The Minister for Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda has tasked members of the District Security Committees (DSC) to ensure that the presidential directives are implemented if Uganda is to be stable and prosper to middle income status.
To say this, the Minister was addressing the DSC members during a zoom meeting regarding the current status of Parish Development Model (PDM) implementation , land evictions and other presidential directives on Friday. The DSCs are chaired by Resident District/ City Commissioners.
Hon. Babalanda said the presidential directives on rampant land evictions, environmental degradation, corruption fight, public security and popularization and implementation of PDM were very vital for the wellbeing of Ugandans and needed immediate action.
“…But we cannot be in charge of a country where the population is dying due to adverse effects of climate change arising from serious environmental degradation. We cannot look on when our people cannot do agriculture due to the above factor,” Mrs. Babalanda stated.
“Also, we cannot govern a population that is frustrated by high levels of poverty because they cannot embrace wealth creating government programs such as the Parish Development Model. If people are poor, they will be unruly, they will be desperate and they will involve in criminal activities. We have to take the matters of uplifting the people’s incomes such as the PDM very seriously. It is your responsibility as leaders to guide and support the people in wealth building. The RDCs/RCCs and the District Security Committees that are comprised of key district stakeholders; are central to the programs that change the lives of the people,” she added.
Hon. Babalanda further noted that government cannot govern a population that is being murdered due to criminalities involving land grabbing, illegal evictions, multi-titling.
“Many vulnerable people have been rendered homeless by persons that are heartless. However, its relieving that these numbers are going down mostly on the account of your commitment and vigilance as district security committees to implement the presidential directive on land evictions. I therefore wish to commend your efforts and commitment to implement this directive which has brought about this relief.”
On the matter of corruption, the Minister revealed that the NRM government has and continues to lose a lot of money through corruption.
“The District Security Committees should be very active to do site visits before commissioning of any public investments. You should sit and agree on what is to be commissioned. Sub-standard, poorly constructed and incomplete works should not be commissioned. RDCs/RCCs have mandate to commission projects but you should agree as the District Security Committee before commissioning the projects. This will aid in exposing ghost projects and the sub-standards works,” Mrs. Babalanda said.
She added: “You are called upon to report the corruption cases with the anti-corruption agencies such as the IGG and the State House anticorruption Unit who are ready to help you in this area. However, this should be initiated by the District Security Committee. When it is concerned with straight forward issues; moreover, with sufficient evidence, please cause immediate arrests; do not wait for Kampala. Kampala should come in after you have made the necessary first moves.”
On the other hand, through the APEX platform, the Minister called upon DSC members to display the funds received in the district per quarter and address meetings of sub-counties where all the LC 1 chairpersons should be updated with information on government projects being implemented in their areas.
Mrs. Babalanda also called for team work among the DSC members if the presidential directives are to be properly executed.
“I have been getting reports to the point that there is lack of harmony amongst the members. There are even reports mentioning that some RDCs/RCCs and Deputies have threatened to fight in the committees. I need to warn that this kind of behavior and culture is very unfortunate and cannot be tolerated. You as RDC/RCC and Deputy, DISO, DPC, CAO, Town Clerk are serving the same government and appointing authority who is still energetic and ready to serve for more years; and we have the same goals and objectives at the end of the day. Why do you find yourselves fighting each other and working in disharmony?” she wondered.
In the same meeting, Hajji Yunus Kakande, the Secretary in the Office of the President warned to deal with Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) who deliberately refuse to give out information regarding government funds and projects to DSC members.
“If there’s an errant CAO who refuses to avail information on funds released from the centre, we shall take action against him or her,” Hajji Kakande cautioned.
The State Minister for Lands, Dr. Sam Mayanja lauded Hon. Babalanda, Anti-Corruption Unit and a section of RDCs/RCCs for working hand in hand with his ministry to fight cases of rampant land evictions which have left many vulnerable citizens homeless.
“Lately, Uganda has very few land eviction cases because now a proper system is in place starting with the Presidential directives, Court Orders, RDCs among others who determine what should be done as far as evictions are concerned,” Dr. Mayanja said.
“When you have land stability in the country, then you will have stability and we shall have our programs like PDM moving on softly…..Then we shall be able to move to the Middle Income Status.”
On her part, the PDM deputy national coordinator, Jovline Kaliisa Kyomukama called for a combined synergy among all stakeholders in order to make the poverty alleviation program a success.
“The fact that the program is already with us, we should be optimistic that its going to work out well. We have so far recruited the focal persons in the program-Parish Chiefs in all parishes except for a few where there are still some gaps but we are ensuring that each remaining parish gets a chief. We have also managed to register enterprise groups. The money is ready to be given to users,” Mrs. Kaliisa asserted.
Mrs. Kaliisa also clarified that by working with the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and security agencies, they have managed to recover mismanaged PDM funds.
“So far we have covered about 80 per cent of Uganda and we are to send Shs25 million to each SACCO. This is not because there’s no money in the treasury but because there are still gaps,” she said.
The State House Anti Corruption Unit Head, Brig. Henry Isoke also disclosed that little could be achieved if the corruption tendencies are not critically dealt with.
“We need combined efforts to champion the war against corruption. RDCs and RCCs should use their powers to rejuvenate their office. This habit of complaining when the state structure in your areas of jurisdiction is under your command. There shouldn’t be complaints, we should just assist you by giving your expert reports.”
Mr. Waiswa Arnold Ayazika, the Director Environmental Monitoring and Compliance at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) said, ” Whereas NEMA is a semi-autonomous institution, charged with the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising environmental management in the country, it cannot do this work alone. We need all stakeholders like DSC members involved to enforce and manage the environment well. I believe there’s already a good will by RDCS and others to implement the presidential directives.”
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