Why Balyeku Snubbed Sakwa, Handed Over COVID-19 Cash to Town Clerk
JINJA – Jinja West Member of Parliament, Moses Grace Balyeku on Tuesday embarrassed the embattled Jinja Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Joseph Eric Sakwa when he declined handing over Shs 20M COVID money to the later on ground that he was sacked.
The money was part of the 10 billion government supplementary budget allocated to Parliament as facilitation to the lawmakers to conduct public awareness among their constituents about COVID-19.MPs that had spent the UGX20 million given to them as facilitation for their COVID-19 activities were given an ultimatum to return the money by May 27.
In a letter, dated May 4th signed by the Secretary in the Office of the president, Hajji Yunus Kakande, Sakwa was interdicted and ordered to hand over office to the District Internal Security Officer, Fred Musoke.
On Tuesday, Drama ensued at the Jinja District Council Hall, Busoga Square when the flamboyant legislator refused to recognize Sakwa as the head of the District Taskforce and decided to make the handover to the Jinja Municipal Town Clerk Ambrose Ochen.
‘’Who is the RDC? I know the DISO is in charge of that office and I called him to witness but he told me he was in Kampala, but his deputy here. However, the President was clear in his directive that we should hand over the money to Accounting officers and as a Municipality MP am handing over the money to the Town Clerk. He later hands it to his boss the District CAO,’’ Balyeku told reporters as Sakwa looked on irritably.
Balyeku, who does not see eye to eye former UPC stalwart, asked the Taskforce to spend the money in his Jinja West Constituency since other MPs had respectively returned the money to the District.
When Balyeku left the venue, Sakwa ritualistically handed over the money to Kanyesigye William, the Chief Administrative Officer. The RDC accompanied with a group of his sympathizers also stormed DISO’s office demanding for the office keys but the occupants told him the later was in Kampala for official duties.
Sakwa reportedly obtained an interim order stopping the handover of his office to DISO or any interference with his function. Through his lawyers, Sakwa ran to the High Court in Jinja saying he was unlawfully treated while being interdicted from office. The matters are before Jinja Chief Magistrate, Jessica Chemerr.
Consecutively, another letter dated May 20, 2020, addressed to the Minister of Presidency, Esther Mbayo, President Museveni directed that Sakwa should leave office to allow investigations to be conducted.
‘’Let him go on leave for two months and work with Director of Public Prosecution and Court to get facts and conclude the case. This is not a political matter for dialogue. It’s a serious criminal allegation,” Museveni directed in his letters.
In the twist of events, the outspoken RDC dragged Jinja District Internal Security Officer Fred Musoke and Kiira (Jinja) Regional Police Commander Nkore to court.
Through his lawyers of Nyote & Co. advocate and Alaka & Co. advocates, Sakwa accuses Nkore of ‘unlawfully’ trying to confiscate his official car and he jointly accuses him (Nkore) and Musoke (the DISO) for unlawfully locking down the office of the RDC.
Before the reshuffle in 2018 that saw Sakwa bounce back to Jinja as full RDC, the former had been asked to hand over office to the Diso In 2016, following his transfer to Kumi.
There had been disputes with other Busoga Politicians over funds for organizing the 54th Independence Day national celebrations held in Luuka District. However, Sakwa and Balyeku have been clashing on several grounds and are renowned rivals.