Posts tagged as: municipality

Legislators Protest As Museveni Asks for More Advisors

Photo: The Observer

President Museveni with wife Janet Museveni (L) and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya

President Museveni has asked Parliament to make room for another 18 presidential advisors in the next financial year.

The move is in keeping with the president’s tradition of shoring up the numbers of his presidential advisors after every election cycle or cabinet reshuffle. However, the request, which would raise the number of presidential advisors from 145 to 163, has met strong opposition from members of Parliament.

According to the 2017/18 ministerial policy statement for the Presidency, the appointment of the 18 presidential advisors will push the wage budget for the advisors up by Shs 28.5bn.

By the time he was sworn-in last year for his fifth elective presidential term, Museveni had 141 advisors. He drafted in four former ministers who lost the February 2016 elections. The 18 new advisors will be appointed on ministerial terms, joining another 12 who were previously appointed on similar terms.

According to the ministerial statement’s executive summary, which is signed by the minister for the Presidency, Esther Mbayo Mbulakubuza, the appointment creates a funding gap of Shs 18.32bn. This is in addition to Shs 2.6bn earmarked to facilitate 10 new resident district commissioners (RDCs) in the newly created districts, plus Shs 150bn to cater for outstanding presidential pledges.

While MPs on the Presidential Affairs committee of Parliament are in agreement with the budget request for the RDCs and presidential pledges, they are not swayed by the president’s request for more ad- visors.

“We have raised these issues with them [the Presidency] but they have not responded. We want to know why they want to increase the number of presidential advisors yet all the many advisors he [Museveni] has never get to meet him,” committee vice chairperson, Susan Amero Amuria Woman), told The Observer on April 24.

“In any case, if they [advisors] ever meet the president, they [ministry for Presidency officials] should tell us what they advise him about when the economy is in such bad shape,” Amero added.

PSEUDO CABINET

Mbayo was not readily available to be interviewed for a comment and the senior presidential press secretary Don Innocent Wanyama declined an interview at the weekend. He instead referred this writer to the ministry of Public Service. Amero, however, said ad- visors appointed on ministerial terms are largely people who Museveni drops from his cabinet.

“They get the same facilitation they were earning as ministers,” Amero said.

Asked why someone is dropped from cabinet, only to continue paying him or her a ministerial salary, Amero said, “That is one of the issues we want them [the Presidency] to explain.”

But opposition MP Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality) accused the president of abusing the budget.

“There are essentially two issues relating to this matter; one is the blatant abuse of the budget by the presidency because the presidency is one of the entities with a bloated budget yet it is one of the known unproductive entities but rather consumptive,” Mpuuga said on Monday.

“The second issue is that the president is using public resources to advance the interests of his party through irregular appointments because while he has the right to appoint people, he has no right to appoint people who are redundant,” the DP politician added.

Mpuuga said the scenario presents a classic case of the president running two cabinets, one which is vetted and works with parliament and another which works in his office.

“The one which works in his office is comprised of presidential advisors and their duty is to advance the interest of his party which to me is tantamount to abuse of public funds. We have ministers quarreling over what to do and he is adding more people,” Mpuuga said.

THE FIGURES

On average, each of the advisors earns a gross monthly salary of Shs 2.3m in addition to a driver who is paid Shs 209,859.

But some advisors like Fred Kaliisa-Kabagambe, the former permanent secretary in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and former first deputy prime minister Henry Muganwa Kajura, bag a monthly salary of Shs 15m, almost seven times more than what former prime minister Apolo Nsibambi and former attorney general Peter Nyombi earn as advisors.

The two earn about Shs 2.3m. The former chairman of Uganda Aids Commission, Vinand Nantulya, also earns Shs 15m a month, Shs 4m higher than what is paid to former Obote-II government Security minister Chris Rwakasisi, former minister for the Presidency Beatrice Wabudeya and Franco Ojur, all of who earn Shs 11.1m.

Museveni’s former private secretaries Mary Amajo and Alice Kaboyo earn Shs 7.3m and Shs 6m respectively for advising the president.

“We advise him to re-use those resources to put medicines in our hospitals and improve staff and remuneration for doctors and teachers,” Mpuuga said.

According to John Mark Agong, a budget policy specialist with Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (Csbag), the money government intends to spend on the advisors could be used to provide free sanitary pads for schoolgirls for eight years as well as capitalise the health insurance scheme for more than 10 years.

“Under health, there is need for Shs 45bn for sanitary towels to keep the girls at school, the health insurance scheme needs more than Shs 10bn for startup, which money is not available,” Agong said.

The money, Agong said, is several times more than the Shs 60bn that will be cut off the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) budget next financial year, which could be used to fight armyworms that are destroying maize plantations across the country.

“No substantial investment has been put to fight army-worms, which are destroying maize crops across the country, which has more than 70 percent of its population depending on agriculture,” Agong said.

