Sunday April 13 2014

Museveni: NRM is like a religion without priests

President Museveni chats with RDCs after

President Museveni chats with RDCs after closing a one-week retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi on Saturday. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA.  

By Risdel kasasira

President Museveni has ordered Resident District Commissioners to arrest local government officials who connive with land grabbers to evict tenants.

While closing a week-long retreat for RDCs, regional police and Internal security officers at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi on Saturday, the President said some of the leaders were “part of the problem”.

“You arrest sub-county chiefs and members of land committees provided you have evidence. By punishing a few, you deter many. But when a representative of the President becomes useless, then we are in trouble,” he said.

Illegal land evictions have reduced overall, but many have occurred even after government enacted the 2008 Land Act that empowers bona fide tenants to be compensated before they vacate land they occupy.

Mr Museveni said his office was overwhelmed with land wrangle complaints because the RDCs mismanaged such cases.

“When you abukwa (poorly handle) one case, you cause problems. I had to hire a number of lawyers because I was getting too many complaints,” the President told the political and security leaders from all of Uganda’s 112 districts.

He said NRM without committed leaders was like a religion without priests, hamstringing effective monitoring of implementation of government programmes by local governments.

“You cannot have the Pope in Rome without priests or bishops. That’s NRM’s problem. It’s a religion without priests or those who are there are in a different religion. Priests must understand the theology of their religion,” he said.

The Minister for Presidency, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, who supervises RDCs, told the media after the closure of the meeting that the retreat was to induct the new RDCs, but also “re-tool and re-skill” the old ones.

In February, President Museveni shuffled and appointed new RDCs, dropping those Mr Tumwebaze said had “deviated” from their role of monitoring government work.

“We have agreed that there should be a deliberate collaboration between the RDCs, police, the office of DPP and the IGG in order to fight corruption. Some of these agencies come in when corruption has already taken place. But the RDCs can be key partners to fight this vice because they monitor government work at the district level,” he said

outcomes from the RDCs’ retreat

•RDCs to get more fuel.
•They should focus on illegal land evictions
• They are to educate farmers on commercial agriculture.
•Receive financial allocation for effective follow up.