MINISTER TO CAMP IN BUSOGA FOR A WEEK, PROMISES AUDIT ON SERVICE DELIVERY IN THE SUB-REGION
The minister for the presidency Hon. Milly Babirye Babalanda has challenged RDCS/RCCs to always take note of the money that comes to their districts/city.
She says the commissioners must also follow its expenditure by knowing the number of groups that have benefited, those remaining and also take note of the related obstructions in the performance of programs like Parish Development Model [PDM].
“H.E the President’s views on PDM that were issued while at Masaka recently are to be applied countrywide. You are called upon to read the President’s letter on PDM” the minister said.
She challenged RDCs in Busoga to pull their socks up to ensure service delivery and in the sub-region. The minister asked the Busoga Regional Whip Mr. Gulume Richard, also RCC Jinja City, to engage with the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and Resident City Commissioners (RCCs) to come up with mobilization strategies to address the challenge of poverty and poor service delivery in the region.
With a total number of 4915 villages, 11 districts and a city, Busoga according to national statistics has been ranked severally as the poorest region in Uganda in spite of the various economic empowerment programs extended by the government.
“I will keenly monitor your activities and soon I shall call for a meeting between Busoga leaders and the RDCs to audit service delivery in Busoga,” Hon. Babalanda said.
The Minister made the remarks today while closing the 2-day Capacity Building Workshop for RDCs/RCCs, deputies and DISOs from Busoga Sub-region held at the Source of the Nile Hotel in Jinja City.
She said she was going to camp in the sub-region for a full week beginning June19-23 with the PDM secretariat to ensure that people receive money before the FY closes on June30.
Hon. Babalanda noted that it would be very unfortunate if money is returned to the Consolidated Fund on the account of districts’ inability to absorb it.
The Minister also asked RDCs to be on the lookout of all land grabbing criminal actions in the sub-region by fully investigating these cases and reporting them to the relevant offices for action.
“Such reports should always be copied in to the Minister and the Secretary Office of the President,” Hon. Babalanda said, adding that the rampant and violent land grabbing in the sub-region have resulted in loss of lives.
She said that land grabbers are working with corrupt Lands Officials and Area Land Committee Members and they are taking advantage of the ignorance and powerlessness of villagers to put titles on their land and snatch it.
“The RDCs should deal with these land grabbers by implementing the presidential directive of February 28, 2022 that comprehensively addresses this issue. These land grabbers are as well using the Courts to buy time and even compromise some Judicial Officers to evict the victims,” Hon. Babalanda said.
She also informed the commissioners that she has been briefed that the Land Board in Jinja is renewing leases for the Custodian Board properties using forged documents as well as creating new titles against existing titles, saying that such action is criminal and unacceptable.
Hon. Babalanda further said that the Senior Presidential Advisor on corruption and Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Gen. Henry Isoke will soon embark on thorough investigations into the matter.
She also lauded the Nansana Municipality RDC, Ali Shafiq who; over the weekend single-handedly battled land grabbers who had encroached on Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute Land.
“He peacefully cleared to ground the illegal structures before he left the scene. This is the only way we are going to protect Public Land. Whoever transacted in this land will have to carry his own cross. The State House Anti-Corruption Unit will as well undertake thorough investigations in this matter where it is alleged that a government official connived with land grabbers to encroach on government land,” she said.
She asked the commissioners to emulate Shafiq’s approach in protecting public land, adding that in straightforward cases, RDCs are encouraged to act peacefully as long as they do not harm the members of the public.
Hon. Babalanda also urged the Commissioners to manage the resources at their disposal well and also do proper monitoring and supervision of government programs, saying if they do so, the issue of corruption will be minimized.
“The more we lose money at the hands of corrupt officials, the more we curtail our transformation,” she pointed out.
On the issue of contractors who have abandoned unfinished government projects in Busoga partly due to corruption and laziness, Hon. Babalanda divulged that she is writing to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate why they have abandoned work in Busoga districts and why the government continues to lose so much money through such corrupt tendencies.
“The RDCs are called upon to inspect the government projects done by these contractors. Therefore, I humbly appeal to you to take the issue of fighting corruption as very serious so we can save resources for service delivery.”
Hon. Babalanda further called upon the commissioners to continue sensitizing the population on the dangers of encroaching on the wetlands.
“H.E the President will soon tour Busoga and this is one of the issues to be discussed,”she said.
The Minister on the other hand informed the RDCs that they need to take the security issues very seriously because Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is still active in the area and it has cells in Mayuge, Bugiri, Buyende and Kamuli.