Like Mpuuga, Agong argued that money spent on the presidential advisors should instead be spent on provision of small-scale irrigation kits.

“Operation Wealth Creation is distributing farm inputs that need elements of value addition if the farmers are to get returns from their efforts. Adoption of the technologies by the farmers is still low and it will require resources to disseminate these technologies,” Agong argued.

Murdered University Student’s Mother Calls for Quick Trial

By Juliet Kigongo

Kampala — The mother of the 22-year-old university student of Ndejje University, who was allegedly killed by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) boss’ son Brain Bagyenda, has cried out to court for a speedy trial. Ms Esther Mirembe made the call after the State prosecutor, Ms Joyce Anyango, asked for an adjournment of the case, saying investigations into the case were still incomplete.

Mr Bagyenda, son to ISO director Col Frank Bagyenda Kaka (rtd), is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Enid Twijukye, an International Relations student of Ndejje University whose body was dumped in Seeta in Mukono District.

Mr Bagyenda, a pharmacist, appeared with his two co-accused, Mr Innocent Bainomugisha and Mr Vincent Rwahwire who were working at his home in Luzira. They were represented by their lawyer, Mr Fred Erisata.

“If the suspect in his charge and caution statement accepted that he murdered my daughter, we do not know what they are still investigating,” Ms Mirembe told journalists after the adjournment of the case.

She said it is very expensive for her and the family to travel to court only for the case to be mentioned.

Mr Bagyenda was further remanded to Luzira prison until May 9 when his case comes up again for mention. Murder is a capital offence only tried by the High Court.

Twijukye lived with her sister in Namugongo, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District and on the eve of the fateful day, she left home and told her sister she was going to visit someone in Bweyogerere.

The arrests

On January 18, police arrested Bagyenda and two other accomplices after telephone print-outs from the mobile phone of the deceased showed that he was the last person she frequently called before she disappeared mysteriously.

Police recovered Twijukye’s decomposing body dumped in Namanve forest; 11Kms away from the scene of crime after the family had reported about their missing child.

Efforts to get a comment from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Jane Kajuga, were futile as she never answered our repeated calls.

Uganda

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Uganda: Council Want Kaguta Road Reconstructed

By Perez Rumanzi

Ntungamo — Ntungamo Municipal Council officials have cited poor workmanship on Kaguta Road and want some sections of the road reconstructed.

The Mayor of Ntungamo Municipality, Mr Jacob Kafureka, the town clerk, Mr Christopher Ahimbisibwe, and councillors said some sections of the road were constructed in a way that makes some parts of the town inaccessible while others are not compatible with the town plan.

Works on the 1.3 kilometre Kaguta Road are part of Ntungamo-Mirama Hills road construction project contracted to Zhongmei Construction Company.

“When you look at the way the road has been done, it makes doing business in the town difficult yet our aim is to facilitate this in the most easy and convenient way,” said Mr Ahimbisibwe.

He was speaking at a meeting between officials from Ntungamo council, Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) and Zhongmei Construction Company at the Municipal Council Hall on Wednesday.

The meeting was called after a section of the councillors petitioned the executive director of Unra over the road’s poor design and workmanship.

The council authorities want roundabouts fixed at the Mirama Hills Road and Kaguta-Mbarara Road junctions. Mr Elias Kakyafu, the Kyamate ward councillor, said without a roundabout and widening of the road at the Mirama Hill Road junction, there will be a rise in accidents.

Mr Kafureka blamed the poor workmanship on Unra saying several earlier pleas by council officials to meet them and the contractor over the matter fell on deaf ears. He said the meeting has come when the work is almost complete.

The Unra project engineer, Mr Paddy Ahimbisibwe, however, said most of the demands by the council were not captured in the original contract and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

However, the municipal authorities said they have never signed a MoU with the contractor and neither did they know that there was such a requirement.

The public relations officer of Zhongmei, Ms Dorris Amutuheire, said the contractor followed technical drawings of the road, and that it will only be redone when the contract has been reviewed.

Uganda

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Albino Children Abandon School Due to Stigma

By James Owich

Gulu — Two primary school pupils with albinism were forced to abandon education for one year due to unending stigma by fellow pupils. Daniel Rubangakene, 13, and his sister Rebecca Masala, 14, could not stand the endless taunts by fellow pupils and decided to drop out of school. The duo were studying from one of the schools in Paicho Sub-county in Gulu District.

Both Rubangakene and Masala were born with a condition which reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and the eye. Rubangakene, a Primary Three pupil, says they suffered emotional and psychological pain because of their skin colour. “We could not take it anymore and decided to quit,” he said.

Masala on the other hand says her skin complexion has been a subject of debate among pupils with many questioning why she is white.

“I wanted to get rid of the psychological pain I was being subjected to,” she said.

