Same old money song for new sub-counties

Sembabule District headquarters. All the new sub-counties in the district lack offices and operational funds. PHOTO | CLEOPHAS TUKAMARWA

When new sub-counties were created in Sembabule District, residents celebrated hoping for a better future.

There were high expectations for jobs and improved services. However, this has not been realised five years later.

The administrative units, which became operational in 2017, include Nakasenyi, Katwe, Mitima, Kawanda, Kyeera, Nabitanga, Miteete , Bulongo ,Ntete and Mabindo, bringing the total of the  sub-counties in the district to 17.

All the new administrative units are still struggling to operate due to financial constraints and lack of offices.

Several councillors who spoke to Daily Monitor complained that they have never received any allowances ever since they were sworn in.

“It is challenging for us to effectively execute our work without allowances. All the new sub-counties don’t have offices and there is no money for stationary. We get information that the money has been wired to the district accounts, but it is not forthcoming,” Ms Jolly Kasande, the female councillor representing Mijwala and Mabindo sub-counties, said in an interview on Monday  .

Mr Steven Kamya, a councillor representing Mabindo Sub-county, said they conduct sittings under tree shades and rarely record minutes.

“You see that tree, that’s our council hall, when  it starts raining, council meetings are adjourned,” Mr Kamya said, adding: “We ask government to directly intervene and secure for us the necessary facilities to enable us effectively serve our  people.” 

He said recently, residents of  Mabindo Sub-county staged a demonstration protesting the poor state of roads.

Mr David Namanya, the Kawanda Sub-county speaker, said he does not convene frequent council meetings over lack of allowances.

“We operate as if we are not recognised by the government. Some well-wishers donated some piece of land to host the sub-county headquarters, but it is still idle because we lack money to finance the construction works,”  he said.

Mr Malik Mahamba, the Sembabule chief administrative officer, said government has allocated some money to support the new sub-counties.

“Each sub-county will soon start getting Shs30m every quarter to cater for office expenses and pay allowances for councillors,” he said.

Mr Mahamba said the funding will improve in the subsequent financial years, but also advised the new administrative units to explore ways of generating their own source of revenue.

Background

At the onset of decentralisation in 1993, the government envisioned under the Local Government Act that power was to be devolved to local authorities, which would foster political and administrative participation among the ordinary citizens and, therefore, help in improving service delivery and solving community needs.

 However, despite the many administrative units, there are still challenges with service delivery. 

In 2019, President Museveni warned the then minister for Local Government, Mr Tom Butime, against the creation of many municipalities and town councils that he said would put a strain on government coffers.



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