Rwampara leaders reject Umbrella of Water and Sanitation project

The Umbrella of Water and Sanitation which was recently introduced in Rwampara district to manage all the water schemes and water sources in the district has divided leaders.

The clash in opinion manifested on Wednesday during Rwampara district council meeting between the district Speaker, Jotham Taremwa and a section of councilors.

It has been established that a number of locals and some local leaders intend to resist and reject the project.

Last year in December, a team from Umbrella of Water and Sanitation presented themselves in the  district council meeting and asked the councilors for a collaboration and be allowed to take care of the community water sources and schemes as they are mandated by the Ministry of Water and Environment.

It is further noted that, in 2018, the government through the Ministry of Water appointed Umbrella of Water and Sanitation to take care of some of the water projects in the South-Western region in which Nyabikungu scheme is inclusive and more other 11 water schemes &  gave the  Umbrella a direct mandate to take care of the system and gazette water supplies with a goal of having sustainable use of clean & safe water in Uganda.

However, in the recent council meeting, councilors were seen pronouncing themselves that all water schemes and sources be de-gazetted from Umbrella and let the communities manage their own water.

Chrispus Musinguzi, a male councilor representing workers, revealed that a number of water schemes and sources were constructed by the Non-government Organizations and that the communities have been taking care and managing the water  by themselves.

It is said that ACT, as a non-government organization, did a great job by identifying water sources and building the water schemes there and introducing them to the communities.

He says that Umbrella has not done anything in terms of rehabilitating any water sources or water schemes in Rwampara district but they only want to come in place and start putting tariffs to collect money from the communities on the water.

“We are saying if you want to collect money from these water sources, please increase their capacity, extend them to communities where there are no water services and you start collecting money from them. We pronounce ourselves that these schemes are being managed by communities. As leaders we had wanted Umbrella to go and sensitize the communities about what they wanted to do for them. We realized that their objectives were not very clear. Now we want all the schemes from Rwampara to be de-gazetted from Umbrella unless they make some rehabilitation and new construction to manage those water projects or sources,” said Musinguzi.

“I will stand on my position that most of these water sources were started by the communities and I am not interested in these water sources being gazetted by the Umbrella of Water and Sanitation. Let the communities manage their water,” said Benjamin Amanya, Finance Secretary Rwampara district.

Councillors went on to insist on a resolution to dismiss the Umbrella of Water and Sanitation in Rwampara district from managing communities’ water sources and schemes.

The move was however blocked by the Speaker Mwesigwa.

Speaker Jotham Mwesigwa, councilors during the council meeting

Quoting the law and using the power entrusted to him, he directed the CAO to write to the relevant authorities seeking for the guidance into the matter regarding if such an organization (Umbrella) that was appointed by ministry can easily be dismissed from operating its activities as mandated for in a district.

Rwampara district Woman Member of Parliament, Molly Asiimwe who had attended the same council as an EX-Official was also in support of the Umbrella project and implored fellow leaders especially the district councilors to always be mindful of the decisions that are made in their council.

Rwampara DWMP Molly Asiimwe addressing the council

She advised them to desist from politicizing most of the decisions that are made in this same council which indirectly affect service delivery in the areas these councilors represent.

“…Let’s allow the Umbrella Project to install the water meters and bring the water that whenever you can afford it you can buy as many jerry cans as you can afford. Don’t be so negative about this kind of project because Umbrella is one of the service providers that will bring services to the people.

“There is more information that is needed for us to reach a conclusion and the masses also need to be sensitized not to react against any of these water projects, what we need is water. I also want to urge that we not politicize services done by some of us as leaders. Now we are going into a very politically heated season, so we don’t need to mingle our political differences in the field with service delivery because it confuses people,”Asiimwe advised.

Councilors during the meeting

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