Thursday October 10 2013

The land of Imbalu

Candidates for circumcision conduct the traditional Imbalu dance ahead of circumcision.

Candidates for circumcision conduct the traditional Imbalu dance ahead of circumcision. The tradition is marked after every two years. PHOTO by David Mafabi. 

By David Mafabi


Sironko District in eastern Uganda was formerly a county under Mbale District. It was elevated to district status in 2000. And like most Ugandan districts, it is named after its main commercial town, Sironko.

Formerly Budadiri County, the district comprises two constituencies; Budadiri East and Budadiri West.
The main town, Sironko, is located approximately 22 kilometers by road, northeast of Mbale, the largest city in the sub-region.

Majority of the people in Sironko belong to the Bagisu ethnic group and Lugisu is the most widely spoken language.
It gave birth to Bulambuli District more than four years ago.

Who is who in sironko?

Nandala Mafabi

He succeeded Prof Ogenga Latigo as Leader of Opposition in Parliament in 2011. Mr Nandala Mafabi has represented Budadiri West since 2001. He cut the national appeal when in the 8th Parliament, as Public Accounts Committee chairperson, drew a sharp line against corruption. In 2011, the NRM fronted Beatrice Wabudeya to run against him but Nandala won the race by a wide margin. He owns coffee farms, a string of businesses in Sironko, Mbale and Kampala.

David Livingstone Kibale Wambi. He was Budadiri East MP from 1996 to 2006 before becoming the LC5 chairman. He is remembered for his tough stance in the fight against corruption and at one time arrested some members of the executive. He has promised to contest the district seat again.

Beatrice Wabudeya.
Dr Wabudeya was the District Woman MP from 1996 to 2010. She failed to bounce back when in 2011 she contested for the Budadiri West seat with Nandala Mafabi. She opened many health centre IIs and fought poverty.

William Wogoire. He is an agriculturist and a director at Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute. He has sensitised many farmers on how to plant drought resistant crops and use of Bio-technology to overcome such challenges.

Isaiah Ssaga. A former secondary school teacher and educationist, he is the current MP for Budadiri West. The FDC man beat NRM’s Cosmos Busiima. Mr Sasaga is a director of Sironko Parents, one of the prominent schools in the district.

James Nabende. The former clerk at Buhugu Sub-county for about 30 years joined politics in 2001 and became the district’s first vice chairperson; first to Mr Francis Nagimesi and in 2006 to Mr Kibale Wambi. He crossed to FDC and beat Mr Kibale in 2011 for the LC5 seat.

David Livingstone Giruli
Former MP for Budadiri West, who went to Parliament on the UPC ticket 1996, crossed to NRM in 1998 while still in the House. Mr Nandala Mafabi has beaten him thrice. Mr Giruli is a former forester and has engaged many in tree planting.

Robert Gimunye, is a development-oriented person who started the first modern hotel in Budadiri called Wagagai Hotel. The former banker is a down-to-earth man and says hotel business is what will bring tourists and foreign exchange to the country.

Suleiman Lumolo. Mr Lumulo owns Kampala Modernity, a car dealing agency, and also owns fuel stations in the country. He is one of the biggest landlords in Sironko and Mbale towns. Lumolo is the NRM chairman for Sironko District and doubles as the NRM Elgon zone mobiliser.

Lydia Wanyoto. She is a born of Buwalasi Sub-county in Sironko. She has been in the East African Parliament for two terms and is rethinking her political stand. Wanyoto has funded a number of women groups in Sironko and Mbale to eradicate poverty.

Femiar Wadada, the Sironko Woman MP lost the 2006 election to NRM’s Beatrice Wabudeya. When Ms Wabudeya relocated to Budadiri East in 2011, she got an easy ride defeating a pack of NRM-leaning candidates. LoP Nandala Mafabi is her mentor.

Sam Wajega. Although he stays in Mbale, Mr Wajega is keen in the development of his home district. Usually he will ask, what has happened in the district or whether the councillors are doing the right thing. He is an ardent supporter of FDC and is the party’s regional mobiliser.

Gerald Mbasa. The District Police Commander has been in Sironko since 2009. He says although at the time he came in the district, land wrangles ranked number one in the district, they have now been overtaken by defilement, especially by the youths.

Sarah Bugoosi is the District Education Officer. She has served in this capacity since 2008. Ms Bugoosi says the education department has a total of 138 primary schools of which 110 are government-aided and 28 private.

Dr Rogers Nabende.
He is the District Health Officer. Dr Nabende says the health sector in Sironko has 29 health facilities not including the private drug shops and clinics. There are two health centre IVs, one in each of the two constituencies of Budadiri East and Budadiri West.

Ignatius Iisiat. He is the head teacher Masaba Secondary School, the oldest school in the district founded by missionaries in 1953. Mr Iisiat joined the school in 2008 and has over seen several renovations. He has increased the enrollment to 1,200 students and academics are improving.

Rogers Wadada Musalo is a lawyer and former contestant for Budadiri East Parliamentary seat. He is instrumental in the district’s politics.

Apollo Namisi, is a former head teacher of Nabumali High School, Nkoma SS, Mbale SS and Masaba SS. Mr Namisi retired in 2002 but was called to head Madhvani schools in Kakira as an education officer where he is still working.

Bishop Daniel Gimadu of North Bugisu Diocese says people are corrupt and immoral because the element of God is lacking in them and that in order for society to change, people need to repent and get back to God.

Dr Moses Nambale. The former head teacher of Nambulu SS is now a lecturer at Uganda Christian University. He says education is an investment.

Sarah Maberi. A retired teacher, she was the first girl-child to enroll in Nabumali High School in 1922. Ms Maberi, 87, says the district must promote girl education.

Daniel Nakisali. He is the chairman of Mt Elgon Bee Farmers Association, a group that operates on the slopes of Mt Elgon and has several bee hives in the park. He says he harvests not less than 400 litres from the bee hives in a season, which earns him Shs7.9 million every six months.