The Ministry of Local Government has handed over 16 brand new double cabin pickup trucks to chairpersons of new districts to facilitate their supervision of government programmes in their communities, ChimpCorps report.
Local Government Minister Tom Butime said the vehicles are meant to help leaders “serve the people.”
He also cautioned against misuse of the cars which he said would attract heavy penalties.
“These vehicles are not for going to church. They are not for taking you to introduction, parties or carrying goats,” warned Butime at the handover event in Kampala on Friday.
“Do not use these vehicles for carrying building materials to your construction sites. Drivers should not take these vehicle at his home. Park them at the nearest police station after dropping home the chairmen,” he emphasised.
10 more trucks will be stationed at the Ministry to support the supervision efforts.
The vehicles cost the taxpayer Shs 3.8bn. Each vehicle costs Shs 140m.
The beneficiary districts include Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro and Rubanda. Others are Namisindwa, Pakwach, Butebo, Rukiga, Kyotera and Bunyangabu.
The development comes against the backdrop of widely publicized concerns that local government leaders were unable to supervise government programmes.
Uganda Debt Network recently noted that contrary to what is stipulated in the Public Service Standing Orders on the use of, maintenance and disposal of Government Property, Public Service vehicles are constantly abused and misused by responsible officers especially with regard to Government vehicles.
The Standing Orders are constantly flouted, leading to unwarranted wear-and-tear of these vehicles.
Moreover, Government maintains an unjustifiably large fleet of vehicles, whose maintenance costs impact negatively on service delivery for the citizenry.
But Local Government Permanent Secretary Ben Kumumanya warned that “we have very strict laws to penalize misuse of our vehicles. We will not hesitate to come and take back these cars.”
Kumumanya said the local leaders now have the means to monitor government projects even in the remotest parts of the country.
“The Local Government chairmen will have to find out if kids are studying and if people receive and make good use of wealth creation supplies,” said Kumumanya.
Video: Local Government Permanent Secretary Ben Kumumanya speaking at the handover of new vehicles to District Local Government Chairpersons in Kampala on Friday
“New roads are being constructed. Local Government leaders now have the means to inspect these roads,” he said.
Peter Okello, the Local Government chairman for Omoro District said the procurement of vehicles “makes decentralization meaningful for our people.”
He added: “Aware of our roles, the vehicles will support us in enhancement of effective monitoring of government programmes.”
The Ministry’s Undersecretary James Kintu also urged seriousness and caution in management of the vehicles.
“Let them deliver services to our people,” he emphasised.