Nwoya, Uganda: The Chief Administrative Officer for Nwoya district has expressed gratitude to the team of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) for their tremendous approach to induction, meant to broker peace and reconciliation between the Resident District Commissioner and the Councillors after years of tension.
Jennifer Nantume said it was a miracle to see the district chairman and RDC sit in one meeting and listen to each other, something that has never happened for so long in her tenure. She said the feud has caused some technocrats to become part of the confusion, which affects the effective provision of service deliveries to the people.
“Sometimes we land in this conflict. I invite the RDC and Chairman, and they begin to fight, and we as technical staff end up falling into their conflict. When two parties are in conflict, nothing can move on, and some people take advantage of it to benefit. It would be bad news that Nwoya is among the worst performing districts in Uganda because if these politicians don’t score, I also don’t score because I supervise them,” Nantume said.
Nantume made this remark earlier this week (Tuesday, 21st) at an induction exercise by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment at Nwoya District Headquarters in Anaka Town Council. The CAO said the induction by ACODE, which managed to bring together all the political and technical officials, was long overdue.
The Uganda Policy Think Tank-ACODE has been traversing 35 districts across Uganda to induct district local councillors and statutory bodies on conflict resolution and their roles and responsibilities in leadership in decentralised governance.
According to Daniel Opiyo Okumu, Councillor of Anaka Town Council, the District Executive Committee (DEC) secretaries and the statutory board should always endeavour to provide timely reports to the council and stop claiming that councillors are fighting them.
Some of the common concerns raised by councillors causing conflict among officials of Nwoya local government include the lack of accountability and transparency and limited knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of both technical and elected officials.
Emmanuel Orach, the district chairman, asked fellow leaders to understand and stick to their boundaries of roles and responsibilities. He, however, assured them and promised to start teamwork to recover the time they wasted instead of providing leadership to the people.
“All is not lost; I think we have dissolved; we are determined to make sure we step up the gear, and our next rating, I want to promise you, will be different. We will begin to work entirely as a team to make sure we pick up our pieces and bring up Nwoya where it is supposed to be,” Orach made a declaration.
While lecturing, Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha, the Executive Director of the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, appealed to the RDC and the politicians to reconcile their long-standing conflict and work as a team for the good of the citizens they lead.
“RDC reports to the president directly, and he is the head of the security district, while the chairman is the political head. Chairman, you cannot do much if there is insecurity. You need security to have development. So, you (these two) need to work together,” Dr. Bainomugisha pleaded.
However, Christopher Omara, the RDC, says that his active fight against corruption in Nwoya district has made him face rejection by some district officials who are enemies of truth-telling, but he hopes that with the induction by ACODE, the storm will calm down as people will have to understand their different roles and responsibilities they are supposed to play.
“I strongly believe that this can help calm down the situation that has been exaggerated because it has been overpoliticized. Our mission as the office of the president is to provide public leadership in public policy management and to promote good governance. Our roles are clearly stated in Article 203 of the Constitution and Sections 70 and 71 of the Local Government Act,” Omara asserted.
Dr. Bainomugisha asked Nwoya leaders to borrow a good example from the Gulu district, where LC5, Christopher Opiyo Ateker, accepted to work with the councillors and put conflict aside. He said he would love to hear that everything has normalised and everyone is playing their roles as stipulated by the laws.
Earlier this year, Rafael Magyezi, Minister for Local Government, also intervened to end the feud between Nwoya district leaders by advising the councillors to remove a private member motion that was tabled to remove Omara from office. The motion tabled by Kenneth Odong, the councillor for Alero subcounty, sought to remove Omara from office for his misconduct by labelling everyone in the district as corrupt.
Omara’s position started receiving threats from councillors in September 2022 after he ordered the immediate arrest of officials for misappropriating Parish Development Model fund worth Shs208 million out of Shs417 million the government disbursed. The fund was meant for administrative costs, procurement of equipment, salaries, and revolving funds for the groups in 44 parishes.
Omara also led to the recovery of 28 bicycles, which were shared among district LCV councillors, and yet the bicycles were part of 165 bicycles allocated by the Ministry of Local Government in September 2022 to facilitate the movement of LCI and LCII chairpersons in 121 villages and 44 parishes, respectively.
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