The melting pot that Tororo is

Thursday September 19 2013

Tororo  is situated approximately five kilometres

Tororo is situated approximately five kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast of the central business district. It is reported that Tororo Rock is visible from anywhere in Tororo District. There is saying in Tororo: “The Eiffel Tower is to Paris as the magnificent Tororo Rock” is to Tororo District. The rock is a major tourist attraction. The highest altitude of Tororo Rock is 4,865 feet (1,483 m). On the rock’s slopes are ancestral caves and various rock paintings. Photo by Joseph Omollo 

By Joseph Omollo

The good mix of ethnicities in the district, including the Jopadhola, Iteso, and Samia give it the unifying element that other districts rarely pull off.

But that is not all, the Bagwere, Bagisu, the Luhya from Kenya, the Balalo, Asians, Basoga, the Bukusu from Kenya, Baganda and the Bakeny are all housed by Tororo.

The languages spoken in the district correlate with the varying ethinicities of the population but in urban centres Kiswahilli, Luganda and English are used as the major means of communication.

Tororo, the melting pot for the various groups of people as historians would put it, has demonstrated that leadership goes beyond the colour of one’s skin. In that way, they have had Sanjay Tana, a man of Asian origin, as Tororo Municipality MP for two terms.

Tororo also remains the headquarters of Bukedi region, with offices at the ‘white house’. The district was formerly called Bukedi and was renamed Tororo in the 1980s when the government disbanded the naming of districts basing on tribes.

Since the decentralisation policy started in the 1990s, Tororo has given birth to three districts, including Pallisa, Busia and Butaleja.
It was also later split into West Budama and East Budama. East Budama was later renamed Tororo County and it includes present-day Tororo municipality. When Tororo was given a municipality status, it was divorced from the county. Today the district has West Budama, Tororo County and Tororo municipality as separate political constituencies.

Economy: Like many Ugandan districts, the economy of Tororo is dependent on agriculture, which employs over 80 per cent of the rural 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 (75 per cent) and each family has about two acres of land on average. They use simple farming tools (hoes, pangas etc). Only 0.35 per cent of the population is engaged in commercial agriculture.

Minerals: Tororo District boasts of Tororo Cement Industry, the producers of Tororo Cement, Carbonatite complex with calcium-carbonatite, located 6 km southwest of Tororo. The district is also blessed with Aegirine, Albite, Phosphates and asbestos.

Crime: Theft and burglary tops the crimes committed in the district coupled with land conflicts. The Resident District Commissioner, Mr Damulira Kyeyune says at least police registers more than five cases on daily basis and most of them have led to mob justice and lynching of the suspects, especially when the police delay to reach to the scene.
He said gender-based violence related cases are also on the rise and this is being contributed by failure by men to provide for the families.

Poverty: A recent Uganda Bureau of Statistics poverty report indicates that poverty index of the district is at 48.36 per cent and out the total population, 127,019 are not able to earn a dollar per day.

water and sanitation: The 2002 census considered safe water source to include piped water within the dwelling unit, piped water in the compound, piped water outside the compound, bore holes, protected springs and gravity scheme amongst others. The census findings reveals that on average, 74 per cent of the population in all the counties in the district have a distance of 1KM to a water facility. However 20 per cent registered a distance of over 1KM for Tororo County, 7 per cent for Tororo Municipality and 17 per cent for West Budama County.

School enrollment: The education report indicates that adult literacy rate in the district stands at 55 per cent. The district has a total of 163 government-aided primary schools, 31 government-aided secondary schools and 10 tertiary and vocational institutions with a ratio of 1 teacher to 67 pupils. As per the enrollment, the numbers shoot up from 2009 where it was only 133,751 to the current enrollment of 136,243. This shows an increase of 1.01 per cent.

Health facilities: The district has 65 health facilities both public and private. Of the 65, five are hospitals, three health centre IVs, 20 health IIIs and 37 health centre IIs. The district has one referral hospital (pictured above) which the management wants it to be elevated to a regional referral hospital to reduce on the load at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. Tororo hospital also serves Busia, Manafwa and Kenya.

