FACTORS INFLUENCING THE PARTICIPATION OF SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS IN DECISION-MAKING AT THE LOWER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN UGANDA: A CASE OF KITGUM DISTRICT
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This study set out to establish the factors affecting the participation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in decision-making at the Lower Local Government level. It was carried out in Kitgum town Council and selected sub counties. The study was prompted by the need to assess the relationship between training and participation, culture and participation and the legal framework and participation of special interest groups in decision-making. The study was guided by a case study design and data were collected using self administered questionnaires, interview guide and document review checklist. The key findings were that some interest groups did not understand the decision making process. The ability of the special interest groups to deliberate during decision making process was limited; the majority did not clearly articulate their strategic needs to influence policy decisions. The study concluded that training, cultural practices and the legal framework significantly affect the level of participation of Special Interest Groups in decision making at the Lower local Governments. From the conclusions, it was recommended that Government needs to invest in training of SIGs to enhance their ability to participate in decision making. In addition, there is need to sensitize the public about the role of SIGs in decision-making and the need to enhance policy making process to ensure that the SIGs are socially protected and relevant provisions in the Constitution and enabling laws enforced.