KAMPALA- Parliament and government have on Tuesday, August 27, resolved to postpone the purchase of village council (LC1) bicycles to 2020, in the next financial year, a move likely to end the protracted debate on the Executive and Legislator’s contest over facilitation of the local leaders.
The decision followed a question posed by the Butaleja Woman MP, Milly Mugeni who tasked the Minister of Finance to explain the delayed fulfillment of the Presidential Pledge on bicycles for LC1 chairpersons across the country. These were intended to facilitate village councils, the MPs expressed concern saying that their constituents are persistently demanding for the bicycles.
Having demanded responses on the whereabouts of the bicycles, MPS wanted to move for a supplementary budget so as these bicycles are urgently procured before the next financial year.
However, the Minister of state for planning, David Bahati rejected and committed the government to provide funds for their purchase after this financial year.
There was also a debate on the viability of bicycles with MPs like Kasiano Wadri (Arua Municipality) Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North) who called for the policy to be revised and ensure the bicycles are viable with Kasibante proposing to have LC1s in Kampala given motor cycles arguing that bicycles aren’t viable for city-based local leaders.
Hon Wadri said there are some parts of the country with complex topography like Sebei region which is mountainous and called for the local leaders to be given money to purchase other transport modalities instead of bicycles.
“What does a bicycle mean to a Sabin up there in the mountain? Even if you got a bicycle and took it there, I don’t think a Sabin will get the opportunity to even mount it for once to go and monitor government programs because the place is so mountainous, you can’t ride a bicycle there,”he argued.
“We agreed in principle that the LC1 Chairperson be facilitated to buy a bicycle and the price of that bicycle is determined by Government so that if I am the LC1 Chairman of Kololo I use that money to do some other thing. There should be that consideration from areas where those people come from so that we look at facilitation and not just a bicycle,” added Wadri.
Although his proposal was supported, Kasibante’s was rejected with James Waluswaka (Bunyole West) reminding Kampala MPs how they recently rejected proposal to impose academic qualifications on leaders in Kampala, arguing all LC1 chairpersons are equal and there is no reason the oens in Kampala should be treated in a special way.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga advised that if the urban centre and Island representatives want motorcycles or boats for their LC1 executive, they should submit their proposals before parliament for approval.
Kadaga said, “We want a commitment on outstanding debts the old LC1s must get their bicycles, the present LC1s must get their bicycles. Then we should have a separate motion which will take into account Kampala, islands and other places. But we want commitment on what’s due. The LC1s need their bicycles, they were promised, 55 districts didn’t get including mine, you can imagine whenever I go, they demand for their bicycles in Kamuli. We need to see that figure in the next budget cycle.”
David Bahati, Minister of State, Planning agreed to have the Parliamentary Budget Committee to follow up the issue and ensure the bicycle money is provided for in the coming budget.
“I agree when you say let the budget committee monitor for 2020/2021 to ensure that government we commit ourselves that the old debts are received and new LC1s who are currently in office should receive their bicycles in the next financial year. That is a commitment on behalf of the NRM Government on this floor of the house,” said Hon Bahati.