THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO ELECT VILLAGE LOCAL COUNCILS TO EFFECT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
Sunday, September 11, 2011 I had opportunity to attend one relatively successful village meeting in Bweya – Kajjansi trading centre. The unusual I saw among other things is the big turn up of owners of wheels. Normally, these people tend to be unconcerned with developments that go on in village meetings; however, after Chairman Mubiru’s mobilization effort prior to the meeting, it was encouraging to see a big turn-up though of course time management remains a big problem for most. The meeting had been well tailored such that it would have taken about 4 hours to cover in detail the agenda of the evening.
One big advantage with LC I meetings is that they are cheap to organize as residents can come with seats; others may sit on mats or even grass. It is most unfortunate that the LC I’s we have in place operate illegally given that they expired long ago in 2006. This is one reason why they are not effective in many instances regarding mobilization and coming up with effective resolutions these days. The other thing that needs to be looked into is how these Council’s members are nominated by the Chairman. This defeats the desired democracy. As long as people can elect, they should be left to elect those they think can best deliver services, not what a single person sees as friends or those he can cooperate with.
In the Bweya meeting the members present had opportunity to hear from the NAADS coordinator, and it was unfortunate that the area was seen as a poor beneficiary of NAADS services; hence those present were told to turn up on 17th to elect those that would help in service delivery for NAADS programmes to the community. One councilor equated the area to Karamoja and she said with emphasis that Bweya was actually the Karamoja of Ssisa sub-county!
Dr. Collin Sentongo who happens to be a resident of the area told the meeting that he was ready to join a Development Oriented Committee to help development projects in the area. He told the group that he had worked on a section of 2 km road to help ease movement and hoped that the people would endeavour to look after this road properly. He however said that he was disappointed that out of 40 trees planted by the road side, some people had decided to uproot a few which was unfortunate.
The meeting benefited from the representatives of the Village Health Team (VHT) who told the gathering that they had been trained in administering primary health care, and that they would give treatment on first seeing the patient so as to advise the cares accordingly, in which case they did not have medication for taking home to await the sickness.
The issue of the bad roads which were taking so long to be worked on was raised. The meeting was told of the procedures in procuring a tractor to work on the road and that fuel had to be mobilized to have the work undertaken. There was concern that children were so much involved in spoiling the road by collecting sand for sell which is deposited when ever there is some good rain. The members agreed that no body should collect this sand as it made roads poorer.
On the issue of security, it was agreed that insecurity threatened the place and there was need to have night patrols back. The members agreed to paying shs 1,000 per household per month as incentive pay to those who would be involved in the guard services. Households were told to maintain an exercise book where each household would the signature by the one who collected the money in acknowledgment of receipt.
There was concern about a number of children who don’t attend school. The LC III Chairman Ssisa sub-county encouraged the parents to ensure that their children went to school as it was the best investment for the children. He further cautioned about the continued sell of land which was to throw many into poverty.
All in all, Government ought to work fast to see the LC I elections off ground. There is no need of wasting billions, the most effective LC I’s were those of 1986 and these elections were not that expensive to the taxpayer as now when the Electoral Commission wants so many billions, and when those billions are not raised; the people remain on the losing side as the development they would get through properly elected representatives is delayed.