Tag Archives governance

Power to the People? The Right to Information Law in Morocco

Power to the People? The Right to Information Law in Morocco

Morocco’s recently enacted Right to Information Law is a potentially powerful tool in the hands of its citizens, but their ability to use it is still largely dependent on the ...

Inside Delhi’s Doorstep Public Services Delivery Scheme by Sushant Anand

Inside Delhi’s Doorstep Public Services Delivery Scheme by Sushant Anand

Informal brokers and middlemen are essential for the delivery of public services in India. In 2018, the government of Delhi launched a programme that seeks to formalise these informal public ...

Reporting or turning a blind eye? Police integrity in Uganda by Wil Hout and Natascha Wagner

Imagine that you are a police officer and witness a close colleague accepting a bribe. Would you report this behaviour or turn a blind eye to it? 600 police officers in Uganda answered similar questions relating to a variety of cases of undesirable police conduct. A series of recent publications by Dr Natascha Wagner and Professor Wil Hout, with ISS alumna Dr Rose Namara, shows that officers who participated in an accountability project were influenced positively in their attitudes towards desirable and undesirable police behaviour.


The arrest of Ugandan musician, businessman and opposition politician Bobi Wine in August 2018 caused world-wide attention to the brutal behaviour of the Ugandan police force. This crackdown on a popular figure in the country added to the already bad reputation of Uganda’s police, which is commonly seen as violent and corrupt.

Democratic theory sees the police, next to the army, as the ‘strong arm’ of the state. These institutions are faced with a ‘paradox of power’: they possess important coercive tools that should be used to protect the state and its citizens, but could also be employed to attack those whom they should protect. For this reason, accountability mechanisms are created to ensure that police behaviour respects the principles of the rule of law. Countries with a robust rule of law mechanism, such as The Netherlands, subject the police to strict political and legal oversight. Police officers who ‘cross the line’ and engage in unacceptable behaviour will likely be punished, although recent reports on the code of silence in the police force in The Hague suggest that this may not always be self-evident.

Similar mechanisms do not apply to the same extent to Uganda, which is widely seen as an imperfect democracy, with many traits of so-called ‘competitive authoritarianism’. The country holds regular elections, but political liberties are seriously impeded by the rulers of the country. President Yoweri Museveni’s regime, which has ruled Uganda since the removal of Obote in 1986, regularly uses the police force to repress oppositional forces that may threaten its hold to power. The recent setup of a Field Force Unit for handling riots and demonstrations, according to some observers, is one example of the militarisation the Ugandan police, and could represent a further step to using the police for regime support.

In this seemingly hostile context, the Police Accountability and Reform Project was implemented by the Ugandese NGO HURINET with the financial help of the Dutch Embassy in Kampala. The project aimed to improve relations between civil society, the media and the police by organising dialogues, and inform the public about the work of the police. These activities were meant to strengthen police accountability mechanisms.

The evaluation department of The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought in a team from ISS to assess, among others, the police accountability project. The ministry was interested to see to what extent its ‘good governance’ policies in various countries had been effective. Our aim in relation to the project on police accountability was to estimate whether it impacted the attitudes of Ugandan police officers. We concluded that the project in all likelihood contributed positively to the attitudes of police officers regarding desirable and undesirable police activities.

Our research project consisted of different activities. One important element was a survey among a large group of police officers, drawn from districts across Uganda, with the help of a dozen cases of police behaviour. Based on earlier research on police integrity, we let police officers evaluate a variety of cases (or ‘vignettes’), among others relating to police officers who take bribes, steal from a burglary site, and refuse to record a complaint about torture by one of the officer’s colleagues, and, to a District Police Commander who orders a violent response to a demonstration, leaving 20 people dead. Police officers who participated in the project appeared on average much more critical about the misbehaviour depicted in the cases, while they were also more likely to report a colleague for misbehaving. They were more inclined to see the behaviour as a violation of official policy and were more supportive of disciplinary action against misbehaving colleagues.

Interviews with 23 police officers, selected from the higher ranks, supported the findings from the survey. Overall, officers who participated in the accountability project had clearer ideas about human rights norms, the proper treatment of arrestees and relations with the community. The responses of those police officers were credible signs of the norm-setting impact of the accountability project.

Overall, our findings show that it pays off to engage police officers in discussions about acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour, even in a difficult environment such as Uganda. Obviously, the spreading of norms about police behaviour is just one element in creating a better functioning police apparatus. A shift in attitudes does not necessarily represent a reversal of behaviour, since the latter is influenced by many factors other than attitudes. The accountability project in Uganda demonstrated the usefulness of working with the police, although longer-term collaboration may be necessary for achieving permanent results. This may be an important lesson for improving police operations in other countries where accountability and rule of law are a concern.


Publications:
Wil Hout, Ria Brouwers, Jonathan Fisher, Rose Namara, Lydeke Schakel and Natascha Wagner (2016) Policy Review Good Governance: Uganda Country Study, Report for the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available at http://hdl.handle.net/1765/102964. This report contains the vignettes that were used in the survey among police officers.
Natascha Wagner and Wil Hout (2019) ‘Police Integrity and the Perceived Effectiveness of Policing: Evidence from a Survey among Ugandan Police Officers’, in Sanja Kutnjak Ivković and M.R. Haberfeld (eds) Exploring Police Integrity: Novel Approaches to Police Integrity Theory and Methodology, New York: Springer, pp. 165-191, available at http://hdl.handle.net/1765/115822.
Natascha Wagner, Wil Hout and Rose Namara (2020, forthcoming) ‘Improving Police Integrity in Uganda: Impact Assessment of the Police Accountability and Reform Project’, Review of Development Economics, available at http://hdl.handle.net/1765/121705.
Wil Hout, Natascha Wagner and Rose Namara (2020, forthcoming) ‘Holding Ugandan Police to Account: Case study of the Police Accountability and Reform Project’, in Sylvia Bergh, Sony Pellissery and Christina Sathyamala (eds) The State of Accountability in the Global South: Challenges and Responses, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, available at http://hdl.handle.net/1765/115862.