“The issue of the machete-wielding men (Bijambiya) is back in Jinja. I am happy that the police under the command of the RPC is on ground on this matter. He has already held several meetings with the community of Bugembe. But I am told that some LC 1 Chairpersons are opposing the meetings. There is no way an LC 1 chairperson can oppose a security meeting unless he himself is a criminal. Police should record statements from these kinds of chairpersons and leaders opposed to the operations,” she said.
At the same workshop, the State Minister for Lands, Hon. Sam Mayanja reminded the RDCs that they are the people the President entrusted with the mandate to ensure security of land tenure.
“You should stop evictions, protect the evicted and return them to their land .All those involved in evictions arrest them. I’m surprised it takes me to visit the district to get all that done,” Hon. Mayanja emphasized.
“There should be no eviction order as long as there are constitutional provisions. Those court orders are illegal because security occupancy is a right enjoyed by all bonafide and legal occupants. The mailo owner who comes to evict a kibanja holder is the one who disturbs their peace because he is trespassing, so we can arrest him/her. We can also charge him for malicious damage when he destroys the property of the kibanja holder,” he added.
The Minister also urged RDCs to sensitize Ugandans about the importance of titling their land.
“The bottom line is that every Ugandan must have security of tenure by titling their land. The Central region is the richest in Uganda because it is titled though I have a problem with them over Mailo land,” said Hon. Mayanja.
“The value of titling land is very crucial. Some people say that they don’t want to title their land because it will cause problems of land theft like the case in Buganda but I assure you, you cannot run away from the titling because that is the way to go. A titled land is wealth. At least you should have a certificate of customary ownership.”
Minister Mayanja disclosed that Uganda’s latest digitized land tenure information system is the best in the whole world and the government has been able to generate USD300 million from it since its launch.
“Now with this system, I’m able to sit at our headquarters and monitor issues concerning land in different parts of the country. We should thank President Museveni for this system that secures our tenure.”
On his part, the former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Daudi Migereko advised the commissioners to maintain peace and security, saying that the two components are very crucial when it comes to coordination or mobilisation.
“We didn’t perform well in Busoga in the last general elections. That is why we must beef up our mobilisation in the sub-region. You are supposed to know how each village is performing or supposed to perform. Once you have this, you will be able to sort out issues because one of your roles is coordination,” Hon. Migereko said.
“If there’s no peace and security, there’s no activity that can go on in the area or country. The President delegated you to oversee peace and Security in your areas and if there are challenges then you are answerable. You must work with security and the population. As the head of security you must ensure peace and security in your area are maintained,” he added.
The Uganda Tourism Board Chairperson also beseeched the Commissioners to work with security officials and the population in their areas of jurisdiction. He said when they do this, information will be shared instantly and the problems affecting the area will be sorted out in time.
“RDCs you are the people to help us. We must take advantage of your offices to make sure we address the issue of peace and tranquility,” Hon. Migereko said.
“Mobilisation can only succeed if two critical issues are dealt with. They include security and sources of livelihoods. That is the real mobilisation. How do we deal with this? We must take advantage of the NRM structure and make sure that we are disciplined. When you are a leader, you must make sure that you serve as a good example in the area.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Manifesto Implementation in the Office of the President, Willis Bashaasha emphasized that the Parish Development Model is a do or die program which the RDCs must ensure that it succeeds by all means.
“The PDM is the last mile for us to make sure that we deliver Ugandans from the subsistence to money economy. We want to see our people cross to middle income status,”Mr. Bashasha said.
“The issue of Emyooga and PDM give them priority. They are very critical agendas of government. By 2026, we should be able to show something about them. We are not ready to see any failure regarding these programs,” he further stressed.
Meanwhile, Robert Ali Bogere, the Assistant Administrator General encouraged the commissioners to be very careful while handling issues concerning land and succession matters.
“The biggest way to get land in Uganda is through succession and once you have handled matters of succession you will realize that they are the worst cases you have handled; worse than divorce,” Mr. Bogere said.
He said the RDCs must be impartial when handling succession matters to avoid being accused of taking bribes and losing trust of the people.
“You should not take part in the distribution of properties of the deceased. The first thing you must do as RDC, don’t handle the matter as it has come. First, you should always ascertain whether the deceased left behind a will because it will guide you in the next steps,”Mr. Bogere cautioned.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS
Regional Capacity Building Workshops for RDCs/RCCs, deputies and DISOs are meant to remind the commissioners and DISOs of their core mandate of supervision, monitoring, mobilization and effective representation of the Central Government and H.E the President.
The workshops are also aimed at refocusing the commissioners and DISOs to critical and prioritized government programs and projects where they should lead to achieve set objectives and ultimate goals as well as equipping them with more appropriate skills and tools to enhance their operation in their respective districts and cities.
The workshops are also meant to help the commissioners to share with their supervisors the challenges affecting their operations in the field.