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Kitgum Councilors, LCIII Chairpersons Protest Delayed Payment of Honoraria

The local leaders in Pandwong, Central, and Pager Divisions have not received the payment for two quarters, amounting to 9.4 million shillings.
28 Jun 2022 10:41

Audio 6

Councilors and LCIII Chairpersons in Kitgum Municipal are protesting the delayed payment of their honoraria for two quarters.

The government introduced the honoraria in the financial year 2017/2018.  Under the arrangement, each councilor at sub-county, town council, and division is paid 35,000 Shillings per month. The money from the Ministry of Finance is disbursed as a conditional grant to each local government every quarter. 

However, in Kitgum municipality, the local leaders in Pandwong, Central, and Pager Divisions have not received the payment for two quarters, amounting to 9.4 million shillings. 

In Central Division, the councilors are demanding 2.94 Million Shillings, in Pandwong, 3.5 million Shillings and in Pager, 2.9 million shillings. 

Florence Atim, the Councilor III of Town Ward, in Central Division, says they have held three meetings with the Town Clerk, but they keep getting different explanations. 

Atim reveals that during the first meeting they were told their money was in the system, and the councilors decided to get the money for the third and fourth quarters at once. 

However, when the councilors went to receive their money, they were told the money released was not commensurate with the number of the leaders and only a few were paid.

The third time the leaders went to find out about the money, they were told it was not available. 

//Cue in: “Wan owire kany…” 

Cue out: …ni cente peke.”// 

Ben Ocan, the Speaker of Pandwong Division said it is unfair that they are being forced to protest before they are given their money, which is specifically sent for them. 

//Cue in: “Onongo pe pore…”

Cue out: …kityeko tini.”// 

Richard Okwera, the Mayor of Kitgum Municipality, said he wrote a letter to the Town Clerk, Ayub Kisubi, twice on the matter of payment of the councilors allowance but it has not been honored. 

//Cue in: “Acoyo waya tyen aryo…”

Cue out: …pe kibiculu gi.”//

Okwera said he received reports that the money was diverted to pay executives for sitting allowance, yet they are supposed to be paid from locally raised revenue. 

//Cue in: “Lok ma wanongo…”  

Cue out: …to authorize payment. 

Okwera now says the those who diverted the funds should borrow money that is manually raised from the various sources in the divisions, to pay the complainants.

//Cue in: “It is at…”

Cue out: …wapeke ki kero aye.”//

Kevin Joyce Atim, the Vice LCV Chairperson of Kitgum, says the argument that the money sent for payment wasn’t enough does not count, saying the central government knows all the local leaders by name and number. 

//Cue in: “Winye malik tutwal…”

  Cue out: …eni kwo.”//

On Monday, the councilors camped at the municipal offices to demand their pay and promised not to leave.  However, the Town Clerk, who is said to be on sick leave, reportedly told the councilors on the phone that they could sleep at his office if they wanted.

The utterance by the Town Clerk angered the leaders, who then called William Komakech, the RDC of Kitgum district to intervene.

In a meeting that ended late in the evening, Komakech called the Town Clerk and ordered him to commit to paying the leaders by the end of Tuesday, or he will have the Clerk to Council and the Chief Finance Officer arrested, for diversion of funds.