Will Among’s era as Speaker close service gap in Bukedea?

President Museveni hands instruments of power to Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among after she was elected Speaker of the 11th Parliament at Kololo Independence Grounds on March 25. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Like its sister district of Katakwi where the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, hails from, the people of Bukedea have high hopes that Ms Anita Among is well placed to bargain for a bigger portion of the national cake.

With almost one year as Deputy Speaker and subsequently going on to seal the top seat as the Speaker of Parliament, the euphoria and hope among the people of Bukedea in Ms Anita Among is still fresh.
Like its sister district of Katakwi where the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, hails from, the people of Bukedea have high hopes that Ms Among is well placed to bargain for a bigger portion of the national cake.

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What is interesting though is that irrespective of the political factions, which continue to define Bukedea ever since it was carved out of Kumi District in July 2006, many residents and local leaders believe the Speaker is the solution to the bottlenecks that have held Bukedea back for many years.
Ms Grace Akello, a retired teacher and a resident of Bukedea Sub-county, says they have a lot of trust in the Speaker since she heads an important institution [Parliament] where policies are formulated and budget allocations are decided.

Bukedea is faced with high maternal mortality rates.  
Ms Akello says locals expect the district to recruit more medical staff for Malera, Kidongole, and Kachumbala health centre IIIs and Bukedea Health Centre IV.
“There are areas in this district where during the rainy seasons, mothers end up dying during labour because there are no good roads to connect to health centres. In places where maternity services are present, many are still in a deplorable state,” she says.

Bukedea District health department portal stipulates that the district is dedicated to achieving its five-year strategic plan through increased access to Minimum Healthcare Package (MHCP), efficiency in accountability and transparency.  
Mr Samuel Okurut, the chairperson of Kidongole Sub-county, says a heap of burdens have already been brought to the attention of Ms Among. He says in the education sector, there are parishes which don’t have schools and because of the population growth, pressure is piled on the few Uganda Primary Education schools amid limited infrastructure.
 “We have schools where a single classroom has more than 250 pupils and because of limited infrastructure, the schools cannot have additional streams per class,” Mr Okurut says, adding that this is one of the areas Ms Among should use her position to correct.

In the health sector, he says the few medical workers in health centre IIIs are being overstretched. 
“The health facilities are crowded, this wears down on the medical staff besides the limited drugs,’’  Mr Okurut says.
He adds that the recent Indicative Planning Figures (IPFs) that were sent to the sub-counties show a sharp decline in the Discretionary Equalisation Grants from Shs30 million to Shs10 million, yet as sub-counties, this has been money that has enabled them in the past to build some infrastructure, a case in point is Kidongole Maternity Ward.

Mr Okurut says in the area of road networks, they are burdened as a sub-county to have bridges constructed way back in 1950s, which need repair, but the district is not able to foot.
“Since Ms Among is in the House where allocations are done, it is our hope that she helps the district lobby for more funds from the government and well-wishers,” he says.

Mr Jackson Ojekede, another chairperson, says she wants the Speaker to extend more financial support to village savings groups, an assertion that is equally supported by Aminit Sub-county chairperson James Peter Adok.
“She has revamped many health centre IIs in Bukedea. We believe she can also champion the saving attitude among locals,” Mr Ojekede says.
Mr Chris Obore, the director for communication and public affairs at Parliament, while addressing his villagemates in Omirio last week said Ms Among will soon hand over a district ambulance to Bukedea.  He also told the locals to effectively utilise the financial support the Speaker extends to saving groups.

Budget plan
Bukedea recently passed a Shs35 billion budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023.
The district speaker, Mr Showan Juma Emong, said most of the funds will be servicing administrative costs.
Ms Siporah Akol, the personal assistant to Ms Among, says the feats that her boss has already done for Bukedea speak volumes and it is the reason the locals have high hopes in her.
She says the Speaker understands the state of the education sector in Bukedea and she has already put up a classroom block at Kolir Primary School in a bid to ease congestion among learners.

“The scholarship grants are up and running for the best excelling pupils and students,” Ms Akol says.
In the area of the road infrastructure, Ms Akol says through the Speaker, the district is seeing works on Kamutur road and Kolir to Bulambuli road, adding that the low gravitational water scheme is also being extended to villages.

However, Mr James Kede, a resident of Malera Town Council, told this publication that much as Ms Among is the Speaker for Parliament, she may not fully address every challenge affecting Bukedea. He said to meet not only the wishes of Bukedea, but the entire country, there is a need to have policies that put people first.


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