A simmering conflict between Kibale County leaders and those in the newly created district of Butebo has taken a new twist with the former threatening to petition President Museveni over the new district status.
Butebo District comprises seven sub-counties including Kibale and Opwateta that form present day Kibale County.
It was carved out of Pallisa District and is expected to commence operations on July 1.
However, the Kibale County leaders have since resisted being annexed from Pallisa District citing marginalisation. They are also opposed to the relocation of the district headquarters in Butebo; they claim is very far from Kibale county.
“If the status quo does not change in our favour, the only option left will be to petition president Museveni to intervene and listen to our cries” Mr Robert Kaptan, the Kibale LC3 chairman warned.
Locals from the two sub-counties of Kibale and Opwateta, Kibale County in Pallisa District claim they are being marginalised.
“The principle of decentralisation is to take services closer to the people. Those supporting the idea of merging two sub-counties of Kibale into Butebo District are the enemies of the people and we are ready to demonstrate against this,” said Mr Robert Kapatan, the Kibale LC3 chairperson.
He said putting the district headquarters in Butebo would leave the people of Kibale at a disadvantage because Butebo is far.
“We the people of Kibale are not against the creation of the district of Butebo but it [Butebo] can kick start with their five sub-counties excluding Kibale County that prefers to remain under Pallisa District”.
This was during a community stakeholders meeting between the two sub-counties of Kibale and Opwateta to forge a way forward.
The communities also recommended that the district should clearly redefine the geographical location of Kibale County.
“Right from the beginning of agitating for the Butebo District status in 2004, the people of Kibale preferred to stay under Pallisa because of underlying issues of tribal discrimination and marginalisation,” Mr William George Olupot explained. Leaders and the communities threatened that: “We shall suspend all local government services in Kibale County come July 1 if our request is not attended.”
The Pallisa LC5 chairman, Mr John Michael Okurut, said people should be granted their wish and not dragged to a district they have opposed for long.
“I have put this matter before the Local government ministry and Parliament but if the status quo remains unchanged, it will cause unrest in Kibale County. There will be civil disobedience, defiance and total anarchy in the area ,” Mr Okurut said.
The area Member of Parliament, Mr Richard Oseku, however, urged government to handle Kibale County issues with utmost urgency to avoid creating a situation that will cause more chaos.