Ray of hope

However, there is a sigh of relief after a local non-governmental organisation, Galaxy Poets of northern Uganda in partnership with People Help People, a German-based organisation, relocated the siblings to another school in Gulu Municipality. Mr James Onono Ojok, the chairperson for the organisation, noted that people with albinism are stigmatised because society hardly understands their situation.

“Government should support children with such a condition especially in the areas of education and safety,” Mr Ojok said.

The mother of the siblings, Ms Hellen Akech, expressed relief, saying she is confident her children will now concentrate on their studies. She says her children were quite often referred to as pigs, among other insults, and were always looked at as aliens. The head teacher Gulu Prisons Primary School where the children have been relocated, Mr Christopher Charles Opira, told Daily Monitor that the school has adequate skilled teachers trained on how to handle pupils with special needs.

Ms Irene Lajwee, one of the special needs teachers, says she will ensure Masala and Rubangakene get genuine friends who will not taunt them on account of their colour.

There are about 8,725 albinos in Uganda out of the more than 34 million population, according to African Albino Foundation Uganda.

Uganda

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’50 Percent Couples in Mbale Have Multiple Partners’

Photo: Michael Kaloki/RNW

(file photo).

By Fred Wambde

Mbale — More than 50 per cent of couples in Mbale District have long-term relationships with multiple sex partners, findings from the HIV/Aids 2016 report have revealed.

Speaking to Daily Monitor about the findings, the district HIV/Aids focal person, Mr Robert Wandwasi, said out of the 50 per cent couples with multiple sex partners, only 50 per cent of them use condoms.

Mr Wandwasi noted that 3.8 per cent of them regularly use condoms in the right way as 46.2 per cent are exposed to infections as they use them as and when available.

According to the report, there are many men with multiple partners compared to women. This, Mr Wandwasi said, has made it difficult to prevent the spread of the virus in the district.

“To make matters worse, there is low response towards HIV testing and counseling services in the district,” he said.

Although the HIV positivity rate stands at 3 per cent in the district, Mr Wandwasi said the infection rate will rise because of the big number of people with multiple sex partners.

The report also revealed that the level of HIV literacy among locals in rural areas is still wanting as more couples continue to give birth to HIV positive children since only 49.4 per cent mothers deliver from health centres. “The knowledge on Prevention from Mother To Child Transmission especially in rural areas is still low and the community including political and religious leaders do not talk about the programme,” he said.

However, the Mbale Municipality deputy speaker, Mr Yasin Wabomba, blamed the problem on moral degeneration among communities.

Mr Wabomba called upon the district health office and other stakeholders to carry out community sensitisation in order to deal with the issue. Currently, the HIV prevalence rate in the country according to the Uganda Aids survey, is 7.3 per cent from 6.4 per cent the previous year.

Uganda

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No Gender Equity Yet in Top Leadership

Photo: The Citizen

Parliament (file photo).

By Lilian Lucas

Morogoro — Tanzania’s support for the international resolution on gender equality with specific regard to leadership positions is well documented; however, its implementation in Morogoro Region is still not many a woman’s dream.

The resolution by the UN has set a goal to reach the 50-50 ratio gender equality between women and men by the 2030.

Out of the seven districts, five are led by men as District Commissioners whereas the remaining two, Gairo and Morogoro are under female leadership by Siriel Mchemba and Regina Chonjo respectively.

The statistics put the number of the women DCs at a negligible 28 per cent of the total number of all the DCs in the region.

The gender imbalance in the region extends to other positions such as the council directors. Out of the nine positions, eight are held by men with Gairo as the only exception where Agnes Mkandya is the director.

The position of district administrative secretary is also a male dominated area with only Morogoro Rural where Ms Ruth John is an exception.

This, according to some observers is a step backwards considering the strides that were made in the Fourth Phase administration under President Jakaya Kikwete.

By the time he left office in 2015 Morogoro had two women district council directors, Azimina Mbilinyi of Kilombero and Isabela Chilumba in Ulanga equivalent to 29 per cent.

The region had attained a 50-50 ratio in the DC positions, with three out of the six commissioners being women.

Women DCs were in the districts of Mvomero, Ulanga and Gairo while Morogoro, Kilombero and Kilosa were led by men.

Of the districts that were lucky to taste female leadership, Mvomero has had three female DCs who included Hawa Ng’umbi, Fatuma Mwasa and Betty Mkwasa.

The other women DCs were Halima Dendegu who was in Kilosa before becoming the Mtwara Regional Commissioner, Hanifa Karamagi and Christina Mndeme who was in Ulanga before she was appointed Dodoma DC.

Parliamentary positions

The poor ratio between women and men in leadership positions is not only with the Presidential appointees, but also in elective positions .

Out of 11 constituencies in Morogoro, only Mlimba in Kilombero is led by a woman MP Susan Kiwanga (Chadema).

