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Village chairpersons investing ex-gratia payment in self-help projects

LC1 chairpersons sign for their money at Wakiso Mumyuka sub county headquarters. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of the village chairpersons in Wakiso are investing the annual ex-gratia payment of 120,000 Shillings for the benefit of the local council committee.

The government of Uganda pays a monthly fee of 10,000 Shillings to each village chairperson as recognition for their work. However, the money is paid out once every financial year in a lump sum of 120,000 Shillings.

Although the money is meant for the village chairperson as an individual, Edward Mbaziira the chairperson of Banda LCI in Mende sub county says that it is illogical to use it without sharing with other members of the village committee. Mbaziira is now investing the money on a piggery project and hopes to share piglets upon successful farrowing.

Mbaziira wants all the village chairpersons to form a savings and credit cooperative society through which the government can support them with loans to start self-help projects. He also advises them to save and invest the little that they receive from the government.

Kanyerezi Yusuf from Kikaaya village also in Mende sub-county says that sharing the money with the community makes it more meaningful. Kanyerezi uses the payment to purchase plastic chairs which are used for the benefit of the community.

However, Samuel Kinene the LCI chairperson of Namwama village in Mende sub county says that the money is given to the chairperson and does not see a need for sharing it considering how little it is. He says that the payment compensates for the time he spends in addressing complaints within the community.

Ssengonzi Mathias from Kireka-Bbira village says that the time and energy spent by chairpersons cannot be compared to the 120,000 Shillings they are given annually. He adds that with or without the money, he would still serve his community, however adding that whenever it is released, he uses it on his personal needs.

Meanwhile, the LCIII chairperson for Wakiso Mumyuka sub-county Felix Mwanje faults the government for underrating the importance of village chairpersons by offering the peanuts as an appreciation. Mwanje says that such meaningless payments are promoting illegal activities as the village council leaders search for survival.

During this week, more than 720 village chairpersons from Wakiso district received their ex-gratia payment for the year.

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