By Paul Watala
Census exercise in Mt. Elgon and Sebei sub region have continuously been interrupted by territorial rains that are currently pounding the regions.
The rains have continued in the regions making it difficult for the enumerators by rendering the roads impassable.
Sharon Cheruto, an enumerator in Kapchesoi village in Bukwo district said that the rains start as early as 1:00am and continue for almost 2 to 3 hours nonstop forcing the enumerators to take shelter for fear of wetting the materials.
“The challenge is that even the umbrellas that were distributed to us are too weak to stand the storm. Sometimes the rains come with hailstones that brow down trees and roofs from houses,” Cheruto said.
She added that there are some isolated cases where some small bridges that connect one village to another have been filled up with water while others over flooded making movements hard or impossible.
She expressed fear that if the rains continue at the same rate, the exercise in some places will have to take a little longer, adding that when it’s raining most enumerators who have been trapped by rain and take shelter in schools, health centres and churches hence stop counting until it stops raining.
“The only enumerators who continue working are only those who have been trapped in people’s homes. Others are forced to work for more hours than it’s required to make-up for the wasted time,” Cheruto said.
Mbale district Technical officer UBOS, Tom Musungu named the most affected sub counties as Kilayi, Bubyangu, Wanale, Bufumbo and Bukonde and parts of Mbale Municipality.
He said that because of increased rains, monitoring of the exercise has become difficult as most of them do not have vehicles that can allow them move when it’s raining , adding that cult leaders are taking advantage of the rains to achieve their goal of not being counted.
He said that unidentified group of people took advantage of the rains in Kilayi sub-county in Mbale district and beat up enumerators who had taken shelter and fled with the enumeration materials to unknown location.
He said that police was alerted and the hunt is on, adding that the accident took place between Sironko and Mbale districts near Mt. Elgon Forest.
Elgon region police spokes Person, Diana Nandawula said that some of the people have been arrested in connection to the incident but did not reveal their names that it would jeopardize the investigations and affect more arrests by alerting those still at large.
Nandawula said that district security committees of Mbale and Sironko attempted to hold a meeting in Kilayi sub-county where the incident took place but rains disrupted, adding that police has now been deployed to patrol as the exercise is goes on.