- East African citizens are generally becoming more aware that it is the voters’ right and responsibility to make MPs and local government councillors do their jobs. But there are significant differences between countries.
- During the past eight years, Kenyans have made a significant leap in awareness of the political right to hold MPs and councillors accountable.
- By contrast, Tanzanians and Ugandans have lagged behind. In both countries, only a minority of citizens see holding MPs accountable as the voters’ job, and citizens show some signs of surrendering this right to other institutions.
- Burundians are similar to Tanzanians and Ugandans in their views concerning who should hold MPs accountable, but a majority claim the right to hold local government councillors accountable.
One of the critical challenges facing African countries today is how to make governments work for the people – using resources at their disposal efficiently, delivering public goods and services, and guaranteeing an equitable distribution of opportunities and national income among citizens. In many places, systems of checks and balances have not lived up to expectations in making state institutions deliver such public goods. As a result, citizen participation in government oversight is now recognized as almost indispensable.