By: Ismael Kasooha
There were disagreements between members of Parliament and Local Government leaders over the use of funds sent by the Central Government, especially the road infrastructure sector.
During an accountability meeting organized by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Nabbanja’ Robinah held at Mukono District Headquarters, Members of Parliament pointed fingers at the District Executive Committees for sidelining them while executing their duties contrary to the law.
The Office of the Prime Minister is moving across the country to assess the status of service delivery and also establish the gaps to improve on service delivery to benefit the public and ensure value for money.
The Members of Parliament including the Mukono District Woman Member of Parliament, Hanifah Nabukeera, Mukono South MP, Fred Kayondo and Nakifuma County MP, Fred Ssimbwa accused the District Chairman, Rev. Dr. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa of planting himself as the District Roads Committee Chairperson and not convening a meeting as the law puts it.
On Friday, Nabbanja convened a meeting that was attended by the political and public servants from the districts of Greater Mukono Region that includes Mukono, Buikwe, Kayunga and Buvuma. Chief Administrative Officers, District Chairpersons, Resident District Commissioners, Sub-county, Municipality and Division Mayors and Councilors also attended.
The MPs pinned chairperson Bakaluba for self-appointment as chairperson of the District Roads Committee yet he is the District LC V Chairperson.
MPs Kayondo and Ssimbwa told Nabbanja that for over one and a half years they have spent in parliament, they had never been invited to attend any meeting of the committee on roads where their participation is mandatory.
“We don’t know how Bakaluba came out as the chairperson of the committee and who voted for him as we would be the ones to have elected him,” wondered Ssimbwa.
He added: “The chairpersonship is also supposed to rotate among members after a term of one year, it is now over one and a half, how come it is the same person still holding the same position!”
Bakaluba tried to explain to the meeting that because of too much passion he had to have the roads in the district worked upon, he wanted himself to steer the committee and things were moving on steadily.
The Secretary for Finance and Works, Councilor Samuel Odongo faulted the MPs saying they had abandoned some of their mandatory roles including attending the council sessions where most of the plans to be fulfilled by the district are passed.
“Imagine, none of these MPs has got the district five year proposed plan. It’s high time they revise the way they perform their roles instead of showing their weaknesses here before the public,” Odongo said.
Minister Kasolo also faulted the legislators saying they were supposed to read about their mandate and know that among the functions they are supposed to play includes supervising and sitting on the District Roads Committee.
“It is not in order for you to have known that you were supposed to be on the committee and just keep yourselves in Kampala instead of coming to the district and find out what exactly was happening,” he said.
Kayondo however responded to Kasolo saying as the MPs, they are supposed to be invited but not to just go anyhow just like that.
The Prime Minister said from the few engagement she had held including in Mpigi District and now Mukono where the district road fund chairpersons are possessed by the district chairpersons, things were not moving on well compared to where the leadership was in the hands of the MPs.
Nabbanja said that the mandate of the Roads Committee was to strike a balance on the distribution of the funds meant for the roads as the members including the MPs give suggestions on which roads to be done first and also do monitoring on how the contractors are working.
“It’s unfortunate that for the time I have been in parliament, I have been using my money to work on the roads which are in a very bad state. The district has never worked on any complete road but they work on spots,” Ssimbwa said.
He added that Bakaluba, chairperson has never told them about the road fund which must help us handle the roads but instead painted a picture as if he was using his own money and that he was just doing us a favor!
Gen. Katumba Wamala, however, said that the District Executive must sit with the MPs and agree on how to form and get the new district road fund chairperson and plan for the roads to be worked upon compared to the money which is available.
There was contradiction on the Uganda Road Fund money sent to the District and what was received.
The district leaders also faulted Eng. Timothy Mukunyu of Uganda Road Fund when he was reading the money disbursed to Mukono District in the first quarter of this financial year to a tune of over sh509m yet they had received a different figure.
Eng. Mukunyu said that from July, they had sent sh416m to Mukono District but the District Chairman, Bakaluba said they had only received sh25m and sh183m which they got at the end of the first quarter.
Nabbanja asked the CAO, James Nkata to tell the meeting what money he had received from the road fund.
Nkata however also said that he had only received sh25m and sh183m but he had not yet received any other money outside that.
When called to also explain as the funds controller, the Mukono District Engineer, Eng. John Mugisha said they had received a total of sh208m but they had followed up on the other monies which were yet to be received by the District.
The legislators also said that through the road fund, the roads worked upon should have been filled with marram and also graded which had never been done.
Gen. Katumba however asked the different parties who had turned to blame games before the Prime Minister to forget what had passed and forge a way of rectifying what had not gone well.
The Prime Minister moved with different ministers that included the Minister for Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Public Service, Muruli Mukasa, the State Minister for higher education, John Chrysostom Muyingo and the State Minister for Micro Finance, Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo.
Others were, the State Minister for Finance and Planning, Amos Lugoloobi, and the State Minister for Economic Monitoring, Beatrice Akello among others.
Also in attendance were heads of different directorates like Allen Kagina of Uganda National Roads Authority, Dr. Daniel Byamukama of Uganda AIDS Commission among others.
The NRM secretariat was represented by the Deputy Secretary General, Rose Namayanja, the Vice Chairperson Buganda Region, Godfrey Kiwanda and others.