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    Amend Local Gov’t Act To Squeeze The Corrupt In Districts…

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    Some of the 12 suspects attached to Busia Municipality who included; the Town Clerk, CFO, Commercial Officer, Eng officer, Western Div Town Clerk, Div Treasurer, Procurement Officer, Acting Municipal Eng & the Principal Health Supervisor, who were arrested by the State House Anti-corruption unit. Inset is Faruk Kirunda the writer

    Fighting corruption and finally weeding it out is the biggest war in Uganda today. Everything must be done until all the corrupt lose appetite for it.

    Much of the corruption manifests in the districts and thrives with the collusion of “permanent and pensionable” Local Government staff. Technocrats, assured of job security and privileged to spend limitless tenures in districts of posting are able to form a complicated corrupt web which they use to swindle Government money.

    Technocrats have proven to be detached from the ground; they sit in offices all day waiting for deals and anybody seeking services from whom they can extort bribes. Despite the best intentions of the leadership to steer Uganda to greatness, such technocrats are a burden on collective national progress. They have this impression that being non-partisan and not being politicians means being actively defiant in service against Government policy objectives.

    It is much worse in regard to President Museveni; his well-articulated policies for transformation and effective service delivery mean little or nothing to technocrats assured of a stable source of income, with fixed terms no matter the state of the economy and the plight of the masses. All they stand for is how to earn more from Government coffers and this is the bedrock of corruption.

    How they work is that they starve members of the public of services and information about services until the people tire and become desperate, then they squeeze them for bribes. They make Government services look like a privilege that people must pay for even if they already pay taxes to fund those services.

    That is how patients come to be charged at Government hospitals, for example. Nothing makes me sick like a Government worker being so bent on being corrupt that they throw all caution and professionalism to the wind, while acting so confident like they own Uganda. Where the good ones exercise restraint in their duties to avoid making mistakes, the corrupt are so confident and diligent that they make everybody look bad.

    The bad apples create “impunity rings” in which they use the decentralisation cover to set their own rules and run Government service aground. You find them doing their own things, as if they operate in a different country not managed by the Central Government. It is why when the State Minister for Economic Monitoring, Hon. Peter Ogwang, went around the country, he unearthed a regime of flagrant abuse of Government resources and systems. You wouldn’t believe that the errant were our own. You find someone doing unbelievable things on the assumption that they have so much power and cannot be questioned.

    Heads of Department like District Education Officers (DEOs), Chief Finance Officers (CFOs), District Engineers, District Health Officers (DHOs), District Planners, enjoy broad powers to an extent that working together, they can frustrate operations of the units. They control budgets. They are supervised by LC 5 chairpersons who tend to have personal political interests. Then there are weak Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) who cannot make decisions and who get “commissions” from these HODs and fail to hold them accountable.

    It’s RDCs saving the situation, since they are managed by the center and with very strict guidelines of service. It would be much worse if CAOs were appointed at the districts. District Service Commissions (DSCs) are not helping matters. There is reason to believe that jobs are given under wrong influence and after, the Commission has no role in following up their recruits to ascertain how they fare in service.

    It’s my preferred opinion that the Central Government recalls powers to appoint, transfer and fire district Local Government staff. Those are HODS. Districts should only recruit Sub-County staff, and lower. These powers can always be granted back when the public regains trust in the Local Governments.

    The other safeguard is to put workers on contracts, which are only renewed, let us say, every three years, subject to performance.

    Here, “performance audit”, which is President Museveni’s preferred method for checking every Government worker’s efficiency and contribution to service delivery, would apply. In today’s standing, “permanent and pensionable” workers benefit from absence of standardised performance reviews; they are not given work targets or expected deliverables by which they can be examined. The less work they do as they await their regular pay cheque until they clock retirement age, the better for them.

    Uganda Government is the most generous Government in the world, I must say. There are people earning for doing less work, because of absence of an apparent system of rewarding mediocrity, thus making a few committed patriots in service do the donkey work. People are qualified, some very highly, but they lack the spirit of Ubuntu and patriotism but hold positions in civil service where they are remunerated for just sitting and swinging in their chairs.

    All the responsibility for implementing policy ideas is pushed back to the center which is heavy with management of national affairs. This kills the essence of decentralisation, devolution of powers and “popular” creation of lower administrative units which were meant to ease decision-making and facilitate faster implementation of policy and service delivery.

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    EDUCATION

    NRM Boss On Suicide Watch After URA Threatens To Auction His School Over Shs.400m Tax Debt… 

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    King Fahad Islamic primary school in Busega

    National Resistance Movement (NRM) Lubaga Division top mobilizer and also the proprietor of the Busega based King Fahad Islamic primary school is on suicide watch after Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) threatened to auction his school over tax evasion.

