New Tororo leadership to unite Jopadhola, Iteso

The new LC5 chairperson of Tororo District, Mr John Okeya, takes an oath of office at the district headquarters last week. PHOTO | JOSEPH OMOLLO

What you need to know:

  • The chief administrative officer of Tororo, Mr Dunstan Balaba, said local revenue collection had drastically dropped.

A section of political leaders in Tororo District in Bukedi Sub-region has vowed to promote reconciliation and unity in order to spur economic development.

The leaders say reconciliation will help to bring an end to the long-standing animosity between the Jopadhola and Iteso communities, which had to some extent hampered development.

The new LC5 chairperson of Tororo,  Mr John Okeya, told Daily Monitor on Tuesday that he would lead the efforts to mend the torn relationship between the two communities.

“My major assignment is to ensure that peace is restored in the district through reconciling the two warring communities,” he said, adding that for the past 30 years, the district has been engulfed in unending tribal conflicts.

“It’s, therefore, my request to you the councillors to stop the infights and concentrate on delivering services to our people,” Mr Okeya said shortly after taking the oath of office last week.

Since 2017, the district has been operating without a substantive elected chairperson following the death of Apollo Jaramogi. Ms Stella Mukutet Echirya has been the acting chairperson.

By-election efforts
The efforts by the Electoral Commission (EC) to organise a by-election flopped on numerous occasions due to violence meted to the EC officials by the locals (mainly the Iteso community) from Tororo County, who are demanding an autonomous district.

The government is yet to heed the demand.
Mr Okeya, however, said the people of Tororo County are poor not because they have not been given a district because they don’t get the services they deserve.

The Iteso community accuse their counterpart of marginalising them as far as resource allocation is concerned, but leaders from West Budama disregard the claims as false.

They say there is evidence on the ground that most of the positions in the district held by people from Tororo County.  Mr Okeya said the two communities should join hands and demand an elevation of Tororo municipality into a city.

“Members of Tororo County boycotting the district council is not healthy. It should not be repeated again like in the past,” he said.

Tororo North County MP Mr Geoffrey Ekanya also appealed to the councillors from Tororo County not to boycott council meetings.

“They should instead use it as a platform to lobby for services for the people. We need to work towards fighting poverty as we demand a district for Tororo County,”  he said.
 
Mr Benjamin Okecho, the chairperson of Iyolwa Sub-county, said the government should consider improving emoluments for councillors.

The chief administrative officer of Tororo, Mr Dunstan Balaba, said local revenue collection had drastically dropped.

“It’s unfortunate that most of the lower local governments do not have potential utilities that can earn them local revenue, the main source that the councillors welfare is derived from,’’  Mr Balaba said. 
He asked the new leaders to mobilise people to embrace government programmes. 

Quest for new district

Earlier on, the government had agreed to grant Tororo County a district status, but the location of Tororo Municipality remained a matter of contention as each group claimed it. 

In 2018, the government sent a delegation led by then Lands minister Betty Among to the United Kingdom for a colonial map to establish the actual boundary of Tororo Municipality, but the findings have not yet been made public.

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