Residents and local leaders in Nakaseke district have criticized the ongoing campaign to solicit food meant for feeding guests during the national Heroes day celebrations. Nakaseke district was selected to host this year’s national hero’s day celebrations on Sunday this weekend. As part of the preparations, Geoffrey Kyomukama, the Nakaseke Resident District Commissioner sent out letters soliciting for contributions from companies and individuals in cash and kind. However, the request has drawn strong criticism from residents and local leaders.
They have asked Frank Tumwebaze, the minister for presidency to block the fundraising campaign and investigate how the money allocated for the event was spent. Ignatius Koomu, the Nakaseke District LC V chairperson says the fundraising drive is abnormal and a shame to government. He also blames the mess on the lack of transparency by the organizing committee. Koomu explains that the district only received ten bags of rice and ten heads of cattle from Central government, which they think is insufficient to feed all the guests. The LC V chair says that they have received reports that government released 75 million shillings for the preparation, but neither Tecla Kinalwa, the secretary in office of president nor the national organizing committee can explain their expenditures.
Moses Ssenfuma, the LC III chairperson of Kapeeka Sub County says despite delivering letters to several residents he has not received any reply. He says residents are wondering whether government is unable to afford buying lunch for guests moreover at a national function. Ssenfuuma says that residents are also disappointed because the organizing committee has decided to exclude their leaders and area Members of parliament from the program to highlight affecting their area such as the delayed compensation of veterans, poor road network, and substandard health and education services in their area. Ronald Ssebuyungo, a resident in Kikamulo Sub County insists that government has money to fund such an event and believes the organizers want to embarrass it.
He says most residents are too poor and cannot contribute towards the preparations for such events. However, a member of the organizing committee who declined to be named for fear of reprisal says they rejected the proposal, but the RDC pushed through with it. The official says that they have already petitioned Syda Bbumba, the Nakaseke North MP to lobby for more funds from the central government for the event. Juma Mukasa, a resident of Butalangu town council suspects that the money budgeted for the celebrations could have been embezzled by the officials. Mukasa demands that Tumwebaze explains whether it is in order for government to lobby residents to feed guests at national celebrations.
Geoffrey Kyomukama, the Nakaseke RDC has admitted asking residents to contribute on voluntary basis.Attempts by our reporter to speak to either Frank Tumwebaze or Rose Namayanja, the Minister of Information and national guidance were futile. Namayanja sent back a text message saying she was held up in cabinet.