RUBIRIZI- A council resolution compelling civil servants and politicians in Rubirizi District to contribute towards the construction of the district administration block expected to cost Shs3.7 billion has created a rift, with some employees insisting their money should not be deducted.
The district council on May 24 passed a resolution that each employee pays 10 per cent of his or her salary once every year for five years towards the project.
The district is setting up a three storey administration block that will accommodate more than 80 offices, three board rooms and a council hall. Ground-breaking was done on April 12 and construction is expected to be completed in five years.
Though the government has given the district Shs150m to kick-start the construction and will be giving them Shs300m in the next financial year, the district officials say if other means such as fundraising are not used, the building might take more than 10 years to be complete.
“The council passed a resolution that members of staff and political leaders contribute towards the construction of the administration block and it is our role as leaders to set standards for the district otherwise if we wait for the population to give us direction, then we are not leaders,’’ Mr Umar Ashaba Katainama the district speaker.
However, Mr Peter Mwesigye, the district employee, says by a resolution, it makes it compulsory for every employee to contribute because it is like a by-law.
“If they want our contribution, let them go through the right procedures by consulting us so that we can give what we have willingly. It is not the work of the council to levy any amount of money,’’ says Mr Mwesigye.
Mr Emmanuel Tumwebaze, a secondary school teacher, says together with his colleagues, they are prepared to take the district to court if it makes such deductions.
“As teachers, we are ready to sue the district if they deduct our salaries because some of us have loans and if you again deduct on our salaries how much are we taking home given the current economic hardships,” says Mr Tumwebaze.
Bunyaruguru MP John Twesigye Ntamuhira advises the district to follow the law in raising the much needed funds.
Rubirizi District Resident Commissioner Mr Kule Joseph Muranga says those who are criticising the district plans should keep quiet so that those willing can contribute generously towards the cause.
“Already, we have a list of people who have pledged and we are going to do it willingly but those who may not be interested in helping us, we are requesting that they would rather keep quiet other than criticising our plans to raise money. We are not forcing anybody,” says Mr Muranga.
But the district chairperson, Mr Sylivester Agubanshongorera, says: “We are soliciting money from different sources. In the last financial year Ministry of Finance gave us Shs150m which we used for only architectural drawing and we have done only the foundation. The same ministry is giving us more Shs300 million this financial year but that is not enough for the entire project. That is why we are soliciting from other sources.”
He adds that staff in sub-counties, schools, health centres and parishes are expected to contribute.
They have also asked the ordinary people to contribute at least Shs10,000 per year for a period of five years.
“We even recommended that each able-bodied person contributes Shs 10,000 per year and we are saying this money should be paid in a period of five years. This means each person will contribute a minimum of Shs 50,000,’’ says Mr Agubanshongorera.
He further says some district workers have not received the idea positively and are now politicising the matter.
“We are building offices for the district not for only the political wing. I am appealing to the workers to receive this positively and try actually to sell the idea to the population because the workers are the best beneficiaries as we are creating a conducive working environment for them,’’ says Mr Agubanshongorera.
He says once the resolution is cleared by the central government, they will start making deductions immediately.