Kitgum RDC Suspends Speech At Council Meeting in Anger

Komakech had just begun delivering his remarks on the state of security in the district when Charles Peko, the LCV Councilor Labongo Akwang rose up demanding him to halt his speech.
Councilors and District officials attend a full council meeting to approve draft budget for Kitgum District Local Government on Monday.

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The Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech prematurely suspended his closing remarks during a full council meeting on Monday after a councillor demanded he tables his written speech in council.

Komakech had just begun delivering his remarks on the state of security in the district when Charles Peko, the LCV Councilor Labongo Akwang rose to demand him to halt his speech. 

Peko alleged that Komakech wasn't on the order paper of the council since he had not tabled his speech and copied in the councillors and therefore couldn't proceed to address the house.

“Observation Mr Speaker, the RDC is presenting a very important issue and we have to have that document. All of us must have the copy that we follow whether he is telling us the truth or not,” Peko said.

Komakech who had barely spoken for two minutes acknowledged that he should have tabled his speech in council before ending the full council meeting.

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Komakech however told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the councillor didn’t behave responsibly.

He noted that the council session was dragged late as councillors dwelled on petty issues concerning their emoluments other than performing the key task of the budget approvals, a move that led him to also cut short his speech.

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The council meeting had been convened to approve the district draft budget for the 2021/2022 financial year.

Emmanuel Lapyem, the Kitgum District LCV Vice Chairperson also the leader of Government Business had earlier presented a draft budget of 36.3 Billion Shillings to be approved in the council.

According to the draft budget, Education and Sports took the lion share of shillings 13.2 billion followed by health and the environment at shillings 7 billion, administration at 4.7 billion and production and marketing at 4.5 billion.  Trade Industry and Local Economic Development (TILED) and Internal audit trailed with shillings 75.5 million and shillings 34.3 million respectively.

Also presented by Lapyem was the expected local revenue estimate of 246.4 million shillings, indicating an increase of 1 percent from the budgeted overall expected revenue for higher local government only.

However, a section of councillors on the finance committee declined to approve the draft budget on grounds that local revenue presented.

Jennifer Amono, the Female Councilor for Central Division questioned a presentation made on locally raised revenue performance for the financial year 2020/2021 which she claimed was spelt out clearly. 

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Amono claimed that land fees, licenses among, and local service taxes deducted from salaries were not reflected in the report for quarters one, two, and three by the leader of Government business.

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Other councillor’s also stood their ground against approval of the budget seeking more explanation on the funding shortfall of 190.1 million from the Central government against a required estimate of 425.3 million shillings.  

It took the intervention of the Chief Administrative Officer Martin Jacan Gwokto who explained that the local service tax deducted from salaries is centrally deducted before being remitted to the district.

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The budget was finally approved.  Outgoing Kitgum District Chairperson Jackson Omona notes that the 2021/2022 financial year budget is premised on the program approach on the District Development Plan-DDP3 giving priorities on education, health production, and water and sanitation.

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This year’s draft budget indicates a 1.1 percent [2.9 billion] increase from shillings 33.3 billion approved in the 2020/2021 financial year.