Bushenyi District councillors have petitioned minister for the Presidency, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, to discipline the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Isaac Kawooya, for alleged misconduct.
In a March 31 petition, the councillors accuse Mr Kawooya of paralysing implementation of government programmes. The councillors claim that while monitoring the Youth Livelihoods Programme in the district last month, Mr Kawooya ignored the advice of the district council and other local leaders and arrested youth group leaders.
They say Mr Kawooya arrested the youth group leaders on the pretext that they had failed to repay the borrowed money, yet time for repayment was not yet due.
The youth have since 2014 been receiving money through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to fight poverty. About 70 groups in Bushenyi received between Shs2m and Shs4m each.
Mr Kawooya audited about six of them and arrested some leaders whose groups’ performance and accountability he found wanting.
“The RDC had continued to harass the youth groups under the programme by arresting and detaining them at police, an issue that the district council settled by demanding a comprehensive report and audit before any more youth can be arrested,” the councillors wrote.
“There has been no audit report as council had advised. This has greatly undermined government programmes like Operation Wealth Creation, where people fear to receive government money and assistance. This in turn has undermined the ruling party, especially amongst youth who form the largest voting bloc,” the petition further states.
The councillors say Mr Kawooya has reintroduced the Amin-style of Panda Gari system (random bundling of people on trucks for detention) whereby he arrests people and bundles them on his vehicle during his tour in the district. They say this is reminiscent of Idi Amin’s reign of terror.
They further accuse Mr Kawooya of unjustifiably demeaning them, MPs and religious leaders by labeling them ignorant.
“Mr Kawooya’s actions have isolated him from other leaders and this has brewed a lot of friction between his office and other offices,” reads the petition sent through the district Speaker, Mr Emmanuel Karasi.
The petition letter, signed by 13 councillors out of the 22, seeks disciplinary action against Mr Kawooya.
In a telephone interview with Sunday Monitor on Friday, Mr Kawooya said he arrested the youth following a district security committee resolution, which he chairs. He said these enabled him reach a decision of arresting the youth leaders.
“I have not worked in isolation. I have always worked with police, the press, District Internal Security office, community development officers and others to monitor government programmes in the district. I heard that the councillors wrote to my boss and they didn’t even give me a copy of the letter. I don’t know what these people want with me,” said Mr Kawooya.