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Lands Minister Camps in Moroto over Boundary Dispute

Rupa and Katikekile sub-counties have been fighting over administrative boundary since 2002 when mining activities commenced in Moroto.
State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza [middle] posing for a photo with Rupa and Katikekile residents after boundary discussion on Wednesday.

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The State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza has camped in Moroto to open a long contested administrative boundary between Rupa and Katikekile sub-counties.

The two sub-counties have been fighting over administrative boundary since 2002 when mining activities commenced in Moroto. The contested areas include Rata village which is DAO Marble Limited base. Others are Musupo and Nakiloro parishes which have vast mineral deposits especially marble, limestone and gold.

The conflict has since failed the two sub-counties from accessing seven percent of royalties from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. Even the proposal to share royalties through council resolutions by the department of geological surveys was snubbed by the leadership of both sub-counties. Each sub-county now loses more than 30 million shillings annually from royalties.

While meeting the community of the two sub-counties and their leaders at the district Chamber Hall in Moroto on Wednesday ahead of the boundary opening, Namuganza said they are going to use maps drawn by colonialists and other relevant information to settle the boundary issue.

Namuganza warned that any person who will cause commotion after the opening of the boundary will be dealt with accordingly.

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John Vianney Lutaaya, the Principal Staff Surveyor in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development says the border will be marked with concrete pillars.

He explained that besides the colonial maps, they are going to base their findings and open up the boundary using narratives and technical equipment to settle the matter.

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Michael Lotee, the Moroto District NRM chairman says the boundary issue was exacerbated by politicians and mining companies in the area. He notes that although the two communities used to stay in harmony, their leaders have kept on fuelling the border issues, causing them to start fighting each other. He observes that many resolutions on the boundary have been violated by leaders.

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Several attempts to open the Rupa- Katikekile boundary have been frustrated due to resistance from Rupa Sub County. The sub-county leadership of Rupa claims that Katikekile is encroaching on their land including the sub-county headquarters.

The ministry is expected to open the boundary on Monday after an extensive engagement with both local leaders and the community.