Masindi Speaker, Councilors clash over compensation money

The Masindi district speaker Moses Kirya faced a strong opposition and disagreement from a section of councilors over shs90m compensation money.

In December last year, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) compensated Masindi district local government for part of the land of Uganda Technical College-Kyema which was affected during the construction of the Kigumba- Masindi- Hoima- Kyenjojo road.

The land which was compensated for, is part of the institute’s 27.3 hectares which were donated by Masindi district local government in the early 2000s. However,it’s the district which still holds the title.

Individuals living along the same road, together with other institutions such as schools and churches, also received compensation. It was however noted that the shs90m is still stuck on the district account pending approval of what it should be used for.

The district chairperson Cosmas Byaruhanga, backed by the Speaker and a few councilors, suggested that the money gets wired to the college since the district donated the land.

However, a section of other councilors claim that the money would be of great value in solving some of the challenges being experienced by different sectors at the district, thus demanding that it remains on the district account.

“Some councilors want the college to get only 40% of the money. However, the Speaker and executive want the whole sum to be  wired to the college’s account,” a councilor who preferred anonymity said.

According to our sources, Andrew Musaazi the Principal at the College, wrote to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance Ramathan Ggoobi requesting for the money.

In his response, Ggoobi wrote to the Chief Administrative Officer, Masindi Phionah Sanyu requesting her to transfer all the money to the technical College.

However, during the Council sitting on Monday, chaos broke out after the Leader of government business who doubles as Vice chairperson Kassim Kabagonza said the executive was in support of Ggoobi’s directive.

Meanwhile, there had also been a caucus meeting to have a position on the same matter before council sitting, which later saw its chairman Simon Byaruhanga, suspended by the speaker. Byaruhanga is also the district’s male youth chairperson.

“The councilors were supposed to be in chambers by 10:00 am but they were delayed by the caucus meeting which should have happened earlier.  This is gross misconduct… I can’t take this lightly. It shows that you lack discipline. Due to that, you are asked to withdraw yourself from the council,” Kirya ruled.

However, councilors who had earlier been with Byaruhanga in the caucus meeting also withdrew from the council as soon as the Speaker suspended him, claiming it was a way of intimidating them. This forced the Speaker to adjourn the sitting for 20 minutes.

“We want to know our position as council on this matter. We want this money to remain here. We don’t want to be taken for granted,”Goodman Farouk, the councilor representing Nyanghya division said.

Innocent Ahungi, the councilor representing Bulima town council said, “Pupils are studying from dilapidated classes, while several communities lack wells or other sources of water. Why do you donate this money to a fully funded institution by central government?” Ahungi asked.

Citing too much pressure from the councilors, the speaker said, “you need to be careful in understanding the law. It’s important to make a lawful decision regarding this matter… for that matter the decision for the ministry stands,” Kirya ruled.

However, some councilors continued with the demands.

“We need this matter to be put into voting. Your rule is to rule on procedural matters but not deciding for us,” some of the councilors argued forcing the Speaker to adjourn the council unceremoniously.

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