Missing development plans cause confusion in Mbarara City Council

MBARARA – Mbarara City councillors have asked the city clerk and members of the executive committee to avail them the five-year development plan and five-year strategic plan, noting that the two documents need their scrutiny to pave way for orgnised development of the city.

The councilors made their feelings known during a council meeting held on Thursday. Led by their speaker, Bonny Tashobya the councillors said the city had run for two years without an approved five-year development plan and five-year strategic plan, yet members of the city executive committee claim the documents are available.

“Mr. Town clerk, why is it that the city council has no five-year strategic plan? And members, is there anyone with a copy of the five-year development plan? Mayor, do we have a five-year development plan? If we have, lay it on the table,” Tashobya added.

According to Tashobya, the two missing documents are important in helping the city determine revenue enhancement during the budgeting processes.

“I would like to know whether we have a five-year strategic plan because you cannot have a revenue enhancement plan without a five-year strategic plan. So, town clerk, can you get us those two documents because they are the true documents for the city,” he ordered.

According to Godfrey Baryomunsi, the councilor representing Mbarara City North Division, a five-year development plan is a guiding tool for the developments to be implemented in a district, city, municipality, or sub-county.

“When I reached here, I asked the planner where the five-year development plan is and he answered that they are working on it… Two years down the road, we are still waiting for one,” Baryomunsi said.

He added that other documents like work plans are missing which has denied the councillors chance to determine what projects are to be implemented in their respective constituencies. “Mr. Speaker that is not the only one that is missing but if you look at Mbarara City Council budget, there is no any work plan.”

However, the town clerk, Assy Abirebe while responding to councilors, said that Mbarara City Council already has a running five-year development plan but was not sure of the strategic plan.

“I reported on January 28, 2022, to Mbarara City Council, I was given a development plan which had actually been approved, it was fine-tuned and eventually the National Planning Authority [NPA] gave us a certificate of compliance,” said Abiribe.

Priscah Murongo, the deputy mayor who also sits on the executive committee answered that the city council also has a five-year strategic plan although she didn’t have any of the two documents with her, forcing Muhammad Byansi, the Mbarara City South Division councilor to refer to her as a liar.

Priscah Murongo defended her office (Photo by Joshua Nahamya).

“Mr. Speaker this is not the first time the executive is telling lies I am requesting her [Murongo] to write an apology for telling lies to the council, especially on this issue,” Byansi said.

Tashobya added, “The town clerk has no moral authority to approve a five-year development plan and a five-strategic plan, so currently we don’t have these two documents in place,” he said.

“These documents are not important to us [councillors] alone. Even the divisions operate from the same. Go and bring us these documents so that we discuss and approve them,” Tashobya said.

The deputy mayor apologised verbally promised to bring both the strategic plan and development plan.

Speaker Tashobya says failure to have the two documents has resulted in the council battling with unknown contracts awarded in the city.

Jenina Kyomuhendo, the female youth councillor added that the city council has no revenue enhancement plan that can be relied on to determine the revenue collections.

Ben Patrick Twahirwa, the workers’ councillor appealed to senior staff in the city to always attend the council committee meetings such that the councilors can always be furnished with correct information.

“I would wish to request the staff to respect committee meetings. If not, we will end up making some recommendations which are not palatable to the committee,” Twahirwa emphasised.

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