Uganda: Gulu Leaders Clash Over Shs5 Billion for Abattoir

Controversy has engulfed the whereabouts of Shs5b meant for the establishment of a new modern slaughterhouse for Gulu City.

In the Financial Year 2018/2019, Gulu municipality allocated Shs5b for construction of a modern abattoir.

The facility was to be established at Wii-Layibi Village, Techo parish, Gulu West Division with funding from Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID).

However, the commencement of the project has now dragged on for two years.

The matter has become a subject of debate on several local radios in the city, with speculation rife that the funds may have been embezzled.

During separate interviews with Daily Monitor last weekend, Mr Edward Kiwanuka, the Gulu City Clerk, appeared to contradict his deputy Moris Obwona when both were asked to explain the whereabouts of the funds and why the construction has delayed since 2019.

Mr Kiwanuka explained that the city leadership decided to abandon the abattoir project to concentrate on road works, adding that the money was diverted to work on specific roads in Gulu West Division that have for long remained in a sorry state.

"We had a lot of issues about the roads in Bar-dege, which we had to prioritise and secondly, the road leading to the abattoir needs to be tarmacked before we can have any plans to construct a new abattoir," Mr Kiwanuka said.

Although Mr Kiwanuka said they had to abandon the construction of the abattoir in favour of six roads to boost development in Bar-dege, his deputy does not read from the same page with him.

At the weekend, Mr Obwona told this newspaper that the funds for the abattoir project were safe in the city council accounts and that the works have only delayed due to the Lands ministry's delay to deliver the final project design.

"The Ministry of Lands was supposed to come up with the architectural design of the new facility. .. that is what we have been waiting for," Mr Obwona said.

"We need to find out from them [Lands ministry] why they are delaying, however, we are going to work on that abattoir because the Shs5b is there in the city council accounts. You think the money has been eaten?" he added.

However, Mr Kiwanuka hinted that the works on the new abattoir can only begin in the Financial Year 2021/2022 after budgeting for it.

Mr Patrick Oola Lumumba, the Gulu West Division mayor and former Bar-dege Division chairperson, said the current Gulu City abattoir is in a sorry state and compromises the health of everybody in the city.

"It is unbelievable that meat eaten in this city comes from such an appalling place. The old abattoir was sold at Shs1.2 billion and instead, they only built a makeshift one which is small and very dirty for the work being done there," Mr Oola said.

But Mr George Aligec, the former president of Gulu Municipal Development Forum, said the USMID secretariat initially threatened to withdraw from funding the abattoir project on grounds that there was no access road to the proposed site and that the then municipal council did not provide a land title for the same site.

In 2018, the then Gulu Municipal authorities secured a one-acre piece of land at Wii-layibi Village, near the site for the proposed new abattoir, and constructed a temporary facility from where animals are currently slaughtered.

The temporary facility was put up in the hope that the construction of a new permanent abattoir would start in the next six months.

Meanwhile, Mr Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City mayor, said the city council has prioritised the construction of the abattoir for the 2021/2022 financial year.

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