MBARARA – The State Minister for Local Government Jennifer Namuyangu has told leaders in Mbarara District to sort out themselves or risk failing to be given city status.
Minister Namuyangu said this on Friday, February 8 during the baraza (community engagement) held at Nyamitanga Division headquarters in Mbarara Town.
“We have nine municipalities to be granted city status but with financial challenges we might not start them all at once. We will start with those that are ready and without any bickering. You in Mbarara you need to sort out yourselves and come to understanding otherwise you will have to wait a little longer,” Namuyangu said.
The minister who said they are now waiting for the Certificate of Financial Implication of granting these municipalities city statuses from ministry of Finance and then take it to Cabinet for final approval noted that for Mbarara it may require further consultations before it’s granted this status.
“I think we need to first come back on ground and do more consultations before the city starts here otherwise we may face some challenges here in future,” she added.
Her reaction follows submissions by some of the leaders and stakeholders that the municipality is embroiled in leadership challenges especially corruption, land grabbing, infighting and politicking that are hindering service delivery, and that granting a city status before these are looked into will be a big mistake.
“I am not against development because when we get a city status I stand to benefit but to tell you minister with this corruption her, land grabbing, politicking at the expense of service delivery, we are not ready for the city status,” said Imam Kajiko, councilor representing Katete Ward.
He said leaders here have vested priority in self-enrichment at the expense of service delivery.
Kajiko also told the minister that recently the executive sat and divided Mbarara Town into two constituencies as demanded by local government without consulting stakeholders and the Council.
“The mayor came and just informed us that they received a message to have and submit two constituencies out of the six divisions of Mbarara Town in anticipation of the city status and told us how they went ahead and did these divisions without our consultation and other stakeholders and we can’t allow this,” said Kajiko.
However, this has created mixed reactions among the six divisions that form Mbarara Municipality arguing that they were not consulted.
Mayor Robert Kakyebezi said Mbarara Town is more than ready for a city status labeling those trading accusations against its leadership as non-developmental and selfish.
“If its corruption is it the baraza that will end this corruption. There are institutions of government to fight corruption, the IGG, Police and Court. Why not report these cases here, those people against the city status are non-developmental and selfish,” said Kakyebezi.
On dividing Mbarara Town divisions into two constituencies they submitted to the ministry of Local Government, the mayor said these were just tentative and more consultations will be made before they are approved.
“Of course we have had issues in the dividing these divisions into two. When the minister for Local Government asked us to submit, we got challenges and now stakeholders want us to go back and consult them. So it has disturbed us. We have started setting up committees that will handle the consultations but things are not easy,” the Mayor said.