People & Power
How Kabale leaders are fighting over supremacy
Posted Sunday, August 24 2014 at 01:00
The area LC5 chairperson and RDC accuse each other of going against the tenets of governance as the CAO says bickering between the two heads has not affected service delivery in his department.
All is not well in Kabala District as the leaders trade accusations over poor delivery of service and difference in decision making.
The developments that could deny the residents better service delivery started early this year when the office of the Resident District Commissioner ordered thorough investigations into sub-county chiefs that were allegedly involved in misusing funds meant for the Naads programme.
The RDC, Mr Darius Nandinda, has also been on a collision course with the district LC5 after he ordered the arrest of the district engineer for failure to construct Muko Gravity Flow Scheme and yet money had been paid. Mr Nandinda also initiated investigations into the misuse of money meant for the construction of roads in Muhanga Town Council, and the most recent one is where the RDC’s office halted the rehabilitation of the district council hall, claiming the bills of quantities were inflated.
However, the district chairman, Mr Patrick Besigye Keihwa, says all the allegations raised by the RDC’s office are false and warns Mr Nandinda against involving in matters outside his area of jurisdiction.
The other burning issue in the district is the recent stand that the district council took to evict the LC5 chairman from a district house over failure to pay rent and that Mr Keihwa pays about Shs16 million in rent arrears since 2011 when he occupied the house at a rate of Shs450,000 per month.
Mr Nandinda and his deputy, Mr Moses Nuwagaba, admit all is not well between their office and that of the district chairman. “We are not here to please the district chairman because he protects the corrupt leaders for reasons best known to him,” says Mr Nandinda.
“When we caused the arrest of the district engineer, Mr Turinawe Bagamuhunda, for failure to construct Muko Gravity Flow Scheme it was the district chairman, Mr Besigye Keihwa, who went to bail him out of police custody.
After the district engineer was bailed out, he went straight and fixed the gravity flow scheme and people now have clean water,” Mr Nandinda says, adding: “Our interventions in the mismanagement of funds meant for road construction and other government programmes like Naads have yielded fruits although the district chairman still claims that we should stop harassing his civil servants. Now if the person supposed to supervise civil servants resorts to protecting them there is a lot to suspect. The people of Kabale that had been denied rights of proper service delivery are now smiling.”
Mr Nuwagaba says they had to make a choice of either conniving with Mr Besigye Keihwa to frustrate service delivery or fall out with him to help the local people access services. “Our approach here emphasises value for money in all government institutions for the good of the people. Can you imagine that when we established that the bills of quantities of rehabilitating the district council were inflated to an extent that a square metre of floor tiles was inflated from Shs30,000 to Shs150,000, it was the district chairman that made the loudest noise and even went on radio stations to defend the contract,” Mr Nuwagaba says.
On the other hand, Mr Besigye Keihwa accuses the RDCs of working to dent his political career. “I bailed out the district civil servants that were arrested on the orders of the RDCs not because I protect the corrupt officials but they deserved a fair hearing after thorough investigations. I think these RDCs lack experience in handling public matters. I have received information that they are working hard with my political opponents to bring me down,” Mr Keihwa Besigye says.
“Otherwise I am happy with their enthusiasm to fight corruption and ensure that there is value for government money. My district is not on fire. It’s more stable than in the past when politicians were clashing with the civil servants on daily basis. I have good working relationship with my civil servants,” he adds.
The district boss says the alleged fallout with his district council over unpaid rent arrears from the district house he has been occupying since 2011 is not true. He instead says there is need to remind some councillors of the benefits of the district chairman.
“Some district councillors are just jealous because of me staying in the district house and that is why they are making false allegations on the alleged unpaid rent arrears when they know that the law guarantees me to stay in this house. If a mere primary school teacher is given a government house for accommodation why not the LC5 chairman?” Mr Besigye Keihwa adds.
The State minister for Economic Monitoring in the president’s office, also MP for Rubanda West, Mr Henry Banyenzaki, applauds the RDCs for doing a good job to arrest and expose the corrupt leaders in the district.
“Some district leaders have been scared of the RDCs’ operational methods of fighting crime especially after they refused to be ‘pocketed’ as it has always been the case. Some of our district leaders have not been used to such operational methods because they have always compromised the RDCs. I am ready to support them until corruption and misuse of government funds in Kabale District is no more.”
The district NRM party secretary and also the former district chairman, Mr Silver Baguma, appreciates the role played by the RDCs in emphasising value for money. He, however, notes that there is need for immediate dialogue between the district leaders to harmonise the situation.
“The district is on real fire. There is urgent need for elders to convene a meeting to harmonise the situation. There is no transparency between the district chairman and the district council to an extent that he seats in his office and his executive take binding decisions without informing the district council,” Mr Baguma says.