By Amos Tayebwa
Mbarara district leadership has been characterised by rivalry, conflict, and division. The LC5 chairperson, Didas Tabaro, and his council members no longer meet concurrently because of competing interests in internal political positions.
Sources familiar with the dispute allege that accusations have been made against the district chairperson for taking on a dictatorial role in making decisions that influence the district’s leadership. This comes after the district chairperson’s conflict of interest during the council’s vote to elect new sectoral committee chairs.
It is alleged that Tabaro expressed interest in certain areas of the individuals he had wished to assume committee chair roles for. On contrast to his exception, four of the five committees on that council were taken over by his rivals.
This creates suspicion that there will be loopholes in service delivery due to disunity and poor collaboration between the chairperson, the chairpersons of the committees, and other councillors who are already on bad terms with the district boss.
Tabaro’s rivals who took over most seats include: Suveriuos Nuwagira for the works committee, Joseph Arinaitwe for the finance committee, Agnes Natamba for social services, and Memory Nasasira for community-based services.
It is, however, alleged that Tabaro fired Bernard Mugume Ekikondanjojo from the district council while accusing him of corruption. Mugume was serving as the secretary for community based services.
Tabaro announced the appointment of a new personal assistant during the most recent council meeting, replacing Suveriuos Nuwgira. As a result of the chairperson’s decision, Nuwagira also declared his intention to run for the chairpersonship of the works committee, a position Tabaro was very interested in. Nuwagira eventually took that post and now also doubles as the councillor representing Bucuro sub-county.
The sources further allege that there have been misunderstandings between Tabaro and Joseph Arinaitwe, the district councillor for workers’ rights, who also serves as chair of the finance committee. Arinaitwe was elected to lead the finance committee a second time, although it is alleged that the two (him and Tabaro) have not been seeing eye-to-eye because of disagreements over fuel allowances.
Arinaitwe is accused of reducing the fuel allowances for the executive committee and raising those for council members while using his authority as the chairperson of the finance committee. Tabaro was not pleased with this decision and, in an internal dispute with Arainaitwe, demanded that his fuel allowances be restored to their previous level.
In his two years at the helm, Tabaro has made a number of changes to the executive committee, something that has turned his blue-eyed boys into his opponents or enemies.