MBARARA – Following the boycott of a council meeting on May 22, 2019, by Mbarara Municipal Council (MMC) that was intended to pass the budget for financial year 2019/2020 of shs40.7bn, councilors petitioned Chairman LCV Capt. John Bosco Bamuturaki pinning Mayor Robert Kakyebezi and his executive for failure to provide budget performance report for the last financial year.
With a total of 49 councilors, only 14 turned up for the council meeting on May 22, 2019 and 35 made a no show arguing that they cannot sit and pass another budget without the performance report of the previous budget(2018/19).
These instead held a crisis meeting at sunset restaurant in Mbarara town where they agreed to draft their petition to the higher authority over what they termed as incompetence marred with corruption and mismanaged by executive led by Robert Kakyebezi Mugabe.
Speaker Bonny Tashobya Karusya later adjourned the meeting until further notice saying they could not proceed with passing the budget since they were not constituting a quorum.
In a petition dated May 24, 2019, councilor highlight 30 reasons that compelled them not to attend to pass the budget all which emanate from failure by the executive to implement a number of council resolutions since 2016.
They say that Mr. Kakyebezi and his executive committee have turned into compulsive liars and that have taken voters for granted as far as quality service dispensation is concerned. They called upon the office of the LCV which over sees the lower councils to intervene and save the situation before it gets out of hands.
They (councilors) further threatened to take matters to the attention of the president if the status quo remains.
Among the 30 reasons they highlight that have created bickering at Municipal council are; They demand a budget performance report for the last financial year and a caucus meeting before they approve 2019/2020 budget.
“Chairman we cannot continue to pass the budget that does not consider capital development but puts administration costs at the center, we need services. When council’s committees recommended for the alteration of the members of executive secretaries it was not done, councilors had wanted to boycott the budget laying meeting you (chairman LCV) called us and convinced us to accept budget laying and reject the approval if only the mayor refuses to fulfill his pledge of changing the executive members and now that he has not changed the members, it explains well whey we didn’t attend the meeting” The petition reads in part.
They say, “In the last council meeting, the house resolved that the aluminium bars under the disguise of street lights at Amahembe g’Ente roundabout be removed within 4 days and the speaker gave a ruling on the matter and nothing has been implemented. We are depressed to hear that such project consumed shs 360m out of shs1, 076,172,000 that was spent on dysfunctional solar street lighting on Mbarara high street and Kijungu where over 20 lights don’t work.”
They further accuse Kakyebezi for failure to curb down over 50 court cases against Mbarara municipal council which they say have a big financial implication on the municipal budget.
They further say there is a continuous denial of councilors to carry out monitoring of government projects but rather Kakyebezi uses only executive secretaries led by Benon Kajubi secretary finance who go extorting money from the public was another reason for the objection.
“Generally most resolutions have not been implemented like the plot opposite stanbic bank where one investor has taken it and uses it as parking yard, Kenkombe land is allegedly misappropriated to unknown investors despite the fact that there was a resolution to turn it into a housing estate. The road construction at Koranorya which was budgeted for shs360m but little work was done. In 2017/18 over shs817, 192,946 were released under road fund but only shs423,438,500 was spent, the unspent balance was not declared anywhere” The petition further reads.
They further say in 2017/18, Mbarara municipal council failed to generate the planned revenue of shs9bn due to delays in the procurement process. Only shs2.3bn was collected as local revenue which is attributed to under-declaration from tenders who connive with some top municipal leaders and don’t pay tax which affected the execution of planned activities.
That in 2018/19, the user departments usurped the powers of the accounting officer and irregularly awarded contracts worth shs1.bn without the authorization of council meeting which raises very many unanswered questions.
It further reads that contrary to regulations 7(1) of the Local government, PPDA regulations 2006, in financial year 2018/19, MMC officials failed to report to auditors shs3.7bn this indicates incompetence and lack of transparency and accountability.