Tororo leaders divided over quest for city status

Mr Yeri Apollo Ofwono, the Tororo Municipality MP. 

What you need to know:

  • The district chairperson, Mr John Okeya, said as a council, they do not see the reason why Tororo Municipality should remain at the same level year in, year out

Residents and leaders in Tororo District have failed to agree on the proposal to upgrade Tororo Municipality to a city. 
Leaders and locals from Tororo County have opposed it, saying it is a diversionary act intended to derail government from granting them district status.
But those from West Budama argue that elevating it to a city will not only bring services closer to the people but will also create employment opportunities. 
Mr Yeri Apollo Ofwono, the Tororo Municipality MP, said: “Those opposed to the elevation of Tororo Municipality [to city status] need serious rehabilitation to change their mindset to enable them to start thinking well for the good of the district.” 

 The district chairperson, Mr John Okeya, said as a council, they do not see the reason why Tororo Municipality should remain at the same level year in, year out. 
“As a district council, we are waiting for the outcome from the central government because we approved the proposal to have neighbouring sub-counties including Rubongi and Mukuju annexed to the proposed city,” he said.  
He added: “What we are pushing for is beyond tribe and we pray that the Central government does not listen to such uncivilised arguments.” 
However, Mr Paul Sande Emolot, an elder from Tororo County, said the proposal is diversionary and negates government commitment to resolve the 20 year conflict between them, the Iteso and the Jopadhola.
“We would join the move if the government had sorted out the request by the people of Tororo County to have a separate district status,” he said. 
In April, then Minister in Charge of General Duties in the Office of Prime Minister, Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, said President Museveni would soon give a final position regarding granting a district status to Tororo County. 
Mr Emolot said the people of Tororo County are running out of patience with the government.

The Tororo South County MP, Mr Frederick Angura, said government should by all means grant them a district, arguing that West Budama takes the largest share of development grants because it has a bigger population. 
He added that when the district recently advertised 150 vacancies, it only gave Tororo County 15 slots. 
“Under such circumstances what do you want leaders to do. That is why we are troubled hence agitating for self autonomy,” Mr Angura said. 

Tensions between Japadhola and Itesot
The tensions between the two communities started before Independence in 1962 and led to the demarcations that separated West Budama for Jopadhola from Tororo County for Iteso.
 The separation, however, escalated the tensions among the two groups.
The call for district status started in 1998.

But in 2005, President Museveni vivted the area and the residents asked him directly for a district of their own.
While addressing a rally at Mukuju County headquarters, an Itesot man moved forward and ate a live rat to demonstrate that they had distinct cultural identity from their counterparts the Jopadhola.
The government agreed to grant Tororo County district status but the location of Tororo Municipality remained a matter of contention as each group claimed it


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