Even with the addition of two women representatives Dr Christine Ishengoma (CCM) and Devotha Minja (Chadema), still the number of women stands at a dismal 23 per cent.

At grassroots, too, women have not been spared as even there the positions are still dominated by their male counterparts.

An analysis conducted by this paper on councillor positions within Morogoro Municipality shows that out of 29 wards in the municipality, only four are led by women.

Out of the 10 councillors in the Morogoro District Council, nine come from CCM with Chadema taking the remaining seat showing growing women representation by over one third.

Gairo District Council Director Agnes Mkandya says she believes in herself and that the position that she holds has made her stronger than before.

“The council is performing better than before; earnings have increased by several folds under my leadership. I work well with my executives from the grassroots,” says Mkandya.

Gairo District Commissioner Siriel Nchemba says when women work hard they can reach greater heights even with all the odds against them.

Her office has been at the forefront in educating women on how to form entrepreneurial groups and issues of marketing and production.

Public service

The past and present administrations have been making efforts to involve women in various sectors including forming policies and planning the country’s development.

Several women have hold sensitive positions including Parliament, Cabinet, Local Government, boards of corporations and public institutions, political parties and various trade unions and electoral commissions.

However, statistics from the Ministry of State in the President’s (Management and Good Governance) Office indicate that upto last year the number of women leaders in public service from ministerial to councillorship positions stood at some 28 per cent.

Some women were keen on being offered leadership positions in the fifth phase government so that they can be part of the country’s decision making machinery.

Their call to President John Magufuli was to increase the number of women holding leadership positions in the government.

Angela Leonard says many women appointed to hold leadership positions have done well in the past with a track record that is quite impeccable especially when it comes to honesty.

“In Morogoro Region this time around there are very few women leaders, both appointed and elected. Personally, I see the male chauvinism reigning more than the past administrations. I don’t know how the other regions are faring,” says Angela Leonard.

The journey towards 50-50

The Parliament has been advocating for more women to be at the level of decision making, a struggle that started over 30 years ago.

In the 1980s, Bunge made the decision to allocate 10 per cent of Parliamentary seats to women.

That number has been steadily increasing from one phase to another because of Special Seats, which have been constitutionally created.

By December last year, there were 141 women MPs out of 380, taking the ratio to 37-63

The Director of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa), Edda Sanga, told The Citizen that the issue of gender equality, depended on the one with the mandate of making decisions.

“These things largely depend upon one era after another. We cannot compare between the past and the present because there have been great changes now and it is possible that our president has strategies of his own about this matter. So, let’s wait and see,” says Ms Sanga.

At a time when women activist seem to be silent, Ms Sanga says this shouldn’t be mistaken for being dormant because they are busy watching what the government is doing.

“There is constant follow-up on the stand of the head of state,” she says. Morogoro Paralegal Centre (MPLC) director Flora Masoy believes it is more of a mindset issue which she says has to change if at all women are to register further success at various levels.

Masoy says there is still need to raise voices concerning the necessity to have more women in leadership positions.

However, she says the beginning is always difficult and that the issue of gender equality may change in the coming days

“I don’t think if the president has any ill intention. Let’s keep waiting things could be fine. I know it will take time to make this happen,” says Masoy.

To Understand Why Economy Is Failing, Look At the Otafiires

Photo: New Vision

Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Major General Kahinda Otafiire (file photo).

opinionBy Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

It is budgeting time in parliament. To allow consideration of sector budgets, the speaker suspended the sitting of parliament (plenary) to an unknown date.

The suspension is to allow MPs attend committee meetings that are scrutinizing budgets for various ministries and public institutions.

Each ministry is allocated money according to the importance that the president attaches to it. The ministry of finance theoretically develops a criterion each year, according to the priorities of government (Mr Museveni).

This year, Mr Museveni thinks his government will collect Shs 15 trillion from Ugandans (taxpayers) and borrow or receive grants worth Shs 13 trillion. That is why the budget has been revised from Shs 30 trillion to Shs 28 trillion. In fact, many sectors will receive less money than they received this financial year.

The Constitution, Public Finance Management Act and other laws require government to present this budget to parliament for approval before it is read to the country. The reading by the finance minister is a mere ceremony.

Like the finance ministry, parliament theoretically has powers to revise this budget. Unfortunately, we, at parliament, work on the projections by the finance ministry. They are the ones who claimed next year’s budget would be Shs 30 trillion and, again, they are the ones that revised it to Shs 28 trillion.

Of course parliament can reduce or increase amounts allocated to a certain sector, but with NRM majority, that is also difficult. That, in a way, reduces our efforts into another ceremony. For us in the opposition, we make proposals, but they are treated like talk show opinions.

It is, therefore, under this arrangement that the justice and constitutional affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, appeared before our committee on legal and parliamentary affairs last week.

