Minister Babalanda Cautions West Nile RDCs Against Criminals who Cross to Uganda and Cause Insecurity

The Minister for Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda has advised the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Resident City Commissioners (RCCs), their deputies and DISOs in West Nile to be keen on the security situation in the sub-region.

According to the Minister, there is reported infiltration of small guns into the sub-region from Southern Sudan and Eastern DR Congo where the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorist group is still a big problem.

“We should not allow criminals to cross into Uganda to destabilise our people. Even if by-and-large the whole country is at peace within the borders, we should know that there are elements operating from outside the borders who are eager at destabilising the country. These must be fought with both hands,”she said.

The Minister who was represented by Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, the Senior Presidential Advisor- Industry, made the remarks today while officiating at the opening of a 3-day capacity building workshop for RDCs, RCCs, their deputies and DISOs in West Nile Subregion at White Castle Hotel, Arua City.

Hon. Babalanda urged the commissioners and DISOs that they should have a strategy for intelligence gathering especially through coordination with immigration officials and engagement with the Local Council chairpersons to reach out to the communities with information and for the police to undertake community policing.

Additionally, the Minister revealed that there are reported cases of inter-tribal conflicts that have the potential to escalate into full-blown conflicts.

“You are called upon to mobilise the communities to live in harmony and to report early signs of conflicts within the tribal communities,”she said.

“You should remind the people that we are all one and under one government that is working so hard to better their lives. There is no reason that brings a brother to fight their own brother. The people should instead redirect these energies into development and improving their lot,” she added.

Hon. Babalanda also informed the commissioners that they should work towards stopping encroachment on wetlands and forests.

“The issue of encroachment in wetlands and forest reserves is high in this sub-region especially here in Arua. There are constructions going up in swamps in Arua City and the other towns in the sub-region including also farming activities in the wetlands. This is in total defiance of the presidential directive on preserving wetlands. Constructions and farming in swamps blocks waterways and results in floodings 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 said.

“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, Hon. Babalanda tasked the commissioners to mobilise the people about government programs through the use of mass media.

“You have not taken advantage of the media; particularly radio, to sensitise the public. Yet it is a very powerful tool at your disposal. 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,” she asserted.

“I take the opportunity to remind you that you are the chief government communicators in your areas of jurisdiction. You are expected to share information with the public on government policies and programs. Additionally, you are the chief mobilizers in your districts and cities. You are supposed to mobilise the public to participate in government programs aimed at raising people’s incomes.”

She also explained that the people of West Nile still have land to do productive ventures including commercial agriculture and that the commissioners should encourage them to till the land to grow more food for household use and for selling off.

“My Office has continued to receive complaints about flaws in the implementation of PDM and Emyooga programs. We have as well, been receiving your briefs about Emyooga and PDM performance and these have been shared with the concerned officials at the national level,” the Minister said.

“We are addressing the gaps reported 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.”

Hon. Babalanda further disclosed that His Excellency the President and Appointing Authority recently appointed two Assistant RDCs/RCCs in each respective RDC/RCC office and the new staff are largely charged with general mobilisation and promotion of patriotism.

“I hope you have received them in your respective offices and you are offering them with support to enable them to settle in. The two staff will proceed to Kyankwanzi for an induction training at a date to be shared with you.

The Undersecretary- Office of the President, Mr. Emmanuel Walani who represented the Secretary- Office of the President, Hajji Yunus Kakande, reminded the RDCs that they are public servants who are mandated to serve the government to ensure that better services are delivered to Ugandans.

“You are serving a government that has a social contract with Uganda. You should work towards the socio-economic transformation of Ugandans,” Mr. Walani said.

He also informed the commissioners that their role is very crucial in the development of the country and that is why H.E the President appointed them to be his representatives in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

“Parliament tried to cut our budget and some of the affected parties were the RDCs but we managed to convince the MPs about your important role and we saved our budget,” Mr. Walani said.

The Managing Director of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC), Prof. Sudi Nangoli said monitoring and Evaluation is very crucial when it comes to helping the RDCs to fulfil their mandate.

He said achieving efficiency and value addition while monitoring is only realised when someone knows his/her roles and responsibilities.

“Article 203 clarifies that monitoring the implementation of central and local government services is your duty,” Prof. Sudi informed the commissioners.

“Monitoring and Evaluation ensures that government programs are achieving their intended goals. It also helps to identify and address challenges promptly as it provides accountability and transparency,” he said.

Prof. Nangoli also highlighted some of the challenges and remedies of Monitoring and Evaluation. He listed misuse of funds, shoddy construction works, theft and insecurity as some of the challenges.

He said they can overcome these challenges by enforcing accountability, mindset change training, use professionals, putting penalties for shoddy work, empower stakeholders and beef up security.

The Head of the RDC Secretariat, Maj. Martha Asiimwe informed the commissioners and DISOs about the objectives of the workshop.
She said the workshop is meant to appraise the RDCs and their deputies in their role to ensure socio-economic transformation.

“Through such workshops, we also update you on your performance and to further build your capacity in the field of monitoring and evaluation of government programs,”she said.

“We also equip you with more skills that are necessary to build your performance capabilities and we also share challenges being encountered by you and we share a way forward.”