Tuesday March 4 2014

National census: Residents to block exercise over borders

Youth from Moyo District, armed with bows and arrows, prepare to attack their counterparts in Yumbe over land disputes.

Youth from Moyo District, armed with bows and arrows, prepare to attack their counterparts in Yumbe over land disputes. PHOTO BY Clement Aluma 

By Felix Warom, Clement Aluma, Robert Elema & Scovin Iceta

West Nile

Residents and leaders in West Nile are planning to block the national census exercise, especially in disputed areas of Yumbe, Arua and Moyo districts.

The move would frustrate the exercise that determines the socio-economic profile of the population, sources of income and livelihood migration, citizenship, education, unemployment, disability, orphan-hood, size and density, household-based agricultural activity and housing conditions.

During a meeting in Yumbe, Ms Jane Alejo, secretary for finance, said they would not allow the census to take place in Yumbe unless the border issue is resolved. “We are tired about this issue of the people claiming our land. The ministry of local government should do for us the favour of declaring the borders before census but if not, we shall be moving with our bows and arrows that very day,” she warned.

Yumbe District has been in battle with Arua District over the disputed land of Ewanga.
Even when Ewanga was granted a Sub-county status, activities have been halted.
The confusion is that a section of population in Ewanga want administration of Arua, while others wants to be under Yumbe.

In Moyo, the district speaker, Mr Martin Chaiga, said it is very difficult to understand the Pre-mapping done by the Uganda bureau of statistics (UBOS), which has created conflict, especially along Moyo-Yumbe borders.

Again here, Yumbe and Moyo are rivaling over land in Waka Parish and Kali in Itula Sub-county.

Two years ago, the conflict led to bloody clashes between the residents of the two areas. The border conflict also saw activities of vaccination and election disrupted in the areas. There is fear over safety of those who would be collecting data for the census. There is complexity in areas of Lefori Sub-county, where South Sudanese were claiming land in Moyo.

Ms Rose Mary Kisakye, the deputy team leader for census advocacy and publicity-UBOS said it was wrong for councillors to mix their political emotions and they should behave professionally. “Stopping the census by bringing bows and arrows is not good and we need to correct it because the enumerators will not change the borders,” she said.