In one week, Mr Raphael Magyezi (the minister for Local Government) is said to have met about four delegations from the political leadership of Kasese.
And if one added the number of phone calls from influencers, one would not be wrong to assume that Mr Magyezi spent the whole week on Kasese. For all those meetings and phone calls, the subject was ‘the small matter of splitting Kasese District’.
And so, when a senior government official (big enough to influence the direction of things) sought to pick my mind on the issue, I told him I would not mind if the district were split or not.
I shared with him the social and political dynamics obtaining in Kasese. And then he or she asked: why are the Bakonzo vehemently opposed to the creation of Katwe district? I explained but I still told him I personally would not mind the creation of Katwe district.
It is not uncommon (mark my double negatives) for a Mukonzo political leader discussing the split of Kasese District to be caught saying: ‘we can give them (Basongora) a county, but not a district…’ But when (a Mukonzo political) leader says ‘we can give them…,’ he or she seems to deligitimise the (Basongora’s) demand and at the same time frame it as if it is dependent on Bakonzo’s charity and benefaction. And mind you, they don’t demand the district from the Bakonzo; they demand it from the central government.
I told the senior government official that if it were up to me, I would push for two things: 1) that the Bakonzo and Basongora should make concessions in order to build consensus on the matter (of splitting the district); 2) that the new districts should take effect on July 1, 2022.
Now you ask me, what kind of concessions should the Bakonzo and Basongora make? First there is a general consensus that the district should be split; and a district council resolution (DCR) to that effect is with the Ministry of Local Government.
However, it is said that there are other interests that the district council resolution didn’t address. So, the challenge is whether we should go with what is contained in the district council resolution or we try as much as possible to accommodate other interests?
The district council resolution on splitting the district provides for four districts namely: Bwera, Mubuku (or is it Hima?), Kasese and Nyamugasana. It also created Katwe County (with parliamentary representation) consisting of the sub-counties of Nyakatonzi, Lake Katwe, Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council and placed it (Katwe County) in the proposed Nyamugasana District.
Now, one of the interests that were not addressed in the district council resolution is the creation of Katwe district.
Although the Basongora’s demand for the creation of Katwe district is legitimate and should be addressed, the geography (demarcations) of the proposed district is ‘ugly’ on the map. Without any option of an alternative route, one would have to pass via Kasese District to move from Katwe Kabatooro to Karusandara (both in Katwe district).
To move forward, the Bakonzo and Basongora should make the following concessions. The Bakonzo should accept the creation of Katwe district and the Basongora should also accept that Karusandara Sub-county should not be part of Katwe district. In that vein, I suggest that the sub-counties of Nyakatonzi, Lake Katwe, Muhokya Town Council and Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council be constituted into Katwe district.
That means Kasese would be split into five districts namely: Bwera District (Bukonzo West), Nyamughasana District (Bukonzo East minus Nyakatonzi Sub-county), Kasese District (Busongora South minus Lake Katwe Sub-county, Muhokya Town Council and Katwe Kabatooro Town Council), Mubuku or Hima district (Busongora North) and Katwe district. Ekyo Nkyo Kigwe…!
Mr Bisiika is the executive
editor of the East African Flagpost.