Tuesday June 20 2017

Residents demand autonomy as Museveni visits Tororo

Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth speaks

Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth speaks during a public consultative meeting at Mulanda Sub-county recently. PHOTO BY JOSEPH OMOLLO 

By Joseph Omollo & Andrews Nyapidi

Tororo- Residents of Tororo District are looking forward to President Museveni’s visit to the district on June 26 as Electoral Commission prepares to fill the vacant position for the LC5 chairperson.
The seat fell vacant following the death of the district chairperson, Apollo Jaramogi in January.

Ms Stella Imukutet is now the acting district chairperson.
It is during his anticipated visit that Mr Museveni will speak with finality on whether the district will be divided into two, one for the Iteso and the other for the Jopadhola.
The Iteso of Tororo County have for long complained of high levels of marginalisation and suppression by their Jopadhola counterparts from West Budama County.
As soon as the Electoral Commission released a roadmap for the by-election, tension arose in Tororo County where leaders mobilised masses and candidates who had expressed interest not to participate in the June 29 by-election until they are granted an independent district.
When the accusations seemed like they could spark violence, President Museveni invited the leaders from the two communities to his Kisozi country home last month and promised to address the matter.
The President promised to return to the district with answers to the problem which he said has disturbed his mind for the last 10 years.

He then gave a three-week deadline to stop the conflict over demand for and against the creation of Tororo District.

Mr Museveni also declared there would be no more elections in the district until the quarrel between the district leaders are resolved.
But there have been accusations and counter accusations traded by the two communities following the death of Jaramogi, with the Iteso saying the Jopadhola had tried to block Ms Imukutet from serving as the acting chairperson.
This accusation was also brought up during the meeting with President Museveni where Prof Iputo Yehu, who spoke on behalf of the Iteso, said following the death of the district chairperson, the Jopadhola passed a resolution never to allow Ms Imukutet an opportunity to caretake the district as provided for by the law.
“They denied her to step in West Budama County. Also two members of the executive from West Budama County resigned with the view of frustrating operations of the district council,” he says.
The Iteso claim the Jopadhola in leadership positions at the district discriminate against the Iteso, a charge the Jopadhola dismiss.

Mr George Alfred Obore, one of the longest serving political leaders from Tororo County, insists they want self-autonomy to enjoy political power and protect their cultural identity, which is being eroded by their brothers from West Budama.
“Time is now for our brothers from West Budama to surrender the LC5 seat to Tororo County. But even before the next date is set, Mr Tanga Odoi (the NRM electoral commission chairperson) is already campaigning for a particular NRM candidate. This means that he is determined to rig elections for his candidate,’’ Mr Obore says.
He calls on the President to prevail over the situation.

The LC3 chairperson of Magola Sub-county in West Budama, Mr Ojwang Obbo, dismisses claims that the people of Tororo County are being marginalised. He says the people have benefitted from top district positions.
Mr Paul orono Etiang, former deputy premier and also Tororo County cultural leader, wants the President to grant them an independent district as per the 1947 boundaries, placing Tororo Municipality under Tororo County.
The prime minister of the Tieng Adhola cultural institution, Mr Richard Joseph obbo, clarifies that although Tororo Municipality was part of Tororo County, part of West Budama county was merged into the municipality.
“The President should work out permanent solutions to end the long standing conflicts and hate between the two cultural institutions in Tororo,” he said.
Expressing their demand for a new district, an Iteso once put a rat in his mouth just to demonstrate the length his community is ready to go to have a district.
Now some Jopadhola youth have claimed they will eat human flesh, which is an offence since it would be cannibalism, to get a district.

Last month, when the Electoral Commission officials visited different sub-counties in the district ahead of the by-election, another young man in Mukuju Sub-county in West Budama attempted to eat a rat. Other residents waved placards with the words ‘No district, no by-election’.
Later, a mob assaulted an EC official in Mella Sub-county.

Some level-headed leaders from both communities though say there is no need to split the district since many members of the two communities have intermarried.
Just like the Itesot, the Jopadhola want Tororo Municipality for themselves. Each of the sides would want to have Tororo Municipality since there are many activities carried out there from which the local authority could generate revenue to use to provide social services.
President Museveni in September 2011 said those pushing for the creation of new districts were looking for jobs for themselves and their kin or friends.
He then ordered a moratorium on the creation of new districts.

The moratorium has since been lifted and at least four more districts have been created and are now operating. New districts increase the government’s administration costs – since the new district will require buildings, a district head, civil servants to mention but few.
Whereas the proponents of new districts argue that they result in better service delivery, Mr Museveni said in 2013 that districts had not necessarily resulted in better service delivery. To illustrate, he said whereas districts have agricultural officers, in many, these officers had not advised the local farmers on how to aerate the soil in their area. The government would later stay the creation of new districts, saying there is no money to fund them.

Issues at hand

Complaint: The Iteso of Tororo County have for long complained of high levels of marginalisation and suppression by their Jopadhola counterparts from West Budama County.
Visit: It is during President Museveni’s anticipated visit that Mr Museveni will speak with finality on whether the district will be divided into two, one for the Iteso and the other for the Jopadhola.
Tension. As soon as the Electoral Commission released a roadmap for the by-election, tension arose in Tororo County where leaders mobilised masses and candidates not to participate in the June 29 by-election until they are granted an independent district.
Answer: President Museveni invited the leaders from the two communities to his Kisozi country home last month and promised to address the matter.He promised to return to the district with answers to the problem which he said has disturbed his mind for the last 10 years.
Deadline: Mr Museveni gave a three-week deadline to stop the conflict over demand for and against the creation of Tororo District.
Accusations: But there have been accusations and counter accusations traded by the two communities following the death of Jaramogi, with the Iteso saying the Jopadhola had tried to block Ms Imukutet from serving as the acting chairperson.
District demand: Expressing their desperacy for a new district, an Iteso once put a rat in his mouth just to demonstrate the length his community is ready to go to have a district. Now some Jopadhola youth have claimed they will eat human flesh, which is an offence since it would be cannibalism, to get a district.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

advertisement