President Museveni has set a three-week deadline to stop the conflict over demand for and against the creation of Tororo District. He also declared there would be no more elections in the district until the quarrel between the district leaders are resolved.
The President, who jointly met a delegation of Tororo County leaders and those from West Budama County at his Kisozi ranch last Tuesday evening, promised to resolve the problem he said has disturbed his mind for the last 10 years by June 25, 2017.
The Tororo County leaders were headed by Emorimor Augustine Lemukol Osuban, the Iteso cultural leader, while those from West Budama were led by Kwar Adhola (Jopadhola cultural leader) Moses Owori.
A source who attended the meeting that started at the stroke of midnight, told Sunday Monitor that the President said as a condition, he has stopped the by-elections for Tororo District council chairperson until he resolves the matter. He also asked the acting chairperson, Ms Stella Imukutet, to continue as caretaker without any interruption.
The President also gave an executive order to the NRM electoral commission chairperson, Dr Tanga Odoi, restricting him from attending any social gathering or political event. He can only go to his home in case he visits the district.
The President’s declaration came after the two groups made brief remarks on the current political and administrative stalemate that has frustrated service delivery in the district.
Mr Museveni reportedly gave room for the Itesot leaders to substantiate their quest for an independent district and also tasked the Jopadhola leaders to justify their opposition to the split of Tororo into two districts.
Prof Iputo Yehu, who spoke on behalf of the Iteso, reportedly shocked President Museveni when he cited what he called high levels of marginalisation and suppression of the residents of Tororo County by their counterparts from West Budama County.
“Mr President, I wish to bring to your attention that after the death of the district chairperson, our counterparts the Jopadhola, passed a resolution never to allow the acting district chairperson Stella Imukutet an opportunity to caretake the district as provided for by the law.
They denied her to step in West Budama County. Also two members of the executive from West Budama County resigned with the view of frustrating operations of the district council. So Mr President, with all this, how can we live together; please save us,’’ Prof Iputo reportedly told President Museveni.
But Mr Thomas Okoth Nyalulu, who spoke on behalf of the Jopadhola, explained to President Museveni that they are living peacefully and there was no need to divide the district since they have even gone ahead to intermarry. He said the conflicts are being escalated by some people he said have made the issue a project for survival.
“Although our brothers, the Iteso claim Tororo Municipality to have been entirely part of Tororo County, it’s evident that part of West Budama County was merged into the municipality,” he reportedly said.
Mr Nyalulu is said to have identified the areas incorporated into Tororo County as Bison Maguria and Kyamunula.’’
He said some of the documents presented by leaders from Tororo County were malicious, adding that the municipality does not belong to either Tororo County neither to West Budama. He said it was needless claim the municipality as part of Osukuru Sub-county.
A source who attended the meeting also said the leaders from both sides presented to President Museveni both maps and supportive documents to back their arguments.
During the meeting, Mr Jacob Oboth Oboth, the Budama South MP, reportedly shed tears and accused the late Apollo Jaramogi Oloo of being the root cause of the problem.
It was also reported that Mr Paul Orono Etiang accused Tanga Odoi of instigating confusion by purporting that Etiang was behind the push to have the people boycott the elections. President Museveni in reaction is said to have directed Mr Odoi to steer clear and not meddle in the affairs of Tororo.
The President is said to have closed the meeting by urging the two groups to respect the colonial boundaries and promote peace and unity as he works out a permanent solution to end the long-standing conflict between the two communities.