By Charles Kakamwa
District leaders have asked the government to address their challenges including the payment of salaries to district deputy speakers and provision of means of transport to facilitate the effective execution of their duties.
Delegates at an extraordinary meeting of the Uganda District Council Speakers Association (UDICOSA) in Jinja town on Friday noted that though district deputy speakers were included on government payroll for a monthly salary of sh400,000 they were later removed in March 2012 under unclear circumstances.
"When we sought explanation, we were told that deputy speakers accessed the payroll erroneously but we request government to recognize them as fulltime employees of the districts and re-instate them on the payroll. Their arrears should also be cleared," UDICOSA chairman Andrew Odongo said.
Odongo who is also the speaker of Soroti district council, noted with concern that despite the huge workload of district speakers and LC 5 chairmen, they lack vehicles to facilitate their movement.
He noted that though petitions concerning the issues and the need for increased funding to local governments, were presented to president Yoweri Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and other relevant bodies, no action has been taken yet.
Peter Odok W'Oceng the president of the Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) challenged local leaders and community members to expose corruption tendencies which he said frustrate service delivery.
"Corruption is a scandal that can be fought if we all play our roles as concerned citizens. Parish development committees and members of the public should monitor development projects and report any anomalies," he advised.
"But as leaders, we should begin by fighting the practice of buying votes because it is the beginning of corruption. We should be honest and exemplary as leaders," he warned.
Odok also cautioned civil servants such as permanent secretaries in ministries, chief administrative officers and sub county chiefs against being misled by politicians into embezzlement of public funds.
He was optimistic the concerns raised by delegates would be handled by the government. During the day-long meeting, members approved the memorandum of understanding between UDICOSA and ULGA.