Kitgum Residents Complain Of Heavy Fines Levied By LC Officials

2322 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Residents in Kitgum town council have labeled council leaders thieves for charging exorbitant fines on those found without sanitary facilities at home. At the beginning of August, Kitgum Town Council launched an operation to clean the town.

Residents in Kitgum town council have labeled council leaders thieves for charging exorbitant fines on those found without sanitary facilities at home.

At the beginning of August, Kitgum Town Council launched an operation to clean the town.

The town clerk issued a directive to all residents to clean up their places and ensure that sanitary facilities were in place. However, many residents defied the order and failed to make the necessary adjustments.

Left with no option, the town council instructed the lower local council units to start implementing the directive, where fines were levied according to the number of facilities missing. According to the council rate, any home found with out a single component of sanitary facility carries a fine of 10,000 shillings, and the amount is multiplied by the number of missing facilities. The facilities include toilets, shelter and drying racks for utensils.

However, residents have instead accused the lower local council officials of charging more than what they were instructed to collect.

Livingstone Okumu, a resident of Apollo Ground was fined 20,000 shillings for failing to construct a drying rack for utensils. He wonders why the councilors charged him when the health officials in the team had passed his house fit for occupation. He also accuses the councilors of charging him more than the recommended amount. Okumu has labeled the local leaders thieves and wants a refund of his money.

Jennifer Kalsum, a food vendor in the same area says it’s unfortunate that the local leaders have failed to see the plight of the residents.

Kalsum says the leaders charged her 30,000 shillings for not having a pit latrine at her place. She says it was not her responsibility to construct a pit latrine at a rented place, yet there is a landlord. She wants the town council officials to investigate the lower local councilors and punish them for over-charging people.

The Town Council Health Inspector, Rina Kareo says her office is going to carry out a review of the performance of the lower local leaders and come up with a better solution.
She is, however, quick to point out that the directive will continue. She warns the residents to comply with the directive and put sanitary facilities in place.

Cue in: “we are going to review the rates...”
Cue out: “…we shall make it not to happen”

The acting town clerk, Michael Wokorach also admits there were mistakes made during the enforcement process.
Wokorach says it should have been the responsibility of the town council leadership to take a lead in enforcing the implementation of the directive.
He also says precautions shall be taken to stop lower councilors from overcharging the residents.

Cue in: “when you implement an activity…”
Cue out: “…ourselves and we shall get back”

Wokorach however notes that residents who are complaining must construct pit latrines and other sanitary facilities to avoid being punished for the acts.

Currently, latrine coverage in Kitgum town council stands at 48%.