To his credit, Otafiire, a generally nice guy, kept time as he arrived at 10am for an 11 o’clock meeting. Otafiire likes jokes. After cracking some in the corridors of parliament, he asked for the venue of the meeting. I teased him that how could a person like him, who has spent his entire adult life in parliament and government, be so ignorant about where the legal committee sits.

“I came here long ago. Now there are all sorts of creatures like you,” he shot back.

We later met in the committee and the light moments continued. Ministers such as Otafiire represent three fundamental things. First, they have served up to the last drop of their energy. They are, therefore, extremely tired and fatigue is written all over their faces.

Otafiire was born on December 29, 1950. He is, therefore, 67 years old. He has been either head of a security organization or a minister in this 31-year-old government. He was part of the five-year Luweero war that brought this government to power.

Although contested, Otafiire claims he is a member of the Front for National Salvation (Fronasa) formed in 1971 to fight the Idi Amin government. That means he has been in public life for nearly half a century. Even if he was born a superstar, his body is tired. He is one of those photographed frequently dozing during national functions. With him, you can understand why retirement age in public service is 60 years.

That is the point I made when we were vetting the appointment of my friend Dr Ruhakana Rugunda as prime minister. Rugunda, now coordinator and supervisor of all government programmes by virtue of being prime minister, was born in 1947. He is now 70 years old. These men are no longer looking for school fees for their children.

I have nothing against old people. In fact, my father is now over 90 years old, but we cannot place our country on their tired shoulders. And even if they were not old, they have lost the drive to serve. And that is why it is common to see Otafiire laughing even when a serious matter is raised.

They have no drive to work because they have already lived their future as well. And their boss, Mr Museveni, will officially make 73 years in September.

And as they celebrate their 73rd, 70th, 68th, or 80th birthdays, they are reporting a failing economy to parliament. Of course they work with youthful and young people, but these are mere self-seekers, referred to as aides. The real drivers are the Jjajjas.

They set themselves no targets; if they do, they ignore them within days. That is why Dr Stella Nyanzi is in Luzira prison. Her crime is that she reminded them of the sanitary pads campaign pledge, of course using vulgar language. And it is the vulgar language that they saw and used as an excuse to send her to Luzira for pointing out their flaws.

I spent the Easter holiday in my village Bijaaba, in Kyazanga, and old age is doing wonders there. Trees have started growing on what used to be bare hills.

Reason: the owners of the land have aged and can no longer climb to plant maize and beans there. Of course, banana wilt has also demoralized this once-famous banana-growing area.

With the population growing, it is not possible that we will continue sharing the little the old people are able to produce. Restructuring of administration should have started yesterday. Can the old people be kind enough and retire now?!

The author is Kira Municipality MP.

Councils Trapped in Sh265 Billion Lawsuits

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — Local government authorities (LGAs) across the country are entangled in legal suits that could cost them close to Sh265 billion, the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed in his latest report.

According to the report tabled in Parliament last week, 115 LGAs are currently facing 1,206 lawsuits, and will have to settle claims totaling Sh264.92 billion in compensation should they lose against their complainants.

This could pose a serious financial challenge to the local government authorities, which have perennial financial struggles.

In the 2015/16 fiscal year, the annual CAG general report shows, cases against LGAs at various courts increased to 810, a significant increase by 396 suits in 12 months.

However, the latest report shows a drop by Sh57.85 billion in compensation claims compared to 2014/15. Previously, 108 LGAs faced Sh322.77 billion lawsuits.

Financial woes

In his report, the CAG, Prof Mussa Assad, expressed concerns that the several legal cases ensnaring local government authorities could escalate the financial woes that have perennially bedevilled councils, in the event that the courts ruled in the favour of complainants.

According to the report, 29 LGAs have categorised Sh111,63 billion in 390 cases as contingent liabilities. But Sh153.29 billion being claimed in 259 other cases in 86 LGAs was not disclosed as contingent liabilities in financial statements.

“Contingent liabilities may have a material effect on the financial resources of respective LGAs as there is a risk of paying substantial amounts in the future if those cases are decided in favour of the complainants,” reads part of the report.

Compounding local government authorities’ woes is the fact that they do not have adequate legal experts to professionally handle the lawsuits burden. This leads to poor representation in courts and raises the risk of losing the legal battle, the CAG notes.

“I also noted that many of these filed cases relate to the termination of contracts between LGAs and contractors; and land disputes,” the CAG noted in the report.

Kinondoni leads the pack with 171 cases in which a total of Sh31.56 billion is being claimed by the various complainants, followed by Ilala Municipality, which recorded 85 cases requiring Sh32.57 billion in compensation.

Tanga City Council has 56 cases (Sh22.77 billion) and Mbeya Council 53 cases (Sh13.54 billion).

Mafia has only five cases, but faces an exceptional burden to settle claims worth Sh50.16 billion should it lose the lawsuits. Mtwara Municipal Council has 13 cases (Sh17.47 billion) and Monduli District Council 17 cases worth Sh16.00 billion.

