Kisoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The decision by Kisoro Municipal council to sell public land to raise money to finance the 2021/2022 financial year budget has sparked complaints among leaders.
Last week, the Municipal Council, led by speaker Susan Rwaretse agreed to sell an acre of land located next to Seseme Sewerage Treatment Plant in Kamonyi village, Northern Ward in order to raise money to fund the 48 billion Shillings budget which they approved.
The municipality faced a shortfall of 1.2 billion Shillings in its revenue collection during the 2020/2021 financial year, having collected only 2.9 out of the estimated 4.2 billion Shillings. Rwatetse says that the failure to raise enough revenue was caused by the COVID-19 lockdown where most business operators declined to pay arguing that their businesses did not make profits.
She says that as leaders they could also not force traders to pay revenue yet most of them were greatly affected by the lockdown. The move was also backed by Aron Nsabuwera, the LC IV councillor representing older persons saying that the said land has been idle and unproductive due to the fact that it is adjacent to the sewerage lagoon.
However, the decision has raised complaints from other leaders describing it as unfair. Andrew Sunday the Nyagashinge ward LCIV councillor says that the council will be described by the public as reckless not considerate of protecting public land for future use. Sunday also argues that this is not the first time the council has planned to sell its land as the source of funds.
He says that last year, he and other leaders learnt about a plot by Rwaretse to sell another piece of public land located next to Rusiza market where sugar cane vendors operate from. Innocent Niyonzima, the LCIV councillor representing People with Disabilities argues that he has received credible information on how signatures are being forged to prove that all municipality leaders are behind the sale of the land.
Christopher Ndabarinze, the Kamonyi ward Chairperson where the land in question is located wonders where they will get another land to sell to finance the 2022/2023 financial year budget in the case they also face a shortfall in revenues in the coming financial year.
Richard Ndyana, the mayor of Kisoro municipality says that it is illegal to sell public land and other government properties without permission from the Central Government.