A row is brewing in Kalungu over the alleged missing land title for a piece of land where the district plans to construct its administration headquarters, Daily Monitor has established.
In 2013, the district secured 12 acres of land in Nende Village, Kalungu Town Council, to construct its headquarters.
Two years later, President Museveni presided over the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the administration block and gave out Shs100m to support the project. However, construction works are yet to kick off.
The controversy surrounding the construction of the headquarters came to light during the May 31 council sitting when the councillors tasked the district chairperson, Mr Richard Kyabaggu, to update them about the project, which he refused to do.
“You [councillors] are less concerned about issues concerning the construction of district offices. Leave me to do the work and you will see the results later,” he said.
The district chairperson’s response has since irked the councillors who are wondering why he does not want to disclose any information regarding the construction of the district headquarters.
For the last two council sittings (December 2017 and February 2018), the chairperson and the chief administrative officer have been asked to produce the land title in vain.
Mr Ssemanda Muwanga, the councillor representing Kalungu Town Council, insists they will not relent until they know where the land title for the piece of land for the district headquarters is being kept.
“We want to know who is keeping the title for the district land where we plan to construct the headquarters,” Mr Ssemanda says.
Mr Charles Sserwanja, the Bukulula Sub-county councillor, says the land title had to be shown to the councillors even if the district officials are no longer interested in the land.
Currently, the district offices are housed in dilapidated structures, many of them belonging to Buganda Kingdom.
However, the speaker, Mr Abdul Bbaale, said the district has already secured another two acres of land in Kasabbaale Village where the headquarters are to be constructed.
Mr Bbaale said they realised that the land in Nende Village had many sitting tenants who needed compensation, which the district could not readily provide. “We then resolved that we secure another piece of land other than battling with tenants who will be very difficult to evict,” he said during telephone interview at the weekend
The district has already budgeted Shs700m for construction of the headquarters in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
However, Mr Sserwanja insists the recent council meeting only resolved that the land tittle be presented to the councillors to know the demarcations and number of sitting tenants before a final decision could be taken to purchase another piece of land elsewhere.
Mr Bbaale said the Shs100m President Museveni donated to the district for the headquarters project was too little to facilitate construction works.
“We are now soliciting for funds from well-wishers to kick-start construction so that our staff get offices for better working conditions,” he said.
Kalungu was carved out of Masaka District in 2010. However, other two districts (Lwengo and Bukomansimbi), which started at the same time as Kalungu, are already erecting their headquarters.
Since its inception, Kalungu has suffered misappropriation of funds, including locally generated revenue, which has affected service delivery. For instance, in 2015/16 financial year, the district had budgeted for Shs679m from local revenue but by the end of September, only Shs165m had been collected, which is far below 50 per cent. This has been the trend over the years.
The 2016 Auditor General’s report also established several challenges that include, among others, shoddy work in contracts and existence of dilapidated infrastructures in many primary schools in the district. Kalungu draws almost 80 per cent of its operational funds from the central government due to meagre local revenue collections.