District councils with the lowest amounts being demanded in compensation include Bukoba Municipality (41 cases) worth Sh1.87 billion, Kondoa DC with eight cases worth Sh1.75 billion, Musoma Municipal with 42 cases, requiring Sh1.45 billion, and Kibaha District Council (18 cases) worth Sh1.41 billion.

In his recommendations, the CAG has told local government authorities to avoid new lawsuits, and stay out trouble by complying with rules and regulations governing their operations.

“They are also recommended to closely follow-up on the case proceedings and ensure outstanding issues are dealt with and finalised within a considerable period of time,” the CAG said.

He has also advised local government authorities to consider out-of-court settlements to avoid the risk of paying compensation, fines and or penalties in the event that that the courts fail to rule in their favour.

The CAG also suggested that local government authorities strengthen their legal departments and ensure that all legal issues are professionally addressed.

Who Is to Blame for Musumba’s Misfortunes in Kamuli Elections?

Photo: The Observer

Proscovia Salaamu Musumba.

By Opio Sam Caleb & Isaac Mufumba

Dead bodies, wounded fighters, mangled pieces of steel protruding from shells of bombed out buildings, debris and shattered glass strewn across burnt out compounds constitute some of the first pieces of evidence of the ravages of war.

Kamuli Municipality too has just emerged from a war, but it has been one of a different nature. The evidence is, therefore, different.

It is constituted of crushed pieces of essanja (dry banana leaves), empty plastic cups, and drained out plastic sachets of cheap alcohol and empty cooking oil drenched paper bags strewn over some of the streets to which supporters of the ruling NRM took on Wednesday evening to celebrate their victory over the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

Ms Rehema Watongola was declared winner of Wednesday’s by-elections with 8,726 votes, while the FDC candidate, Ms Salaamu Musumba, came second with 5,778 votes.

The other three candidates, all of them Independents, were Prossy Naikoba Kanakutanda who polled 169 votes, Michael Kiboome who polled 103 votes and Samuel Walujo who pulled the proverbial tail with 63 votes.

The election had been called after the High Court in Jinja annulled Ms Watongola’s February 2016 victory over lack of requisite academic qualifications. An attempt to overturn the ruling in the Court of Appeal did not succeed, which led the Electoral Commission (EC) into calling another election.

Musumba, who had led the legal challenge that led to the annulment of last year’s election was jovial and oozing with confidence for most of the campaign.

The arrival of Dr Kizza Besigye, who still commands quite a huge following in Busoga sub-region, in Kamuli on Monday, seemed to throw the ruling NRM into a panic. This was evident in initial attempts to block his entry into Kamuli.

Even when there was a rethink, the NRM still came out looking even more panicky when the police attempted to force him not to use the Jinja-Kamuli highway on grounds that it was to be used by the President’s convoy.

FDC supporters smelt blood and went for the final onslaught.

Despite the colossal sums of money spent on “mobilising” the populace to turn up for the finally rally which was to be addressed by among others the party’s chairman, President Museveni, the population seemed to prefer to attend the FDC rally.

Dr Besigye was quick to cash in on the imbalance between the two camps to urge the FDC supporters to do all in their power to overcome “the oppressors”.

“This is a peoples war, they have the machinery, money, we have the people so it is a matter of time, so we need to place our people in advance in there,” he urged.

The levels of enthusiasm exhibited by rival supporters as they left their parties’ respective rallies seemed to suggest that the NRM was headed for a defeat, but that was never to be. Why?

What went wrong

Developments like the surprise showing up of her husband, State minister for Urban Development Isaac Musumba, at her rivals’ campaign rallies had not been envisaged. One could, therefore, not have planned to mitigate its effects, but some scenarios could have been either nipped in the bud or countered.

The Basoga say, “n’omugezi awubwa” (even the wise are susceptible to occasional errors in judgement). That seems to have been Ms Musumba’s cup in this particular election. Ms Musumba and the entire FDC seemed to forget that elections in most parts of Busoga and the rest of the country are won on mostly trivialities and not issues.

Had they paid closer attention to Kamuli’s political history, they would perhaps not have made the provision of quality representation for the people of Kamuli central to their campaign message.

Despite the fact that the district has had quite a number of highly educated people occupying elective office, once in a while a not so highly educated person emerges and dominates the political scene. That was evidenced in the late 1990s when the late Kawugu Kawoya Mugaino emerged to challenge the status quo.

Despite having been duly nominated, he was disqualified from participating in the 2001 elections over lack of requisite qualifications. That allowed his lone challenger, Mr Karoli Baligeya Isabirye, to sail through unopposed.

The deceased was, however, one of those men who drew inspiration from the American Civil War General, George Armstrong Custer, who believed that, “it is not how many times you get knocked down that count, it is how many times you get back up”.

