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ANGRY COUNCILORS REFUSE TO APPROVE BUDAKA’S UGX30.2BN BUDGET

By Mulengera Reporters

Budaka District Councilors have refused to approve the 2022/2023 financial year budget citing several anomalies which they urged that they cannot proceed to approve.  The irritated councilors caused a stampede this morning at the district headquarters as they refused to enter the council chambers and decided to deliberate under a Muvule tree demanding for an explanation to some of the key issues noted in the budget.

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The councilors allege that some of the items in the budget were smuggled to fulfill the interests of the chairperson. Humprey Ikendeza, the councilor representing people with disabilities (PWDs) said that the councilors’ main concern was that the budget documents were delivered to them late prior to the meeting while others got just it this morning, and they have not internalized properly the document.  He said: “It’s clearly stipulated that such council documents are supposed to be delivered to them seven working days before the session to enable them internalize them but for this case it was the contrary only to be delivered a day before council while other got it in the morning, which was just intended to undermine councilors”  Ikendezia said.

The councilors also raised concern that all the recommendations that were made in various committees were not reflected in the final budget.  “Can we think that our efforts to discuss and come up with committee recommendations was a waste of time because these were the pertinent issues that concerns our people who gave us the mandate, but to our surprise they are nowhere in the budget!” Ikendeza fumed, adding, “We are totally committed to approving the budget but on condition that these concerns noted are addressed. This kind of behavior to change what was agreed in committee was totally outrageous and uncalled for”.

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The Councilors observed that the continued budgeting allocation for funds towards the construction of the administration block without phases is a project for some people to siphon tax payers’ funds.  The councilors vowed not to continue allocating funds to this project and yet councilors are not fully furnished with clear information because every time when councilors demand to know the projected total amount it remains unclear”.

Ms Faith Tino, female councilor representing PWDs said that people should understand their concerns not to think that they were voted into those offices purposely to cause fights and conflicts at the district.  “We are fighting for the common person who gave us the mandate because if the committee recommendations were made and are not reflected in the budget, then the communities will instead turn their guns on us, thinking the five years was a waste of time,” Ms Tino said.

The 30 and 40 councilors staged a peaceful protest and spent almost the whole day seated under the Muvule tree hoping that the LC5 –Mr Emmanuel Pajje or the accounting officer – CAO Elly P’wang, would possibly meet them and address their grievances differences but none of them surfaced.

Ms Koluwo Tasumba, female councilor representing Kakoli sub-county said that the executive and the technical staff should work together with the councilors than creating a rift: “These councilors have concerns but it is unfortunate and regrettable that none of the concerned officer has bothered to listen to them but instead they are trying to intimidate us that we shall not be paid our emoluments for the whole financial year. This is not the way to go.  We have been abandoned here under this tree and we are like total orphans. The district chairperson should think twice because we need each other. We are all servants of the people. It’s like a family, when children quarrel the parent has come out and listen to them but for this case the chairperson has done it contrary”.

Mr Emmanuel Sodyo, the councilor representing Kadimukoli sub-county  said the concerns of the councilors is not to refuse approving the budget but development projects should be spread to other sub-counties because their sub-counties which are likely not benefit in this budget.  Some of the sub-counties include Katira, Kameruka, Mugiti, Kakoli, and Iki-Iki.

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“This is a general concern from councilors that each and every sub-county should be catered in this budget, this district is moving in the wrong direction,” he said.

Ms Sophie Kyomugisha, councilor representing Budaka town council said that councilors have come together for a common cause not to fight the chairperson but  certain issues must be corrected, which councilors think are not moving well.“We need value for money because cases of shoddy work and poor road network is a common practice here in Budaka, we shall request the department of production to budget for banana suckers and then we plant in these poor roads,” she said.

Anthony Kateu, the councilor representing Iki-Iki observed in the previous financial year 2021/2022 the council appropriated 400 million shilling just to roof the administration block. “We have taken trouble to demand how many phases this administrative block will take us to complete but none of them  is committed but only continue budgeting for them same with no clear accountability. Even if we use total stupidity, this council cannot just approve this money like that!” Mr Kateu said.

We looked at the budget which the council was meant to approve worth 30.2 billion Shillings, of which the health sector takes 4.8billion Shillings, Education 15.9 billion Shillings, Production Shs 1.2billion Shillings, Natural resources 155million Shillings and roads 700 million Shillings.

However, the Budaka LC5 chairman, Mr Emmanuel Pajje, said that the budget is a process, where councilors and other stakeholders participated.   He explained that districts get circular -then the lower governments come up with budget conference.

“The draft budget was presented to council and they are all aware of the procedure which is clear that the draft budget goes back to sector committee for scrutinize and which was done, whatever, was captured remained the same and there was no alteration as councilors may think,” Mr Pajje said.

He explained that the people who think this council will solve their problems which is not true. “There people who are fronting their personal interests than people’s interests. This kind of method is ironical” Mr Pajje said   “I could not be so stupid to meet councilors who failed to understand their own budget document. I don’t need to interpret for them issues them themselves participated. I am not of that person.” -URN (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

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