Districts on alert as polling day nears

Witness Media Limited

Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi

President Yoweri Museveni has directed district security committees to meet and draw up a strategy for combating anticipated election-related violence.

The country goes to the polls on Thursday in what is likely to be a do-or-die election as Museveni seeks to extend his hold onto power to 40 years.

Museveni’s directive was communicated through the Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi who met district leaders at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kampala.

The district chiefs under their umbrella association of Uganda Local Governments Association (ULGA) had gone to meet the minister as part of their advocacy for improved service delivery at the local government level.

Magyezi who is also a member of Museveni’s re-election taskforce told the district leaders that government is wary of the events that followed the November 18, 2020 arrest of presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and would therefore not want to put anything to chance.

Riots broke out around the country as news of Kyagulanyi’s arrest in the eastern Uganda district of Luuka spread leading to the death of at least 54 people.

According to Magyezi’s communication, the district security committees are expected to sit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government is mooting a policy that will entitle district Chairpersons to retirement benefits.

“We are going to come up with a policy paper to request cabinet to consider a retirement package for the district political leaders,” Magyezi said.

This followed a proposal fronted by ULGA vice-president (Western), Patrick Keihwa Besigye, asking the government to give a political exit package for the district leaders.

“Their current remuneration cannot support them live a good life having served the public diligently. It’s our humble submission that a package is put in place for these leaders, and even the vehicles they currently have be given to them as an exit package,” Besigye said.

The district leaders also protested the presidential ban on small market dues and urged the minister to advise the president on better strategies on how best Local governments can raise revenue without unfairly taxing the population.


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