Minister Babalanda Tasks RDCs To Ensure Terrorist Cells Are Cleared Off in Greater Masaka

The Minister for the Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda has tasked the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and Resident City Commissioners (RCCs) in Greater Masaka to work with security agencies to ensure that the mushrooming terrorist cells are wiped out from the sub-region.

The Minister expressed concern that there were rising cases of terrorist cells in Buganda as well as resurrection of machete-men ‘abebijambiya’ who are terrorizing Ugandans, most especially also linked to land wrangles.

“You should have a strategy for intelligence gathering especially through engagement with the LC 1 chairpersons to reach out to the communities with information and for the police to undertake community policing. You should as well engage with places of entertainment, and stakeholders such as market masters, bar and hotel owners etc, to improve vigilance and intelligence gathering,” Hon. Babalanda revealed.

The Minister made the remarks today in her message delivered by the Senior Presidential Advisor- Industries, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde during the opening of a three day capacity building workshop for RDCs/RCCs/Deputies, RISOs and DISOs in Greater Masaka Sub-region, held at Hotel Brovad, Masaka City.

Hon. Babalanda also noted that the issue of encroachment in wetlands is more dramatized in Buganda Region and especially in Greater Masaka.

She said there are many powerful constructions going up in wetlands in the sub-region in total defiance of the presidential directive.

“Constructions in swamps are also blocking waterways and resulting in floods and washing away of roads and bridges. As an interim measure you will need to engage with the District and Urban Authorities to stop approving plans in the wetlands,” she noted.

” Also, the issue of degradations and encroachments in forest reserves has come up again and again in this subregion. You will need to double your vigilance in protecting these public resources and to follow up on the matters with guidance of the National Forest Authority and local stakeholders.”

On the other hand, the Minister also disclosed that she had information that the money that was released by the center to support irrigation schemes is being returned for failure to absorb it.

” This program was initiated by H.E the President to facilitate commercialized agriculture and it is a very big embarrassment to his effort and a shame to the country if these funds are returned to the center,” she said before advising the commissioners to liaise with the respective Chief Administrative Officers to establish reasons for this lack of absorption and ways of how these funds can be applied to benefit the intended target groups.

She further rallied the commissioners to make use of the media to mobilize the people in the sub region.

“This is a very serious gap that must be filled as soon as possible. You should not keep silent when our people are denied services from the government. You have the information the people need to learn of how their government is intervening in their situations. Please share this information as widely as possible.”

Hon. Babalanda expressed concern over the rising cases of illegal land evictions in Buganda despite the government’s efforts to eliminate the vice.

“Land wrangles are now more centered within families where relatives disagree on land ownerships and in the process harm each other. It is therefore pertinent that the RDCs increasingly involve and obtain guidance from the Office of the Administrator General to resolve these family-related conflicts. What recently happened in Mubende where lives were lost and in Kalungu where family members nearly destroyed each other should help to amplify this point,”Hon. Babalanda expounded.

“Yet I am also aware that some senior politicians are behind some of these illegal evictions and they tend to intimidate you into making wrong decisions. I wish to advise you to report these politicians to the center where we can take appropriate actions. Overall, you are reminded of the Presidential directive of February 28, 2022 which gives comprehensive instructions on management of land evictions,” she added.

Hon. Babalanda also took an opportunity to remind the Commissioners that they are the chief government communicators in their areas of jurisdiction and they are expected to share information with the public on government policies and wealth creation programs such as Parish Development Model and Emyooga aimed at alleviating Ugandans from poverty.

“The People of Greater Masaka still have land to do productive ventures including commercial agriculture. Please encourage your people to till the land to grow more food for household use and for selling off.”

“We are therefore addressing the gaps reported especially in the Greater Masaka sub-region. But I need to remind you that as RDCs you represent the President’s interests in these two programs. You know why H.E the President introduced these programs. You know what he needs and you are his shock absorbers. I do not expect you to sleep on your jobs. We have always addressed you on these programs and we do not expect any excuses. You sleep on the appointing authority’s initiative; you lose your job.”

The Secretary- Office of the President, Hajji Yunus Kakande told the RDCs/RCCs that during such workshops, they are reminded of their core mandate as representatives of the President in their respective areas of jurisdictions.

“We cannot ignore our role, we keep on training you on how properly you can deliver service better,” Hajji Kakande said.

“Please give this issue of service delivery the importance it deserves. You are of course the head of security but we should also put emphasis on service delivery to steer economic development,” he added.

Hajji Kakande also implored the Commissioners to take charge of the monitoring role of PDM, a development strategy he said aims at uplifting household incomes and enhancing the quality of life for the substantial percentage of Ugandan households still entrenched in subsistence livelihoods.

“The success of PDM will really give the NRM government and President Museveni in particular a milestone in the socio-economic transformation of this country,”he explained.

“The model should be a game changer. I implore you to be super implementers of this program and ensure that the beneficiaries utilise this fund properly.”

The Secretary in the Office of the President further disclosed that the government was in the final process of taking back full control of its parastatals because they have failed to deliver according to expectations.

“They are going to be mainstreamed. RDCs, you have to put in more effort because the government has seen that where they are, they are not performing according to expectations. It is therefore upon you to monitor and evaluate government programs.Ensure that they are implemented in time so that any obstacles that are identified are dealt with.”

Hajji Kakande on the other hand rallied the commissioners to work hand in hand to ensure that President Yoweri Museveni’s coffee value addition agenda is achieved.

“The President is more than determined to stop the exportation of Uganda’s raw materials unprocessed. This is your area of emphasis to talk to your entrepreneurs in the area to start small scale value addition industries,” Hajji Kakande said.

“Most countries have prospered because of coffee and in Uganda it has been our main cash crop. We should see how we can expand it. Right now we are producing about 7 million bags of coffee. How about if we hit 20 Million bags? Greater Masaka has a potential for coffee. Economic development battle should be everyone’s responsibility.”

On the issue of environmental conservation, Hajji Kakande said the RDCs should use their technical officers and police to make sure that the people doing degradation with impunity are dealt with.

“Also make sure that no Kibanja holder is evicted from land without following proper procedures.”

The Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) Managing Director Prof. Sudi Nangoli who presented a paper on Monitoring and Evaluation of government programs urged the RDCs/RCCs to always monitor the programs whenever resources have been released and received by user department, during the implementation of a program and after implementation.

“You should study work- plans and budgets before proceeding to monitor if some activities were planned and budgeted for. If outputs are completed, examine functionality and use by population,” Prof. Nangoli said.

“You are the RDC and you must support the government and if you don’t support it then you must not be in that position and while doing your role, you should not only think about NRM, think for Uganda. We should deal with everyone despite their political or religious backgrounds,”he added.

The Head of the RDC Secretariat, Maj. Martha Asiimwe enlightened that the Regional Capacity Building Workshops for RDCs/RCCs, deputies and DISOs are meant to remind the commissioners and DISOs of their core mandate of supervision, monitoring, mobilisation and effective representation of the Central Government and H.E the President.

“The workshops are also aimed at refocusing the commissioners and DISOs to critical and prioritized government programs and projects where they should lead to achieve set objectives and ultimate goals as well as equipping them with more appropriate skills and tools to enhance their operation in their respective districts and cities,”Maj. Asiimwe said.

” The workshops also help the commissioners to share with their supervisors the challenges affecting their operations in the field.”

The workshop was also attended by Officials from the Office of the President, Presidential Advisors and Commissioners from the RDC Secretariat.