district local leaders on their obligation to give out public information to citizens who request.

“We have trained community monitors in this area whose role is to follow up on government projects. Make use of them to get the information you need on any public service. AFIC will continue to collaborate with communities.”

Africa Freedom for Information Centre educated over ten community monitors in Gulu with money from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to assist in the follow-up of public procurement contracts in their respective communities.

Some of the community monitors trained by Africa freedom of Information Centre.

Members requested that AFIC and the government continue to host community talks and create awareness about the right to information. They requested community training on how to access this information.

Komujjurizi agreed on behalf of AFIC to continue building community capacity to request and access information for better service delivery.

Click here to read our shadow report on the status of implementation of access to information in Uganda.