KAPCHWORWA. Tororo District Council has been thrown into chaos following the death of LC5 chairman, Apollo Jaramogi, early this month, with the Speaker and the former vice chairperson fighting over who should occupy the vacant top district seat.
The confusion has now forced the Local Government ministry to step in to defuse the deadlock.
“As ministry, we are studying the matter and at an appropriate time, we shall take actions over the purported sacking letter written by Mr Jaramogi to his vice chairperson [Ms Stella Imukute]. This [letter] has to be carefully scrutinized as we could not authentically prove as the owner [ Jaramogi] died,” said Mr Issa Gumonye, the Assistant Commissioner in-charge urban administration in the ministry.
Jaramogi passed away on January 12 when he succumbed to kidney failure at Nsambya hospital in Kampala, sparking off confusion as to who should take over the top district council seat. He was elected in February last year after trouncing then incumbent Mr Emmanuel Osuna.
Mr Gumonye, who was speaking during the Kapchorwa Municipal Council Mid-term review workshop at Kapchorwa District Farmer’s Association Hall on Monday, said Mr John Okeya, the District Council Speaker, had reportedly carried a purported sacking letter to the ministry, with a view to becoming the LC5 chairperson.
Trouble first broke out during a council session chaired by speaker Okeya on December 16 when a section of councillors loyal to vice chairperson Ms Imukute, fought with those loyal to Mr Okeya over a proposal to annex Rubongi sub-county to Tororo Municipality.
Mr Okeya told Daily Monitor that the council session proceeded despite the fracas and walkout by Ms Imukute and supporters since they had the quorum. But after the council meeting, a section of councilors held a crisis meeting with Jaramogi in his office to discuss the conduct of Ms Imukute, his vice chairperson.
Mr Okeya said the district executive committee had planned to hold its last meeting on December 24 but the chief administrative officer, Mr Christopher Sande Kyomya, postponed it to another time to allow him travel upcountry for Christmas.
But on December 27, Jaramogi fell ill while in Kampala and instead reportedly invited 11 councillors and handed over the sacking letter to be delivered to his vice chairperson, Ms Imukute, who disputed the authenticity of the letter.
However, Mr Okeya says: “They have tried to compare the signature of the chairman and other documents written by the late [Jaramogi] but have proven correct and he did this in accordance with Section 20 of the Local Government Act to revoke the appointment of his vice.”
The sacking letter dated December 19, and addressed to the vice chairperson, Ms Imukute, states: “This is in accordance to Section 20[a] of Local Government Act, Cap 243 as amended. My decision is informed by your behaviour and conduct in council session of December 16.”
Adding: “By copy of this letter, you are required to hand over the office of the vice chairperson to the CAO with immediate effect.”
Mr Okeya maintains that in the absence of the district chairperson and the vice, he is by law mandated to take over the office. He accused Ms Imukute of being misguided by some big wigs in government who are encouraging her to occupy the seat illegally.