He bounced back to defeat Aggrey Bangu in 2008, but in April the same year he was sent packing after the High Court ruled that he was not qualified to lead the district.

He won back the seat during the 2011 local council elections, but was once again ejected in December 2011.

If others believe that “disability is not inability”, the late Mugaino believed that “poor education does not mean failed leadership”. That went down well with the populace, most of whom were actually never more qualified than himself.

Ms Musumba’s campaign team seemed to forget that the population has not undergone any serious transformation since the days of the late Mugaino. They are still of the same low levels of education and would, therefore, have found it easy to identify with someone like themselves. In Ms Watongola, who was not laying any claim to high levels of education, they had found such a person. An attack on her was deemed to be one on them.

“When a toothless mother resorts to abusing and beating the innocent child especially one who resembles the father, she is merely abusing or beating the husband so they are abusing you who have not gone to school, who come for my pilau and are poor to love me because of chairs, tents but this is our level and I am the one who knows your basic needs,” became Ms Watongola’s message at all campaign rallies.

One other factor that could have been misread was the Muslim card. Muslim community is quite sizeable in number. While Ms Salaamu Musumba’s husband, minister Isaac Musumba, is a Muslim, she remains a practicing Catholic.

While the Catholic leadership in the district were missing in action during her campaigns, the same could not be said of the Muslim leadership in Ms Watongola’s campaigns. They were more than visible, especially during her last campaign at Butemire Primary School.

However, it will most probably come down to a question of consistency or the lack of it. It had been known right from 2001 when Dr Besigye emerged to challenge Mr Museveni on the Reform Agenda ticket, that Ms Musumba was “in agreement” with the reformists.

It had not been until the formation of the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) early in the years of the 7th Parliament that Ms Musumba, jumped out of the political closet. It was, therefore, little wonder that she was one of the founder members of FDC and contested subsequent elections on the party’s ticket.

In all, Ms Musumba has contested nine different elections. Three of those elections (Constituent Assembly elections March 1994, 1996 and 2001 parliamentary elections) were under the no party Movement system, while the rest (2006 parliamentary elections, 2008 LC5 by-elections, 2011 parliamentary elections, 2012 LC5 by-elections and 2016 parliamentary elections and 2017 Kamuli Municipality parliamentary by-elections) have been under a multiparty political dispensation.

Ms Musumba won four of the nine races she participated in, winning just once in her last four elections.

She represented Bugabula South twice as MP and became LC5 chairperson in the 2012 by-election after losing in the 2011 general election.

The tone of the campaign messages have, however, been changing. In the period between 2006 and a few months before the 2008 by-elections, Ms Musumba believed that the NRM government had nothing to offer Busoga sub-region.

“When they see different sets of convoys with lead cars, one going to Bugweri County (home of Second Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja) and another going to Kamuli (home district of Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga), they think that Busoga is okay! No we are not okay,” she was always known to complain.

The message has, however, mellowed ever since 2012 when she warmed up to Ms Kadaga in order to win the Kamuli LC5 by-elections.

In 2014, she was part of President Museveni’s entourage to the Vatican, which sparked off rumours that she had crossed to the ruling NRM, but back home her alliance with Ms Kadaga collapsed. This compelled her to announce that she was to contest against her, which did not materialise.

Nevertheless, this had left many in her own party wondering about her principles game plan and whether she is still working for the party.

“Musumba stole the flag from me. She is confused and doesn’t know what she wants. She even failed to build FDC party structures when she was the LC5 chairperson,” Ms Prossy Naikoba says.

That, plus the conspicuous absence of the FDC president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, and other top local FDC honchos like Mr Paul Mwiru and Mr Abdu Katuntu, might be a pointer at the fact that the hobnobbing with Mr Museveni and other NRM people have left her in an awkward position.

She is neither trusted at home nor yonder. What next then for Ms Salaamu Musumba?

“I will talk to myself and decide the next course of action after the Easter holiday,” she said moments after her latest defeat.

Kamuli and the nation are waiting, watching the space.

Besigye influence

The arrival of Dr Kizza Besigye, who still commands quite a huge following in Busoga sub-region, in Kamuli on Monday, seemed to throw the ruling NRM into a panic. This was evident in initial attempts to block his entry into Kamuli.

Even when there was a rethink, the NRM still came out looking even more panicky when the police attempted to force him not to use the Jinja-Kamuli highway on grounds that it was to be used by the President’s convoy.

FDC supporters smelt blood and went for the final onslaught.

Despite the colossal sums of money spent on “mobilising” the populace to turn up for the finally rally which was to be addressed by among others the party’s chairman, President Museveni, the population seemed to prefer to attend the FDC rally.

Dr Besigye was quick to cash in on the imbalance between the two camps to urge the FDC supporters to do all in their power to overcome “the oppressors”.

