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Kasese demonstrators demand new sub-counties

By John Thawite

Added 31st July 2018 08:45 PM

The demonstrators were led by their area MP, Jackson Mbaju Kathika.

Fromrightbusngorampkathikakilembelc3kamaateandotherprotestersatthedistrictchairmansoffice 703x422

The demonstrators were led by their area MP, Jackson Mbaju Kathika.

PIC: From right, Busngora MP kathika, Kilembe LC 3 Kamaate and other protesters at the district chairman's office.(Credit: John Thawite)


DEMONSTRATION


KAMPALA - More than 150 angry demonstrators from Busongora south constituency, Kasese district stormed the office of the Kasese LC 5 chairperson.

The demonstrators were led by their area MP, Jackson Mbaju Kathika.

During the Monday protests, the residents accused the chairperson, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo, of frustrating their efforts to have two more sub-counties of Mbunga and Nyakabingo curved out of the mountainous and populous Kilembe and Rukoki sub-counties respectively.

The placard-waving demonstrators, who included the area MP, Mbaju and the Kilembe LC 3 boss, Modesto Kamatte said they were disappointed with the failure of the lawyer-turned politician Bigogo to honour a ministerial letter granting the creation of the two sub-counties.

Some of the placards read, “Hon Minister Local Government, come and resecure (sic) us. We need Mbunga and Nyakabingo sub-counties.”

Another read, “We have been marginalised for long. The time is now for us to make our own decision.”

However, when they arrived at the chairman’s office at Rukoki, the district headquarters, they did didn’t find Bigogo.

They resorted to sitting down on stones in the brown marrum compound, insisting on seeing Bigogo.

MP attacks Bigogo

The Busongora South MP alleged that the district chairman consulted MPs from other constituencies on matters affecting the constituency.

He said the resolution to create Nyakabingo and Mbunga had been passed at a district council in 2010 followed by another council of 2014 which re-endorsed the idea.

“In February this year, the NRM-led government proposed that the two sub-counties should start operating after consulting the MP Busongora North. This means that Bigogo does not respect the people of Busongora South.

"What you have seen is just the beginning. You are yet to see the worst of me. We can no longer remain in a district any more where we are thought about as left overs," Mbaju said.

He also faulted Bigogo’s leadership of giving out 15 jibs to Bukonzo constituency in the recent recruitment but only one junior slot of assistant inventory assistant to Busongora South.

“And you expect us to clap hands? Enough is enough and the battle line is drawn.”

"We shall fight him," Kilembe boss

The Kilembe LC 3 chairman, Modesto Kamaate Dodo also faulted Bigogo for blocking the resolution of his council to create Mbunga, threatening to fight Bigogo until the subcounty is granted.

He said he was still running the sub-county using offices of Bulembia Division in Kasese Municipality, which was curved out of his sub-county which is too far from the communities to access for services.

“For how long will I continue operating in another man’s home when I have my own?"  Kamaate asked.

He urged his residents to remain calm while he fights Bigogo until their wish is granted.

“I am going to fight Bigogo until Mbunga and Nyakabingo sub-counties are established.

"We know how to fight him and we shall fight him until he grants us the two sub-counties and he leaves office,” Kamaate said as other protesters chanted in demand for the two sub-counties.

The Rukoki subcounty LC 3 chairman, Emmy Muhindo Kitsama, expressed fear that aspirants for the new sub-counties would wait up to 2030 if not cleared now.

Hard-to-reach services

To reach Rukoki sub-county from Nyakabingo, residents have to cross through Kasese Municipality, travel about 20 km and have to wade through River Nyamwamba, which has often claimed lives in the process because it had no bridge at the crossing point from Kasese

The Muhokya LC 3 chairperson, Ernest Kasoke, described Bigogo’s act as betrayal to the electorates who had been assured that the new leadership under him would take care of their interests.

“Our people had declined to vote arguing that their past votes had gone to waste because their expectations had not been met. We convinced them that they would benefit under Bigogo’s leadership but he has betrayed us all."

Bigogo hits back

Later in the day, the district chairperson, Geoffrey Bigogo told the media that he had no problem with the council resolution of 2011, but Mbaju’s approach was improperly.

“I think my brother has been too radical in following up the matter of the two sub-counties. Moreover, I was not in leadership in 2011 when the resolution was made,” he said.

Council resolves split

The issue of creating administrative units, including splitting the district into two others, first featured in 2010.

The district Council then, dominated by the ruling national resistance movement (NRM), under the former district chairperson, Rev Julius Kithaghenda, resolved that the district be split into Rwenzori, Kasese and Bwera.

The Council argued that splitting the district, which has a projected population of one million people, was to extend services closer to them.

However, the  opposition politicians who support Forum for Democratic Change, where Bigogo, Kathika and Kamatte belong and the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu cultural leader, Charles Wesley Mumbere, later the vehemently opposed the split.

After the Monday protests, a group of NRM cadres, led by the district NRM caucus chairman, William Thalyakabuya also matched to the district headquarters, demanding that the district be split. 

 

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