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Uganda: Ministry gets resolution on Kasese split, tempers flare

The Ministry of Local Government has received a resolution on Kasese District which proposes a split into four to extend the services nearer to the people.

The controversial district resolution was passed on the October 12 before the authorities forwarded it to the Local Government minister for consideration.

Cabinet will discuss the resolution before Parliament takes a final decision on a matter that has polarised Kasese residents.

Those in favour of the split have proposed the creation of Bwera, Mubuku and Nyamugasani districts to address the governance challenges in the present Kasese District.

The council passed a private member’s motion amid protest from those against the split who had cited politics in the proposed split.

The motion was tabled a month earlier by Mr Wilson Mbathulawo from the Bwesumbu Sub-county. Mr Mbathulawo is backed by Busongora South MP Jackson Mbaju.

The district chairman, Mr Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo and at least five Opposition MPs from Kasese have opposed the planned split and accused those pushing the ‘divorce’ of disregarding the will of Kasese people.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Benjamin Kumumanya, told Sunday Monitor that the Kasese District resolution is on his table and will be reviewed in consultation with the Kasese District administration on account of the fights that characterised the passing of the motion.

“I can confirm that I received the communication about the resolution of council concerning the creation of new districts out of Kasese.

We shall review the document and engage the district council to find out whether the differences were really resolved,” Mr Kumumanya said.

Mr Bigogo said his administration will be waiting to hear from the ministry on whether there are efforts to find out about the circumstances under which the motion was passed.

Mr Bigogo, who declined to append his signature on the resolution and subsequently communicate it to the Local Government minster, Mr Tom Butiime, warned that it would be unfair for the ministry to go ahead to act on the resolution without resolving the controversies surrounding it.

“I am aware that the Chief Administrative Officer [without following the] procedure delivered the resolution to the ministry.

But if the ministry is ready to look into the controversial decision of council before creating the new districts, then that approach is welcome,” Mr Bigogo said.

Asked about the procedure of transmitting such a council resolution from the district to the ministry, Mr Kumumanya said: “It is the district chairman supposed to write to the minister communicating the resolution in that regard.”

Mr Kumumanya, however, said he is yet to read the details of the document to establish whether the right procedure was taken or not.

Sunday Monitor has seen a copy of the October 16 letter by Mr Hanny Turyaheebwa, the Kasese District Chief Administrative Officer, submitting the minute of council to the Permanent Secretary and other supporting documents.

“In accordance with Article 179 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, I forward herewith a copy of Council Minute Extract and other relevant documents requesting for the subdivision of Kasese District into three more districts,” the letter reads in part.

Background

During the consideration of the controversial motion in the council, two issues came up: to vote on the key motion or to refer the motion to the district executive committee for further scrutiny.

But when the Speaker, Mr Geoffrey Bwerere, subjected the two motions to a secret ballot, 30 councillors voted for a decision to be taken, 24 voted to refer the motion to the committee.

Three votes were invalid. It was at this stage that tempers flared after the Speaker ruled that by the fact that majority had backed a vote on the private members’ motion, it meant that the council had in effect approved the split.

By Daily Monitor

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