Exploring official perceptions of the constraints in providing water services to peri-urban settlements in Uganda: a case-study of policy formulation in contemporary Bwaise III Parish
This study focuses on the contradictory ways officials frame the problem of providing water services in Kampala with specific emphasis on the debates about framing of key factors that constrain delivery. Perceptions about and framing of policy issues implicitly suggest the causes of problems. Policy scholars acknowledge that formulating policy is “messy” and that it is about values, and not as “evidence-based” as is often assumed. Using a social constructionist perspective that stresses that perceptions tell one how people define situations, this study demonstrates the often contradictory ways that state officials see public problems. Drawing on debates about rational and muddling-through approaches, the study uses thirty structured questionnaires and several semi-structured in-depth interviews to explore the narratives of government officials regarding policy formulation in water delivery. The thesis found that almost all officials see rapid growth in population density in informal areas coupled with unplanned settlements as the single biggest combined issue inhibiting progress. Officials favoured market-related solutions even though their diagnosis of the problem suggested more concerted and comprehensive public planning of urban development.