Tororo MPs divided over quest for city status

A section of Soroti City. PHOTO/PPU 

What you need to know:

  • The tensions between the two communities (Japadhola and Iteso) started before Independence in 1962 and led to the demarcations of West Budama for Jopadhola and Tororo County for Iteso.

The quest to elevate Tororo Municipality to city status has hit a snag with a section of area MPs opposing it.

The disagreement emerged during a district roads committee meeting chaired by Mr Emmanuel Otala, the MP for West Budama South, on Tuesday.

“It’s a high time Tororo leaders unite and asked the government to expedite the process like it has been done to other municipalities,” Mr Otala said.

The lawmaker said he had consulted with some of the elders from Tororo County and most of them welcome the idea.

“I want to bring to your attention honorable MPs that we have done wide consultation about the pending demand to have Tororo Municipality elevated into a city and the response is positive. It is our role as leaders to give it a blessing,’’ he said.

However, Mr Otala’s communication did not go well with some MPs, including Ms Sarah Achieng Opendi, the district Woman MP, and Mr Fredrick Angura, the Tororo County MP.

Ms Opendi said instead of leaders lobbying for a city,  they should ask the government to construct  an industrial park.

‘‘What we need is to lobby for an industrial park where we shall be assured of employment and raise local revenue other than lobbying for an administrative unit that will benefit few people,’’ she said. 

Mr Angura said rushing to agitate for a city is like scratching a healing wound. He said the people of Tororo County want the government to first fulfill their demand for a district status.

But Mr Geoffrey Ekanya, the MP for Tororo County North, said if the town is upgraded, it will bring services closer to the people.

“The people of Tororo north recommend that the government considers granting Tororo Municipality a commercial city,” he said.

Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth, the State minister for Defence and Veterans Affairs, who is also the West Budama Central MP, said whoever opposes the creation of the city is playing cheap politics.

‘‘Some legislators need to revisit their thinking or else our people will miss opportunities,’’ he said.
Mr Oboth-Oboth said it is primitive to continue demanding for a tribal district. 

“The people of Tororo, Parliament and Cabinet are all fatigued by the district issue. It is time we started talking about issues that benefit our people,” he said.

The chief administrative officer, Mr Dunstan Balaba, however, told MPs that the road equipment are down due to lack of grader tyres.

He said there is need for more funding from the central government. The district, which has a road network of 525kms receives Shs670m under Uganda Road Fund.

Background
The tensions between the two communities (Japadhola and Iteso) started before Independence in 1962 and led to the demarcations of West Budama for Jopadhola and Tororo County for Iteso.

The separation, however, escalated the tensions among the two groups, resulting in a call for district status by the Iteso in 1998.

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