Government employees at Elegu Town Council in Amuru District, which
border South Sudan are baffled with accommodation challenges. Employees of eleven
government Ministries, Departments and Agencies-MDAs work at the multi-billion One-Stop Border Post.
These include Uganda
Revenue Authority - URA; Directorate of National Citizenship and Immigration
Control, External Security Organization- ESO, Internal Security Organization –
ISO, the Ministry of East Africa, Uganda National Bureau of Standards - UNBS,
Uganda Police - UPF, Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA, Chieftaincy of Military
Intelligence – CMI, and the Ministry of Health among others.
However, the employees
say the poor infrastructure development at the
border coupled with the devastating annual flash floods has made access to
conducive accommodation very difficult. Wallace Bindeeba, the National
Citizenship and Immigration Control team leader at Elegu, says that 17 of
his staff members currently share very tiny rooms or rent in unsafe makeshift structures.
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Bindeeba explains that due to the risky nature of the work some of the
personnel such as tax collection, impounding smuggled goods and arresting
smugglers among others compromises their safety and security.
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Other affected personnel are the health workers
who were seconded to work at Elegu Port Health to aid management of public
health especially during the outbreak of the global pandemic, Coronavirus
Michael Lakony, the Amuru District LC 5
Chairperson, says that they handpicked and deployed seven health workers led by
a Senior Clinician at Port Health. He, however,
says that their accommodation is a menace. Since 2020, some of the workers are
temporarily residing at the designated refugee collection center.
The District Police Commander, Joseph Nsabimana
observed that while a pocket of crimes still exists at the border, they have
not recorded serious crimes with the exception of isolated cross border crimes.
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During her visit to Amuru, then State Minister for Primary
Healthcare, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, disclosed that the Ministry had already
endorsed the construction of a level III Health Centre at Elegu that will
comprise staff quarters to address the problem of staff accommodation.
The workers explain that their efforts through
their well-coordinated work earns the Government a daily revenue of between
Shillings 14 to 15 million and a monthly collection of between Shillings 400-450
million. They want the Government to consider their safety and security. Ivan
Kakaire, the URA Regional Manager told URN that they clear between 280-300
trucks each day.