Resource envelope: The major source of the district local revenue is public utilities, Trade license, property rates and the major tax payer is Tororo Cement Industry limited (pictured below). Other revenue sources are taxes from local businesses which contribute 2.3 per cent of the Shs29.4 billion budget.

Development partners

Non-governmental organisations have helped the district a lot. They have boosted provision of social services, advocacy of human rights, and construction of infrastructure. The key players in this include Plan Tororo, MIFUMI, Africa 2000, World vision, The Aids Support Organisation, Uganda Orphans Development programme, and Child Development cooperation. Uweso, Tororo Civil Society Network, Nagongera Youth Development programme and Benedictine Eye are the others.

Size of population: 468,096 people

Size of the district: 1,211 Square kilometres

Who is who in Tororo?

Emmanuel Osuna, Distrct Chairperson

. He is the first person to serve for two terms as Tororo District chairperson and says he has set his eyes on the 2016 race. He is popular for pushing for better services and for introducing mandatory feeding in primary schools.

Akol Akichot
She is the vice LC5 chairperson for Tororo. Ms Akol Akichot is regarded as an iron lady for her efforts in restoring order whenever matters in the council go out of hand. Mr Osuna’s deputy is instrumental in implementing policies.

Jackson Oboth Oboth
He is the MP for Budama South constituency. Before joining politics, he was holding the portfolio of regional state attorney based in Mbale. He is ever at his constituency to monitor government programmes.

Alfred Obore
Mr Alfred Obore is the LCIII chairman for Malaba Town Council, the town that borders Kenya and is a gateway for imports and exports. Mr Obore manages more than 10,000 people in the busy town.

Sarah Opendi Achieng
She was the first female woman councillor before joining the race for Tororo Municipality MP seat in 2001 but lost. Ms Achieng would contest for the district Woman MP seat to send her to the 9th Parliament. She is the minister of State for Primary Healthcare.

Damulira Kyeyune
Mr Kyeyune is the Resident District Commissioner. He was once the LC5 chairman of Mukono District and also contested for the Mukono South MP seat in 2006 but failed.

Vitalis Oswan
Mr Vitalis Oswan is two years old in the district as the Chief Administrative Officer. He has forced all sub-county chiefs to reside within the sub-county headquarters as a measure to check absenteeism and late-coming. Mr Oswan was once a district commissioner.

Geoffrey Emokol Opuwa, Mayor
He worked as an accountant in the district until his retirement in 2010. He joined politics in 2011 to become the municipality’s mayor. Mr Opuwa manages several businesses in the town.

Pastor Ruth Kawah
Pr Kawah is a member of the pastors and elders forum and heads several boards of governors bodies in various education institutions in and out of the district. She is the first Samaritan to start an orphanage centre in the district with more than 400 orphans and vulnerable children.

Stephen Moses Owori, Tieng Adhola
Kwar Moses Owori, the king of Tieng Adhola, was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour in the 1970s. He was crowned king upon restoration of chiefdoms by the NRM government.

Sanjay Tana
He is the MP for Tororo Municipality. Tana worked in the President’s office before joining Parliament in 2006. Mr Tana runs several businesses in the town. Recently, he started rewarding the best students as a motivating factor to improve the academic performance in the municipality.

Geoffrey Ekanya
He is the MP for Tororo County and shadow minister for finance. The man who boasts of being part of the founders of Forum for Democratic Change party has served the county for two terms. Earlier, he was Eastern Youth MP for one term.

Phibby Awere Otala
Ms Phibby Otala was the first youth to become the council speaker from 2001 to 2006. She contested the Tororo Municipality MP seat in 2006 but failed. Commonly known as “Mama kuku’’ [Mother of chicks], she manages several secondary schools in the district.

Fox Odoi
He is from Kirewa Parish. His father Mzee Oywelowo was a Mutongole chief. Odoi, a former legal officer at State House, is said to have gained access to President Museveni through his uncle Odoi Chwale who died in 1984 in an NRA rebel attack on Rubongi Barracks.