Review Criteria for New City Creation: Perspectives from West Nile Leaders

Political and opinion leaders in Arua want Parliament to revisit the criteria for creating new cities arguing that the current method is promoting divisions and tribal conflicts.

This was during a meeting with the Opposition Members of Parliament led by the Leader of Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga at Arua Catholic Social Centre in Arua City.

Christopher Afayoa, a former DP parliamentary candidate for Ayivu Division West said that the creation of Arua City escalated tensions between the various ethnic groups in the area as most of the jobs and leadership positions are dominated by one group.
“We are now marginalized people and nobody raises issues on our behalf. I beg you as Leader of the Opposition to get interested in the issue of Arua City because this issue has led to a lot of corruption,” said Afayoa.  

Mpuuga said the problem can be cured by the Opposition’s proposal for proportional representation.

To achieve this, Mpuuga said, there is a need for a new constitutional order which will provide a fair formula creation of new administrative units and constituencies.
“In parliament, I represent a constituency which has over 100,000 voters, but I also sit with an MP [whose constituency] has 3,000 voters… So, we shall have to re-demarcate the country [and have] same number of voters, in every constituency,” Mpuuga said adding that, ‘one of our problems now is that Parliament is congested and as the Opposition, we believe, we can have a much smaller Parliament’.

Mpuuga further told the meeting that the time is now for the country to build a new consensus to address the current political challenges.
“One of the issue we are talking about in Parliament is that the country needs a fresh Constitution. In 1995, you sent people to Kampala to make a Constitution…The Constitution is nothing but an agreement of the people explaining how they want to be governed, how they want to share national resources, how they want to educate their children. That is the Constitution,” Mpuuga said.

He said that the previous amendments to the Constitution to remove presidential term and age limits among others had compromised its standing as an agreement of the people of Uganda.
“Decentralization was killed; it is now centralization, [local governments] used to give contracts but they are now given at the centre…somebody comes from Kampala to build a toilet in Arua. So, do we have decentralization anymore? Somebody from Kampala comes to Arua to build a classroom…and you are talking about as decentralization,” Mpuuga wondered.

The LOP and his entourage also met Moyo District leaders and tasked them to explain the fate of the abandoned projects at Dufile Seed Secondary School and Arra Health Centre. The district leadership blamed the mess on poor selection of contractors.

The District Education Officer, Michael Mali, told the MPs that the district leadership had written several letters and reminders to the Ministry of Education and Sports as well as the Solicitor General to have the issue resolved but their efforts have been all in vain.

The MPs heard that Achoru United Traders Ltd which abandoned the construction works at Dufile Seed Secondary School is the same contractor who was awarded the contract for construction of seed schools in all the west Nile sub-region districts.