M7 INTERVENES AS CHAOS REIGN IN NUP-GOVERNED LUWERO WITH NUP BOSSES GOING AFTER EACH OTHER’S THROAT & NECK
By Mulengera Reporters
All isn’t well for Luwero Town Council Mayor John Chris Buwembo (of NUP) who is facing what he terms Town Clerk and CAO-instigated uprising from Councilors including those from his own NUP party. Recently, a group of Councilors even embarked on solicitation of signatures to impeach NUP‘s JC Buwembo and replace him with Councilor Kakande of NRM. They accused him of incompetence and bad leadership. They never elaborated.
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Ironically, these rampaging Councilors, who Buwembo says have been infiltrated to protect corrupt members of the technical wing, have the active support of Luwero Town Council Speaker Rebecca Namale who is his fellow NUP. Quite strangely, it’s the Deputy Speaker Prossy Namboowa of DP who is standing in solidarity with the Mayor who gratefully also has the active support of the RDC, DISO and Luwero Police DPC.
Gratefully, Mayor Buwembo has so far managed to galvanize and still have the support of Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya and majority of the 27 Luwero Town Council Councilors. Buwembo is sure of support of 20 Councilors including 6 from NRM who, unexpectedly, have turned out to be more reasonable and more pro-people than some of their NUP counterparts.
Tired of being suffocated by a conspiracy being funded by members of the technical wing who stand accused of using money to confuse some of the NUP Councilors, Buwembo recently cried out to several agencies of government seeking for rescue. Some of the offices he petitioned include PPDA, IGG and State House whose Anti-corruption Unit has since commenced investigations into the corruption allegations about which Buwembo has been blowing the whistle and raising the red flag.
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His whistle blowing has since prompted the President to prompt his Economic Monitoring Minister Peter Ogwang to intervene to tame corruption practices that are said to be rampant both in Luwero Town Council and the District Local Government. In one of his whistle blower petitions, Buwembo claims that the rampant corruption of the technical wing is the reason Luwero Town Council dream to be elevated to Municipality won’t be getting realized soon. He illustrates this by asserting that the Luwero Town Council budget for the FY2022/2023 stands at Shs1.46bn as opposed to the actual capacity or potential of Shs2bn. He asserts that the difference of Shs600m is what the Town Council annually loses in technical wing corruption.
The truth is that, comprising of a large land expanse of 8kms comprising of taxable properties, Luwero is way more qualified for Municipality status than the likes of Sheema, Koboko, Moroto and others which are already Municipalities. The Mayor Buwembo claims that a lot of would-be revenue collected is undeclared in the Town Council’s books even when the ordinary taxpayers, especially property owners, pay as much. And at Buwembo‘s instigation, Peter Ogwang, the State House anti-corruption Unit and IGG have all agreed to inquire into the circumstances under which two companies, namely PRAMI Ltd and MWANWAG, came to be awarded the contract or tender to handle the collection of all property rates collection for Luwero Town Council.
The Luwero Town Council Mayor has also managed to get several government agencies including PPDA, IGG, SHACU and Ogwang‘s Economic Monitoring Unit to agree to inquire into the circumstances under which a company called Donrite Investments Ltd has been having a lion’s share of all big lucrative infrastructure construction projects in Luwero Town Council and elsewhere in Luwero District. He wants the inquiry to cover expenditures relating to fuel vouchers and purchase of land to serve as the garbage dumping site for the Town Council.
So far Shs40m has been expended for that purpose and Buwembo is intrigued that the technical wing, led by Town Clerk Irene Nakamate, are saying this is just part payment since the total is Shs125m. Yet Buwembo and Councilors who are pro-him are rejecting this on grounds that members of the old Council, that was led by NRM Mayor Paul Mukungu Senyonga, confided in them the entire price was approved as Shs40m without any balance being payable and due.
According to PPDA‘s Doreen K Mulema and Gertrude Namayanja, the procurement regulator (having been petitioned by a whistle blower) has already commenced investigations into mal-procurement decisions and transactions both Luwero Town Council and Luwero Local Government have been undertaking over the last three Financial Years. They are targeting to investigate both the CAO Elizabeth Namande and Town Clerk Irene Nakamate. Specifically, they are inquiring into framework contracts into the supply of road materials, call off orders relating to Donrite Investments Ltd and Kast Engineering Works Ltd.
The PPDA procurement audit will also look into the circumstances under which PRAMI and MWANWAG Ltd got to be given the tender to collect property rates during the FYs 2020/2021and 2021/2022. They are also inquiring into the purchase of Kigavu (wet)land for garbage disposal from Henry Kiggundu at Shs125m as opposed to Shs40m which the Council had approved and Luwero Town Council garbage collection tender which was awarded to Brome Fountain Ltd.
The other areas being inquired into include the awarding of the road works relating to Masanyalaze road and the installation of 7 lines of culverts on top of the grading of the 1.7km road. The CAO will also be required to explain herself regarding the awarding of the stone-pitching works on Castella road in Wobulenzi Town Council in favor of Donrite Investments Ltd. The other areas include the supply of water extension pipes and fittings to water department by Donrite Investments Ltd at Shs105m; the supply of furniture to Luwero Town Council by Donrite; the supply of three Seater desks for Butuntumula Sub County by a company called Unity is Power General Agencies and the contract for the expansion of the Luwero District Headquarters by Donrite Investments Ltd at Shs799m.