    Multiple credible sources at King Fahad Islamic primary school revealed to theGrapevine that their boss Sheikh Swaib Ssentomero is a frustrated man and he has intimated to friends that he is tired of his life.

    “We are keeping our eyes on his movements, he is very frustrated since URA slapped him with a huge tax pay receipt last month,” a source close to Swaib said.

    Sources said that URA told Ssentomero that the government is demanding him taxes worth Shs.400m which he protested but was not helped.

    Sources revealed that since then, Ssentomero has been looking for President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s young brother Gen. Salim Saleh, senior presidential advisor on security Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso and other top NRM party bosses for rescue him in vain.

    “Yes, I was told about his financial troubles, I will try to see how to help him because he has been our mobilizer,” Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, the NRM National Vice chairperson Buganda revealed.

    However, sources in URA told theGrapevine that the reason why many tycoons are in trouble over tax is because they have not been paying taxes and whenever URA demands for taxes from them, they petition their Godfathers to save them.

    The source further explained that this is the reason why their taxes have accumulated to exorbitant amounts which they think are too huge for them to pay.

    Efforts to speak to Sheikh Ssentomero were fruitless since his known phone numbers were off.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NEWS

    Tabliq Muslim Community Petition Gen. Saleh Over Mufti Mubajje’s Closure Of William Street Mosque …

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    William Street Mosque

    The Muslim Tabliq sect have petitioned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s young brother Gen. Salim Saleh over Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje’s closure of William Street Mosque in Kampala.

    Led by sheikh Fahad Kalungi, the tabliq community accuses Sheikh Mubajje of using state organs like police and army to threaten them and stop them from accessing the mosque for over 3 years.

    Sheikh Kalungi confirmed to theGrapevine that they met Gen. Saleh who promised to intervene in their matter.

    Saleh also promised that the policemen who were deployed at the mosque will be removed.

    Sheikh Yunus Muhammad Kamoga, the leader of the Tabliq community in Uganda told theGrapevine that the mosque was closed when he was in prison battling terrorism and murder charges which were dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

    He said that when he was released, he tried to talk to Sheikh Mubajje to get an explanation from him on why the mosque was closed and how it could be opened.

    The mosque leadership now is currently under the leadership of Mufti Mubajje and sources allege that he is the one collecting money from shops renting on the mosque land.

    In 2016, President Museveni rescued William Street Mosque land title from city tycoon Drake Lubega who had bought it from Mubajje’s leadership by compensating him with a lot of money.

    The Tabliq community protested the transaction and denied tycoon Lubega possession of the mosque claiming that the transaction was illegally executed.

    Efforts to talk to Sheikh Mubajje were futile because he was not picking our phone calls.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NUP Regrets Submitting Candidate For Busongora South By-election; Dissatisfied With Results…

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    NRM's Thembo Gideon Mujungu the winner of Busongora South Constituency by-election

    National Unity Platform (NUP) has regretted submitting a candidate for the Busongora South Constituency by-election following allegations of high level of vote rigging in Kasese district.

    According to NUP General Secretary Lewis Rubongoya, everywhere they went, the people of Kasese told them that they had never seen what happened yesterday during the by-election.

    Busongora South by-election took place yesterday in Kasese and NRM’s Thembo Gideon Mujungu, was the winner with 12088 votes, Mulindwa David (Independent) garnered 2093 votes, National Unity Platform’s (NUP) Mbaju Jackson garnered 6866 votes, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Kighem Alozious garnered 5564 votes, Izagiira Doreen (Independent) garnered 32 votes and Democratic Party (DP)’s Businge Benadet garnered 84 votes.

    Following the release of the results, Rubongoya revealed that each of the ten sub-counties was under the command of a Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and District Police Chief (DPC).

    “The role of the RDC was to rig, and the role of the DPC was to arrest anyone who dared complain about the rigging,” he said.

    He added, “After the blatant thuggery in Soroti, we even wondered whether it made sense to participate in Kasese and other local government by-elections. However, we had already identified and declared candidates. It became difficult to convince them this is how their elections would go.”

    Rubongoya divulged that during the by-election, military took positions around polling stations and their role was not only to intimidate but to also directly participate in multiple voting and ballot stuffing.

    “We found out that the register had been tampered with, to include so many people who do not ordinarily vote from the area.”

    Rubongoya contended that the by-elections have been costly in terms of time, resources, but most importantly some of the lives they have lost and those who have sustained injuries.

    He propounded, “However, I am glad that all parts of the country have been able to clearly see the reality in our country during these by-elections.

    “It started in Buganda (Kayunga), then North (Omoro), then East (Soroti) and now the West (Kasese). Pallisa and Kisoro weren’t any better. When the people of Uganda resort to other means to reclaim their democratic rights, no one will be in doubt about the justification.”

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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