“We have been telling the nation over the years that the Luweero ministry is useless to our people. It is used as a conduit to enrich some few individuals,” MP Luttamaguzi
Nakaseke South MP Semakula Luttamaguzi (black suit) with some of Nakaseke's residents at Parliament on March 8, 2017. Photo by Maria Wamala
The parliament presidential affairs committee has raised a red flag on the budget for the Luweero Triangle ministry, arguing it cannot serve the purpose of developing the war ravaged area.
The committee chairperson Jesca Ababiku told the parliament plenary on Tuesday that out of the total of sh36.7b allocated the ministry, a sh34b, which is 92% of the budget is spent on recurrent expenditures and only sh2.7b is spent on development expenditure.
This clearly shows that the ministry's is not budget is not focused on developing the area because the budget is predominantly spent on recurrent expenditures.
The minister for Luweero Triangle Dennis Galabuzi Ssozi explained that the sh34b for recurrent expenditure is spent on paying gratuity (Kasiimo) to civilian veterans.
The Public Accounts Committee was also recently shocked to learn that there was no record of the beneficiaries of the Kasiimo money since the scheme started in 2008.
The anomaly was raised in the 2013/2014 Auditor General's report which called for further investigation into the matter so that the culprits can be prosecuted.
"During the year, sh6.1b was transferred to the bank for onward transfer to the beneficiaries. However, as mentioned in my previous years report, neither the committee responsible nor the Office of the Prime Minister has a comprehensive verifiable database of the combatants who have been paid and those who are pending six years after the onset of the scheme," the Auditor General stated.
The Auditor General noted that ever since the Kasiimo project was started in 2008, there has not been proper accountability for the funds allocated to it.
The Kasiimo beneficiaries are selected by the National Veterans committee which is chaired by Colonel Jacob Asiimwe.
The Nakaseke South MP Paul Kasana Luttamaguzi said, "We have been telling the nation over the years that the Luweero ministry is useless to our people. It is used as a conduit to enrich some few individuals in government and to hoodwink the people of Luweero that government cares about them. I comment the presidential affairs to confirm our cry."
Luttamaguzi revealed that as leaders of Greater Luweero they had discovered that even the Kasiimo money goes to veterans drawn from 50 districts including districts from western Uganda and Eastern Uganda.
"Even the sh2.7b which is reportedly going to development expenditure is predominantly going into administrative costs including travel inland and travel abroad. There is nothing from that ministry that goes to the ordinary people. That is why we want that ministry abolished so that it is replaced with a development fund to be managed by our area local governments," Luttamaguzi argued.
The chairperson of Greater Luweero Development Forum (GLUDEF) Christopher Ssebatta said, "We also last year looked at the breakdown of the budget for Luweero Triangle ministry and we were shocked to discover that actually the whole budget is on recurrent expenditures. No wonder over the years ever since the ministry was created the people of Luweero not felt its significance."
Ssebatta, who is finalizing his PHD in agriculture at Makerere University, said, "Let them take the money for veterans to the ministry for veteran affairs and you see that only sh2.7b is left for the Luweero ministry which is also spent on administrative costs. No wonder a big number of our people believe the government they sacrificed for to bring into power forgot them.