_DSC4072-3.jpgAbout the authors:

Wil Hout is Professor of Governance and International Political Economy at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests relate to international political economy, regionalism, development policies and issues of governance and development.

natascha.JPG

 

Natascha Wagner is associate professor of Development Economics at the ISS. Her research interests lie in international economics, development, health and education. She has participated in various impact evaluation projects and large scale data collections in Africa and Asia ranging from public health to good governance and sustainable development.

Governance in the Colombian Amazon: Heavy-handed and lacking coherent policies by Ana María Arbeláez Trujillo

Governance in the Colombian Amazon: Heavy-handed and lacking coherent policies by Ana María Arbeláez Trujillo

The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has been at the forefront of the critiques for his dismissive attitude towards the fires in the Amazon. Although a significant portion of the ...

Brokering India’s public service delivery by Sushant Anand

Brokering India’s public service delivery by Sushant Anand

Informal mediation peopled by brokers, touts, middlemen has over the years embedded itself within public service delivery. Even as they are not within the government system, brokers have come to ...

A zero-waste Philippines is possible by Froilan Grate and Jed Alegado

January is Zero Waste month in the Philippines, celebrating the month in which a law on waste management was signed in 2000. Since the law came into force, various cities and towns in the Philippines have shown leadership in implementing the law. But strong political will and robust policies are needed to ensure that government leaders and an engaged citizenry can transform the Philippines into a zero-waste country.


Five years ago, Presidential Proclamation No. 760, signed by former president Benigno S. Aquino III, officially declared the month of January as Zero Waste Month. The proclamation defined ‘zero waste’ as “an advocacy that promotes designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, and to conserve and recover all resources, and not indiscriminately dispose or burn them.”

Even before the issuance of the proclamation, various nongovernmental organizations in the Philippines have been trying to mainstream zero waste as a goal for our government. In fact, PP 760 traces its roots to the first-ever Zero Waste Youth Convergence organized by Mother Earth Foundation, in which 5,000 youth leaders issued a Zero Waste Youth statement calling for the celebration of a Zero Waste Month.

January was chosen as Zero Waste Month because this was the month when Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, was signed. Many countries around the world have expressed admiration for this landmark Philippine law, as it calls for a decentralised waste and resource management system that also bans waste incinerators.

According to the National Solid Waste Commission, waste in Philippine cities and municipalities is mostly composed of organics (52 percent). Recyclables comprise 28 percent, and residuals (waste that can’t be reused, recycled or composted) 18 percent. Much of the waste (80 percent, which is organics and recyclables combined) can be safely returned to nature or industry without resorting to landfills and incineration.

Through proper segregation, organics can be composted in our homes, schools and offices. In a linear waste management approach, organics are wasted instead of being turned into a resource. Under a zero-waste approach, recyclables are reused and recycled and become a source of livelihood for waste workers as well.

Various cities and towns in the Philippines have shown leadership in implementing the law, hoping to transform into a zero-waste city. A good model is San Fernando, Pampanga, which achieved a 78-percent waste diversion record (or the amount that was composted or recycled instead of going into the landfill) in 2017, from 12 percent in 2012. Tacloban City was also able to increase the coverage of waste collection but managed to decrease the volume of waste sent into landfills.

However, the work does not end at the local government unit (LGU) level. Many LGUs that have already been implementing zero-waste policies need strong support from national government agencies and legislators. They have the power to enable an environment that supports these policies by enacting laws and supporting the implementation of such laws that can scale up the successes of LGUs doing the zero-waste approach.

For instance, cities like San Fernando, Pampanga, that are trying to reduce nonrecyclable plastic waste through local ordinances cannot implement zero waste effectively unless there is a law at the national level to mandate businesses to stop the production of single-use disposable plastic packaging. Having a national law will ensure that materials such as disposable implements or throwaway sachet packaging are not produced in the first place. Thus, it removes the burden from LGUs to have to manage plastic waste that can neither be recycled nor composted.

With strong political will and robust policies in place, government leaders and an engaged citizenry can transform the Philippines into a zero-waste country. The coming midterm elections is an opportune time to ensure that we are on the right track.


This article was originally published in The Inquirer: https://opinion.inquirer.net/119378/a-zero-waste-philippines-is-possible#ixzz5fyE854dE


froilan-1.jpegAbout the authors:

Froilan Grate is the regional coordinator of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Asia-Pacific.

 

kuya jedJed Alegado is the communications officer for Asia-Pacific of #breakfreefromplastic.

 

 

The role of the media in promoting water integrity: the case of Ghana by Abdul-Kudus Husein

The role of the media in promoting water integrity: the case of Ghana by Abdul-Kudus Husein

Ghana's water utilities are undermined by corruption, impeding the ability of millions of Ghanaians to access safe water resources. The media can play an important role in pushing back corruption ...

Emancipatory education in practice: perspectives from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas  by Veriene Melo

Emancipatory education in practice: perspectives from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas by Veriene Melo

Emancipatory education is a platform to humanise and redefine the educational process in liberatory terms. Linking theory and practice from this lens can help us explore the role of education ...