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Fort Portal City Mayor to Prioritize Corruption Fight

In an interview, Ruyonga explained that most local governments are failing to perform to the expectation of the electorate because the political leaders and technical staff are corrupt.
Ruyonga says he will allow cheap temporary structures in the city to accommodate the low income earners.

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The newly elected Fort Portal Tourism City Mayoral Edson Asaba Ruyonga has vowed to ensure a corruption-free council in his regime.

Ruyonga, who was the Mayor Fort Portal Municipality from 2001 to 2016, defeated four others including the incumbent Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga, an independent candidate. 

 The other contestants were Richard Muganzi, Ivan Basaija and Robert Bwango got only 93 votes.     

In an interview, Ruyonga explained that most local governments are failing to perform to the expectation of the electorate because the political leaders and technical staff are corrupt.   

He said some forms of corruption include councillors applying for and winning council contracts, which leads to shoddy work being done without anyone to condemn it.  Ruyonga said most local councils can extend the necessary services to the public if they ensure zero tolerance to corruption.   

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In the past years, the municipality came under spotlight over corruption allegations. In 2019, the municipality missed out on additional funding from the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project due to poor accountability of funds.

According to Ruyonga, Fort Portal’s major challenges include under population. The 2014 National population census put the population of Fort Portal at 54,275 though it is estimated to have since grown due to the annexation of Sub Counties of Karambi and Bukuku and Karago town council to make it a city.  

He attributed under population to lack of affordable housing in the city and once he takes over office, he will ensure council zones some areas where low-income earners will establish temporary structures for accommodation.    

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One of the major challenges the out-going mayor, Muhanga, has faced is the existence of old structures in the middle of the city. The buildings have occasionally collapsed and injured people.

But Ruyonga said he will never allow the demolition of such structures because they are historical and can even be tourist attraction sites if well maintained.   

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With the poor collection of garbage remaining a major challenge in the city, Ruyonga said he will ensure each of the two divisions gets a garbage truck and he will use funds that he will lobby from central government.  

However, despite all the plans, Ruyonga's 15 years as a mayor were not free from controversy.

Ruyonga's third term was characterized by controversy, which explains why he could not reclaim the seat. He disagreed with the municipal technical staff and often accused them of conniving with contractors to fleece the council funds.

In 2015, the Inspector General of Government - IGG ordered him to refund 12 million shillings to Fort Portal municipal council after he failed to travel to the UK for a mayors' conference. Initially, Ruyonga had claimed that he attended the conference, but investigations by the IGG discovered that he did not travel.

Ruyonga also clashed with members of the municipal council, forcing him to spend close to two years without attending council sessions.