By Geofrey Nyamwongera
The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya, has directed the Bundibugyo District Chief Administration Officer (CAO) to interdict all civil servants who handled Youthlivelihood Fund and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Fund.
“All those people who touched our money should be interdicted and investigated and acted upon immediately in order to bring back that money. You can touch any other moneys, but not that of the youth and women and one thinks they will survive,” said Mukwaya.
Speaking to journalists in Bundibugyo, Mukwaya said that most chiefs and community development officers (CDOs) at sub-county levels would not sign for the groups without requesting for over Shs800,000.
During her field work, the Minister discovered that Bundibugyo has many ghost youth groups in sub-counties of Kisubba and Nyahuka town councils, and all the groups received the money.
“I went to Kisubba sub-county and Nyahuka town council, and found out that no group is on ground, and the local residents accused the sub-county chief for creating his own groups,” Mukwaya said.
She, however, commended the people of Kisubba sub-county for the solidarity, saying: “When the sub-county chief showed bricks of some group, the residents came up and told me that the bricks belonged to an individual, identified as Enos.”
One Hannigton Babungi Apuuli, a member from Bumboboli youth group in Kisubba sub-county, reported: “Our group received Shs2,300,000 and yet Shs8,000,000 was approved by the ministry for our bricklaying project. Most groups here are ghosts.”
The Minister also commended women groups in Ngamba, Bukonzo, Harugale sub-counties and Nyahuka, Busunga town councils for using their funds effectively and promised to add them more funds so that their house hold income can increase.
“We are very gratefully to the NRM government; our group received Shs5,000,000 in January this year, and we have so far recovered Shs1,300,000. We now dress well, do not ask for salt from our husbands, and above all, we pay school fees for our children,” said Bridget Masika, the Chairperson of Kirubo Twanzane Women Traders Association.
The District Focal Person for Youth Livelihood Programme, Simon Mugisa, said Bundibugyo has so far received Shs718m since 2014 for 1350 beneficiaries and it has since recovered Shs61m.
Mugisa said most of YLPs are not on the ground, yet they received the money; adding that the greatest challenge on recovery is that most youths thought the money is a grant/ “kasimu” from the president.
“Record keeping at group level is a myth,” he said.
Harriet Babiiha, the Bundibugyo Focal Person for Uganda WEP, stated that the program started in 2015 and they have so far received Shs61m for 12 women groups.
She said they have so far recovered Shs10m.