By Davis Buyondo
Construction work for the Kyotera district headquarters has stalled for four months.
At least shs540,000,000 which had been apportioned for the project was diverted to several other projects in different sub-counties.
This follows a directive from the Ministry of Finance instructing Fred Kalyesubula, the Kyotera Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to implement it.
Projects such as the construction of the maternity ward at Nabigasa HC III took shs140M, construction of Kalisizo rural sub-county headquarters (shs100M) and revamp of Kyojja swamp (shs100M).
Others are the construction of Kabira roadside market (shs100M) and construction of Kasaali roadside market (shs100M).
The ministry’s directive did not please the councilors. They have since February protested the move and maintained that the funds be used for its original purpose.
In 2018, Kyotera District contracted Owen Construction Company Ltd, to construct a three-story administration block estimated at shs1.5bn.
Once completed, the district council proposed to name the Council Hall after the Late Vincent Ssemakula Ssetuba, the former Rakai district Chairperson, who passed on in June last year.
According to Hajji Sulaiman Ssamula, the Company’s Managing
Director, he received an initial deposit of shs300m to begin the project as the
district promised more funding in the process.
But along the way, he explained, the project stalled because of lack of money to buy building materials and pay the casual labourers.
“My hands are tied due to lack of
funds. I can neither buy construction materials nor pay my labourers. When the
district pays, then we shall continue with the project”, he said.
Last month, the district council declined to pass the 2019/2020
Financial Year budget claiming that the projects, for which the district
headquarters funds were allocated, had not been included in the draft.
Although district budgets are supposed to be approved or passed by May 31st, the councilors requested for all the projects to be included for transparency.
Agnes Namusiitwa, Kakuuto
sub-county councilor, said some departments had included issues that had not
been discussed by the council yet other pertinent ones had been excluded.
She argued that the money was diverted to only sub-counties in Kyotera County yet it was supposed to benefit sub-counties in Kakuuto County.
“This exhibited selfish intentions since the funds went to only one county yet the whole district was purposed to benefit,” she added.
Minister Kasolo Accused
There has been a longstanding dispute between Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo, the State minister Micro-finance and Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera LC5 Chairperson with his councilors.
Kisekulo and the councilors accuse Kasolo of influencing diversion of the district headquarters’ funds to other projects.
“What we know is that minister Kasolo influenced the diversion of the funds which has since affected the construction process,” he argued.
While the activities, to which the funds were diverted, are relevant, Kisekulo said that focus would have been put on completing the district headquarters first, and then look for other alternative sources to fund the rest of the projects.
However, Kasolo denied the accusations saying they were politically engineered.
He added that he lobbied for that money to help different sub-counties in the entire district without any discriminating factor as Kisekulo alleges.
“Refusing to pass the district budget deprives electorates of their right to good service delivery. Those councilors who refused to pass the budget are simply being influenced by Kisekulo to tarnish my name,” he explained.
Friends turn enemies
Kasolo and Kisekulo are prominent National Resistance Movement (NRM) diehards and campaigners. Kisekulo brought Kasolo to the limelight in the 2011 general elections. He campaigned for him to win Pius Mujuzi who was the incumbent of the same party.
However, the two rivals buried hatchets few months to the 2016 election campaign after several NRM carders intervened and reconciled them.
Kisekulo became Kasolo’s chief campaigner in the highly contested Kyotera county parliamentary seat. They assumed victory to that effect.
But rumours started building up that Kasolo had intensions of fronting Charles Zziridamu to contest for Kisekulo’s seat which has since brewed feud between them. Zziriddamu contested with Kisekulo but lost the battle.
On any public event, the two personalities will find an opportunity to attack each other before their electorates.
Currently, the fight has become more technical than the two rivals are currently applying sophisticated strategies to ruin their opponents.
However, NRM supporters and carders have urged Kisekulo and Kasolo to bury their swords for the good of the party and the district as well.