ACODE: Tribalism, Money and Ignorance Fueling Conflicts in Greater Masaka Districts

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In short
In Bukomansimbi, five councilors led by Shaffic Mwanje are planning to censure the LC V chairperson Muhammad Kateregga for alleged abuse of office.

 Tribalism, greed for money and ignorance of the constitution and local Government Act are some of the factors fueling conflicts in new districts in greater Masaka. They are Lwengo, Kalungu and Bukomansimbi districts.

The three districts were curved out of Masaka district in 2010 to take services closer to the people. However, the three districts have been embroiled in conflicts for the last four years. In Lwengo district, the councilors are up against the LC V chairperson George Mutabaazi.
The councilors have already petitioned the Local Government Ministry indicating their intention to censure Mutabaazi for alleged incompetence and flogging residents for refusing to participate in community service.

Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment-ACODE, an organization that evaluates performance in Local Government in annually has singled tribalism, greed for money and ignorance of the Constitution and Local Government Act as the persistent cause of conflicts in the three districts.

Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha, the Executive Director ACODE says tribalism is tearing up Lwengo district. He says that councilors have ganged up against Mutabaazi because he is not a Muganda. Dr. Bainomigisha also says the fact that district chairperson gets a higher pay compared to the councilors is also a source of conflicts. 

He says the councilors believe that Mutabaazi connived with the Chief Administrative Officer to embezzle public funds because they have to wait for allowances. He says ignorance on the roles and functions of councilors as stated in the Local Government Act and constitution is a big challenge. 
Bainomugisha notes that majority of councilors in Bukomansimbi and Kalungu districts cannot read and understand the Constitution and Local Government act. He says the conflicts have taken a huge toll on service delivery in the three districts due to lack of team work. George Mutabaazi, the Lwengo LC V chairperson concurs with the observations of ACODE but denies the claim of tribalism. 

He says although he is branded a Munyarwanda, he is a Ugandan National since he has lived in Uganda his entire life. Mutabaazi denies accusations of discriminating some councilors based on tribal considerations. He brands those opposed to him led by Abdul Mugendawala, the representative of Ndagwe Sub County as illiterates. 

Mutabaazi says councilors like Mugendawala who cannot construct an English language sentence are the ones masterminding the fight against him. Mutabaazi no longer attends district council meetings on grounds that the district speaker Mac Turyeijuka is ineligible to preside over the sessions. 
He argues that, since Turyeijuka was arrested in February this year for alleged defilement he is unfit to preside over council session. Turyeijuka didn't appear in court since David Bakibiinga, the Masaka Principal Resident Attorney said his file wasn't complete. However, the speaker has repeatedly denied the charges and instead blames his woes on Mutabaazi.
In Bukomansimbi, five councilors led by Shaffic Mwanje are planning to censure the LC V chairperson Muhammad Kateregga for alleged abuse of office. The councilors are collecting signatures to remove Katerega from office on grounds that he connived with Mukasa Kityo, the Bukomansimbi RDC to frustrate the removal of the District Education Officer Patrick Zziwa.
Kalungu district, which was also curved out of Masaka is hefty court fines for the illegal removal of the speaker Raphael Kisekka. Currently, the district is stuck with two speakers. Following the censure of Kisekka, the councilors elected Daniel Ssejoba. However, court has since reinstated Kisekka but the district has refused to return him to office.

Emmanuel Musoke, the Kalungu LC5 Chairman says he offered to resolve the wrangle outside court but Kisekka frustrated him. He accuses Kisekka and his team of escalating the fights to get money.

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Raphael Kisekka, the embattled speaker of Kalungu insists Musoke is spearheading the campaign against his return to office. He says he has evidence showing that the district executive asked Bruno Mwayita, the Kalungu Chief Administrative Officer to block his reinstatement.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.