KNOW YOUR DISTRICT: Idi Amin’s home developing through cross-border trade

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Members of Koboko Women United Association

Members of Koboko Women United Association 


Posted  Monday, December 16  2013 at  02:00


Popularly known as KK (Kakwa), Koboko is an enclave town sitting on the edges of Uganda, DRC and South Sudan borders.

The name Koboko is derived from the Kakwa name kuwo a’buko which means “they were massively killed.” This name came after a hill erupted from Nyori in DRC, killing many people. When the colonialists came, they changed the name Kuwo a’buko to Koboko.

The Kakwa people commonly refer to themselves as Kakwa Saliya Musala, a phrase they use to denote their ‘oneness’ though they are in three different countries of Uganda, South Sudan and DRC.

This places Koboko strategically for cross-border trade for both locals and the foreigners. Thus the development right from the time it was still under Arua District.

Significantly, Koboko is home of Uganda’s former president Idi Amin Dada and former vice president Mustafa Adrisi. After the fall of Idi Amin regime, the district was collapsed back to Arua.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Koboko was a battle field. A lot of infrastructure was destroyed in the process. Koboko began its journey to revive it’s glory in August 2005 after being carved out of Arua District. During Idi Amin’s regime, the town was a vibrant headquarters of the then North-Nile District comprising of Maracha, Koboko and Aringa counties.

It comprises mainly of flat rolling plains occurring at 3,160 to 5,283 feet above sea level with isolated undulating hills mainly in the western and northern parts of the district towards the South Sudan border, with a slight slope towards the east. The area where the three international borders meet consists mainly of hills and rocks hosting remains of some indigenous savannah woodlands.

The predominant vegetation is savannah woodland with bushy forest cover found in the northern part of the district in Kuluba and Ludara sub-counties and at the sides of Liru Mountains in Lobule. Midia Sub-county is generally flat and covered with bush shrubs. The bushy forests in the northern part of the district mainly comprise of natural trees.

The livelihood of people in the district is dependent on agriculture which employs over 80 per cent of the total population. Fertile soils and suitable climate combine to support the cultivation of a number of crops in most parts of the district. Agriculture is mainly subsistence and takes place on small holdings using mainly simple farming tools mainly for consumption at the household level.

Koboko generally lacks adequate surface and ground water resources. River Apa, Kaya at the South Sudan border, Kechi, Ora and Kochi are the most important rivers in the district. They all have their source from the DRC border which is a water shade and drain to the east mainly into rivers that empty into the River Nile.

The challenges
Koboko has a problem of water crisis caused by an annual dry-up of its water sources. The government plans to start a piped-water project which, if it materialises would relieve residents from spending a lot of money during the dry seasons on water.

Koboko’s fast growing economy has attracted three commercial banks. The people of Koboko still await government’s promise to upgrade Koboko Health Centre IV to a hospital. Currently, the district has only health centres catering for the fast growing population of now 200,900 people.

More so, the lack of electricity has bogged down most of the businesses leaving people to rely on generators which provide inadequate power. Once the connection from Nyagak is done, this would offer some hope and opportunity for the district.

The people moving and shaking Koboko

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