The levels of enthusiasm exhibited by rival supporters as they left their parties’ respective rallies seemed to suggest that the NRM was headed for a defeat, but that was never to be.

War On Corruption Rages As Minister Divides MPs

Photo: Dominic Bukenya/Daily Monitor

Members of parliament.

By Ibrahim a Manzil

President Yoweri Museveni’s determination to disprove critics of his controversial Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo this week had junior Labour minister Herbert Kabafunzaki tilt the scale in his favour.

The minister’s arrest at a Kampala hotel for allegedly taking a bribe from Sudanese businessman Muhammad Hamid expectedly divided the August House.

Mr Hamid admitted Mr Museveni’s involvement in the arrest, which comes a week after Parliament’s National Economy Committee released its report on the state of the national economy.

The report painted a bleak picture of the economy, noting “a slowdown in growth of the manufacturing sector and dismal growth in the agricultural sector. Over the years, productions of goods and services have been on a decline in terms of nominal term from 26.4 per cent in financial year 2011/2012 to 8.5 per cent in financial year 2015/2016.”

“Growth continues to be largely driven by final consumption, which was 86 per cent of GDP. This implies that investments and net exports contribute only 14 per cent,” reads the report in part, which underscores the need to strengthen production capabilities of the economy.

The implications are clear; that investments need to be taken seriously and corruption weeded out. To up our regional competitive advantage as a destination for investments, no further call is needed to emphasise the need to fight extortionist tendencies on prospective investors by corrupt officials.

Whereas President Museveni apparently offered Mr Kabafunzaki and the ministry of Finance officials as dinner for critics who were longing for the ‘big fish’, the thirst for more synchronised, systematic efforts against corruption cannot be substituted by such actions.

Before President Museveni asked the minister to step aside on Friday to allow investigations into the case, there had been calls for Kabafunzaki to resign or face censure, with Ethics minister Simon Lokodo saying Kabafunzaki’s resignation “is the honourable and the right thing to do”.

Voices calling for the minister’s resignation believed such efforts would incrementally add ounces of energy on the fight against corruption whereas critics believe it was merely a public relations charade meant to hoodwink and disrupt the forces fighting corruption.

One such critic, Kira Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said: “I don’t want to be blinded by what government is doing to cover up for Aya dealings. All what is available is that he went to the hotel but you don’t see him taking the money. The whole story could be a PR stunt.”

National Resistance Movement caucus vice chairperson Solomon Silwany supports the directive for the minister “step aside because once allegations are made against you, it is the right thing to do”.

He adds that the caucus is bidding their time and is waiting for the allegations to be confirmed, upon which they (caucus) “will censure him with immediate effect”.

Masaka Municipality’s Mathias Mpuuga said Kabafunzaki’s continued holding of the ministerial position was an embarrassment to the nation.

In this controversy lies the enormous task in the fight against corruption, and one clear issue is that the efforts against the vice must be institutional.

President Museveni’s good intentions notwithstanding, the multitude of institutions created by law and funded by taxpayers to fight the vice should do their work.

Whereas the appetite to reap political dividends on the anti-graft fight is high, caution must be employed not to have these meaningful efforts crowded by voices of partisanship and political expediency.

Budget underway

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, cognisant of the timeline prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act 2015, last week suspended plenary “to enable the sectoral Committees to work on the budget; work of standing committees are also suspended.”

MPs are now in marathon meetings considering budgets of ministries and self-accounting institutions of central government.

With the National Economy Committee reporting a decline in economic growth and renewed efforts against corruption, MPs will now approach the Shs29 trillion budget appropriation processes having plenty of useful side notes.

The legislators’ first acid test again is on the fact that the Shs29 trillion budget, which is 75.4 per cent domestic financed, seeks to allocate Shs17.4 trillion to recurrent expenditure and Shs11.5 trillion in development expenditure.

Should recurrent expenditure continue to stubbornly overlap development expenditure? The MPs have slightly over a month on their hand to answer that question.

In an apparent response to the low levels of agriculture productivity, Finance minister Matia Kasaija has already brought for consideration of Parliament a raft of amendments that, if blessed by Parliament, will see Value Added Tax lifted on a cocktail of agricultural inputs.

Most will be on irrigation tools, an apparent response to the drought that drove several parts of the country into famine.

Traders who have perennially complained of rent hikes are now counting on Parliament for relief as minister Kasaija has brought forth proposals to have rent prescribed by the minister.

The minister proposes an amendment to Section 5 of the Income Tax Act by creating sub section 4) to read “For the purposes of assessing rental tax under this section, the minister shall, by statutory instrument, prescribe estimates of rent based on the rating of the rental property in a specified location.”

Should Parliament approve the amendments, then the new law will empower the Finance minister to “issue estimates of rent for the purposes of assessing rental tax”.

May 31 is the deadline prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act 2015, and taxpayers have their eyes fixed on the 10th Parliament’s maiden budget approval.

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