The PPDA auditors have demanded that the embattled Luwero District CAO Elizabeth Namande submits all procurement action files and all the other relevant documentation. The CAO also stands accused of shielding and protecting the Town Clerk who she is supposed to supervise simply because they are very good friends. Previously the Town Clerk for Wobulenzi Town Council from where her departure was acrimonious, Irene Nakamate until a few months ago doubled as Luwero Town Council Clerk and also the Ag Deputy CAO for Luwero District. She only ceased to be Ag Deputy CAO after chaos erupted regarding the transfer and redeployment of Town Clerks which never was. The whistle blowers and petitioners have demanded that the MLOG transfers both of them to different districts because their personal friendship is too deep for the CAO Elizabeth Namande to carry out any effective supervision over Irene Nakamate.
The Town Clerk is also accused of wooing over several Councilors, the Speaker and at least two members of Buwembo’s executive committee (Cabinet) to aid her efforts to manipulate the budgeting process to serve her own interests as a technical leader in Luwero Town Council. That some exco members have been promised beter paying jobs once they reign in order to make the whistle blowing Buwembo deflated ad isolated.
Yet that isn’t all. In a recent petition, Councilors pointed at the fact that Luwero Town Council has only two garbage collection trucks, which aren’t even in good state, to operate in the 19 villages as evidence that Irene Nakamate was an indifferent Town Clerk who doesn’t care about community health problems resulting hygienic problems resulting from failure to dispose garbage. The petitioners claimed the rest of the Councilors are too timid and fearful to antagonize Irene Nakamate. They asked the CAO Elizabeth Namande to exercise some supervisory powers and crack the whip but nothing happened. The Councilors are angry that each time they write to both CAO and Town Clerk, they are contemptuously ignored. Their letters are never responded to.
For not acting decisively against the Town Clerk, each time she is petitioned, Speaker Rebecca Namale is also facing impeachment process after more than 10 Councilors initiated related proceedings by signing up to a document demanding her ouster. Despite being their fellow NUP member, majority Councilors want Namale sanctioned on grounds she no longer cares about the issues of the ordinary people. That she these days cares only about the interests of and what pleases the Town Clerk and CAO as opposed to the NUP agenda which is about prioritizing the interests of the ordinary man.
That during the budgeting process, the Speaker gagged Councilors by not allowing them to talk especially those she suspected would say things which the TC doesn’t want to hear. That was on 24th May 2022 when chaos erupted as Councilors fought because of the incompetence with which the Speaker conducted the session. That in that same meeting, the Speaker disregarded the Mayor’s submissions relating to the budget and instead gave chance to two LC1 Chairpersons, who aren’t even Council members, to talk and even influence the final outcome of the meeting. These LC1 bosses are for Kakokolo and Kiyenje villages.
The Speaker Rebecca Namale is also in trouble regarding the Mityana trip she made on 11th May 2022 using the Luwero Town Council money. The angry Councilors are aggrieved that Namale sidelined her Deputy Prossy Namboowa (of DP and the two ladies are archrivals over the Mayor vs. Town Clerk fights) and instead went with Youth Councilor Peter Sewagudde and Kavule parish Councilor Irene Namata yet the invitation clearly required the Speaker and Deputy. The event was about the gathering of the umbrella that unites all Speakers from Buganda region and at the end of that Umbrella general assembly meeting, Rebecca Namale was elected General Secretary. Asserting that she remains culpable of misconduct, incompetence and abuse of office, close to 15 Councilors have signed up to a petition demanding sanction against their Speaker Rebecca Namale.
As the elected leaders and their voters await for Ogwang‘s visit next week, Mayor Buwembo is demanding immediate transfer of three technical wing members namely the Town Clerk Irene Nakamate, Town Council Treasurer Rajab Fatuma and Auditor Erias Tiguhingwa. He says the trio has formed a powerful gang whose members don’t mean well for the future development and prosperity of Luwero Town Council. Yet it’s not hard to understand why Buwembo considers the Town Clerk Irene Nakamate unforgivable.
Some members of his executive committee have threatened to resign besides some Councilors being manipulated to try to impeach him out of office, Erias Lukwago style. Gratefully, majority of the 7 Councilors who had initially been enthusiastic have since written to the area Chief Magistrate and the Speaker distancing themselves from the censure move. They say their signatures weren’t properly obtained. That they were misled as to the reason why the signatures were being solicited.
As for the executive committee, technical wing members working to appease Irene Nakamate managed to influence Finance Secretary Peter Sewagudde and his girlfriend Diana Ndibalekera who had been Gender Secretary and Deputy Mayor to bow out. Buwembo accuses Irene Nakamate of trying to manipulate the duo to even drag him to Court over work-related disagreements.
The pro-Buwembo Councilors have also reciprocated by making life very hard for the Town Clerk Irene Nakamate by denying her business which has to come from Council Committees which haven’t been sitting lately. This has led to polarization which the intervention of Peter Ogwang, SHACU, IGG and PPDA is expected to work towards deescalating and curing. Ogwang, who has already been to many parts of Uganda supervising service delivery, has vowed to act tough against technical wing members in both Luwero Town Council and LG who have been messing up services delivery for the people. And currently, there is anxiety heads are going to roll and some people might end up being incarcerated. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).