Hoima city agents in Mid-western Uganda are accused of purportedly failing the implementation of Parish Development Model (PDM) by abandoning their role of guiding the community on group formation so they can benefit from the programme.
Ms Javian Kaliisa, the PDM Deputy National Coordinator, says during her visit to the city to assess the progress of the programme, some city agents did not attend PDM meetings to provide technical guidance.
Citing Kasiingo Ward in West Division, the coordinator says the area town agent Mr Godfrey Badandaara, did not attend any meetings there forcing the group members to assign the responsibility to a SACCO secretary with a diploma in cosmetology, Ms Janet Namirembe.
Ms Namirembe says she assumed the duty of a city agent after Mr Basandaara shunned their PDM meetings for three months prompting the group members to select her to act as their agent.
“I have been performing as a town agent since the PDM project started because we don’t see our town agent. We even don’t know what happened to him and where he stays. He appears in our area once in a blue moon. So, for that case, I decided to take over his role so that we can also benefit from this programme,” she says.
Ms Jamilah Musiimenta, a resident of Hoima East Division, complains that her group members were given less money compared to the amount for which they applied, thus, being pessimistic about the success of the programme.
“What is disturbing us is that when you request for Shs1m, group leaders give you what they want. Some get Shs700,000 while others get less. We have for two years been struggling to access PDM money but to no success forcing some to give because whenever they could approach the responsible PDM implementers, they could not get clear information,” she complains.
Ms Grace Atugonza, a resident of West Division, claims that the beneficiaries of the PDM money are relatives of group leaders adding that the programme was messed up right from the onset when officials went to the ground to record information from the bonafide beneficiaries.
“The exercise was not properly conducted. Those who were recorded to benefit from the programme are not the right persons. Those who qualified for the funds were left out and money was given to the rich,” she complains.
The Hoima City PDM Coordinator, Dr Swaleh Kajuma, affirms Ms Atugonza’s complaint saying names of people who were meant to guide community members how to access the money including civil servants and politicians appear on the list of the PDM beneficiaries yet it is against the set guidelines.
“We have realised that a number of politicians and civil servants in Hoima city also registered themselves as PDM beneficiaries. But we are working tirelessly to identify such people so that we can question them because the PDM guidelines are very clear that that money is the poor not politicians and civil servants who are earning a monthly salary,” he says.
Dr Nixon Sunday, an economist from the PDM Secretariat in Kampala, says it has been observed that the disbursement of the PDM funds in Bunyoro is at a slow pace yet people need to access that money to spur their financial development.
He wonders that Hoima city dwellers have not received any single coin from PDM yet the money is on groups’ accounts.
The Hoima Resident City Commissioner, Mr Badru Mugabi, wonders how politicians and civil servants’ names accessed the list of beneficiaries yet the money is intended for the poorest of the poor.
He threatens that any politician and civil servants who will be found to be a beneficiary will be apprehended and charged in courts of law.
During the Hoima East Division plenary council sitting on May 31, 2023 at Kijungu Hill Hotel, various leaders in the council complained about the performance of the PDM in Hoima city.
Mr Julius Muwanguzi, the Hoima East Division councillor, expressed his dismay over the long process involved in accessing PDM money.
He said two years now people in his constituency have failed to access even a single penny since the launch of the project.
Dr Patrick Mwesigwa Isingoma, the Member of Parliament for East Division, wondered how the technocrats in Hoima city have are handling the programme; advising the implementers to work with the parliamentary representatives to detect any problems such that the matter can be taken to the floor of parliament for debating with intent to have the target people benefit.
The government has released Shs264b for 8,600 parishes and wards that have already been approved so that the poorest of the poor can benefit from PDM funds for the development of their household income.