Museveni piles more pressure on RDCs over misuse of public funds

Monday December 28 2015

President Museveni embraces Catherine

President Museveni embraces Catherine Bweguyibwa, 80, who gave the NRM flag bearer a drum as a symbol of unity during his campaign in Luuka Town, Luuka District, yesterday. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi 

By Solomon Arinaitwe

Luuka. President Museveni yesterday looked to the past as he cranked up the pressure on Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), accusing them of failing to stem abuse of public funds at district level.

As the President also blamed the officials for failing to clearly explain government programmes to voters, this buck-passing recalled the 2011 campaigns where he faulted district officials for the failures of the Naads programme. Then, he accused them of failing to monitor delivery of critical elements such as farm inputs.

Resuming campaigns in Luuka District, Busoga-sub region after a two-day Christmas break, Mr Museveni summoned the RDC, Mr Fredrick Bbangu, to explain to voters what he has done about complaints regarding misuse of money allocated to the Youth Fund in the district.
“These kids (youth) are saying rats have finished food from the granary. What have you done?” Mr Museveni asked, using the analogy of rats pilfering food from a granary to illustrate theft of government money.

With the crowd heckling Mr Bbangu, Mr Museveni cut short the RDC’s explanations, ordered him off the podium and directed him to reach out to residents to explain the circumstances surrounding the abuse of youth funds.
The RDC said he lodged a petition with the Inspectorate of Government and the Auditor General over the loss of funds. But the President and majority of youth in the crowd were having none of it.

The Luuka incident comes on the heels of a directive by the President withdrawing the Namutumba RDC, Mr David Ssempa, whom he accused of failing to tackle misuse of youth venture funds.
The RDCs became a full-blown campaign issue after Mr Museveni told a meeting that he agrees with FDC flag bearer Kizza Besigye that RDCs are useless.

Dr Besigye has consistently argued that RDCs are “useless” and a waste of taxpayer’s money, promising to scrap the position if he comes into government. Mr Museveni later said while he has problems with RDCs, the suggestion that he now agreed with Dr Besigye was sarcastic.
Under Article 203 of the Constitution, the President appoints RDCs to monitor the implementation of central and local government services.
Mr Museveni used the opportunity to speak about his much criticised plan to distribute hoes, professing the desire to modernise agriculture as the country aspires to become a middle-income nation.