Resident District Commissioners have been warned against engaging in partisan politics while performing their duties.
Addressing RDCs from the Rwenzori and Bunyoro region in Fort Portal, Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister in-charge of the Presidency said that some RDCs have abandoned their responsibilities and decided to interfere in political affairs in their respective districts.
He said that this has resulted in the failure by the RDCs to submit reports to the central government about government programmes that they are supposed to monitor. Tumwebaze states that several contractors have abandoned construction works after being paid large sums of money and insecurity is on the rise in some parts of the country, but the RDCs have failed to address the concerns of the public.
The roles of an RDC include monitoring government programmes, chairing district security meeting and executing any other duties assigned by the President.
Resident District Commissioners have often been accused of intimidating opposition party leaders, their supporters and journalists. They frequently prevent opposition politicians from appearing on local radio stations, even after paying for airtime.
According to Tumwebaze, RDCs have also taken sides, while mediating in land wrangles.
He says that some RDCs deliberately fail to mediate in land wrangles involving opposition supporters and help NRM party supporters.
Tumwebaze‘s the first government official to speak out against rampant misdeeds of RDCs. Government has often denied allegations of RDC bias from opposition supporters.
Wilson Isingoma, the Deputy RDC Bundibugyo district says that RDCs don’t engage in politics, but they are sometimes provoked by opposition supporters who sabotage government programmes.
On RDCs land wrangles, Tumwebaze says that they are supposed to arbitrate but not pass judgments like courts of law.
He says that some RDCs have passed judgments which have led to conflicts among family members.
There have been frequent debates about the roles and qualifications of RDCs.
Last year, Members of Parliament resolved that the Public Service and not the President should recruit RDCs. The legislators on the Presidential Affairs Committee say RDCs are appointed by the President irrespective of their qualifications yet most of them are an embarrassment to the country.
Article 201(1) of the Constitution empowers the President to appoint and redeploy the RDCs but with the necessary qualifications. The law requires an RDC to possess A- level qualification or an equivalent.