LCI Chairpersons Oppose Criteria of Selecting Relief Cash Beneficiaries

Written by on July 9, 2021

Local Council leaders in cities and municipalities are protesting the lists of the selected beneficiaries for the covid-19 relief cash.

Last month, the government announced plans to disburse Shillings 100,000 to at least 520,000 people in 41 municipalities and 10 cities to help them go through the 42-day lockdown announced to stop the spread of the second wave of COVID-19.

However, leaders in the cities of Masaka, Mbale and Soroti, as well as their counterparts in Entebbe, Lugazi and Busia Municipalities are protesting the procedures used to identify beneficiaries in their areas.

They argue that the approach of using only technical officers in generating lists of vulnerable people is flawed with several inconsistencies that will affect the entire process and will eventually not meet its intended purpose.

Michael Oumo, the Chairperson of Cell G 1 in Camp Swahili ward of Soroti City, blames the Town Agents in the area for failing to identify the most vulnerable groups to people to benefit from the package.  He explains that much as his cell has over 100 people in need of the relief package, the Town Agent only selected 15 people who are known to him, leaving out vulnerable people.

“I got the number of people required but some of them didn’t have National Ids with National Identification Numbers.  I am told that there were forms to be filled but I didn’t see any. I wrote the said name in a paper and submitted it at night”, he said.

Paul Omer, the Soroti City East Division Chairperson says the process of identification of beneficiaries of COVID-19 funds raises suspicions. He says that the poorest people may be left out of the relief since the process was not comprehensive.

In Mbale City and Busia Municipality, the local council chairpersons want the registration exercise repeated.

He says that the Community Development Officers, Sub County Internal Security Officers and Division Chiefs did not involve the local leaders to guide them on the beneficiaries.

George Barasa, the chairman of Busia Municipality LCI and a leader of Village Chairpersons Association in Western Division of Busia alleges that out of 75 registered beneficiaries, he only identified 10 people known in the area.

Deborah Kirungi Kasamba, Katabi-Busambaga LCI Chairperson in Entebbe Municipality says despite the local council leaders not being part of the process of registering the beneficiaries, residents are continuing to flock to her home complaining of being left out.

She says that the process was messed up in the area, arguing that the opportunity was largely given to people who would reach out to the Town clerk and Town Agents, regardless of one’s status.

In Mukono and Lugazi Municipalities the local leaders argue that exercise was conducted basing one’s political inclination which affected its integrity.

Richard Ssekyondo, Michael Kasozi, and John Ndugga some of the local leaders in the municipalities are afraid that the program may not meet its intended purpose if due diligence is not conducted before the money is disbursed to the beneficiaries’ mobile money accounts.

Abdul Kaweesi, one of the listed beneficiaries in Masaka Town, is pessimistic that the package will not go to the real people that deserve it, given the methods used in compiling the lists and the limited funds. He prefers that government reconsiders the program and instead dedicate the money to a common good or service that will benefit all citizens.

The Prime Minister of Uganda Robinah Nabbanja, today launched the issuance of the relief package, saying that taskforce is will continue verifying the lists of beneficiaries as they are sent onto the national database.

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