Arua head office feud returns to High Court

Police disperse locals of Odumi Village in Vurra Sub-county who were protesting the giveaway of land for the establishment of Arua District headquarters in August last year. PHOTO/FELIX WAROM OKELLO 

What you need to know:

Some residents want the district headquarters located in Arivu rather than Vurra

The fight over the location of Arua District headquarters has returned to Arua High Court for the second time for determination.

Mr Jimmy Avini, a resident of Arua District, through M/S Ederu and Gama Advocates and solicitors, says they are demanding an order of certiorari quashing the resolution of the council to have Odumi in Vurra as the headquarter of Arua District.

The suit stems from last year’s resolution by the district council that approved Odumi in Vurra to host the district headquarters against Arivu on grounds that it had vast land.

 Mr Avini, who has constituted the suit, told Daily Monitor on Monday: “Our people cannot afford the quickest means to go the distance. The nearest they can go is to see the LCV, report a case to police or go and seek a service the district is supposed to provide. So, it makes no sense to hide the district [headquarters] from the people who are supposed to seek for services from it.”

The High Court in Arua has set September 21 as hearing date.

 “The district council illegally passed a resolution without due procedure in passing a resolution to have Odumi in Vurra Sub-county as headquarter of Arua District. It is in interest of fairness and justice that this application is granted,” the court letter reads in part.

 In 2020, when Arua Municipality and Ayivu County were merged to form Arua City, Terego County also became a district, this left Vurra County as the only county in Arua District. 

The district leaders needed to get a suitable place for  a headquarter hence Arivu and Vurra sub-counties were fronted.

 Last year, the district engineer, Mr William Tiyo, who led the team for a fact finding mission, said: “There was no decision taken by the team to select a particular location of the district headquarters. This decision is in the hands of the district council.”

Mr Tiyo said they proposed that there is need to convert the Arivu Sub-county land from leasehold to freehold tenure.

Background

This is not the first time that the location of Arua District headquarters is being challenged. In April 2021, the Arua Chief Magistrate, Dr Daniel Lubowa, issued a temporary injunction restraining any sale, development, cultivation or cutting of any trees on the land, pending final determination of the civil suit by Mr Simon Adule, the landlord of the disputed land.

Mr Adule sought to block the establishment of Arua District headquarters at Odumi, saying part of the land is their ancestral property and that the district leaders want to grab it.

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