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Local Leaders, Residents Clash Over Location of New Sub Counties

The decision by the former sub-county councils to allocate land for the construction of the sub-county headquarters have remained a subject of contention in Ongino and Kyere. Although the affected sub-counties are not the only ones that were split to create town councils in their respective districts, the two are under the spotlight.
Residents of Ceele carry signpost and furniture to the designated site.
There is a sharp rift between lower local leaders and residents of Serere and Kumi districts over the proposed sites the construction of their sub-county headquarters.  

This follows the creation of town councils from Kyere and Ongino sub counties in Serere and Kumi districts respectively. Ongino Town Council became operational in July 2019 while Kyere Town Council became operational in July 2020. The newly created Town Councils takeover the premises of the mother sub-county by law, which displaces the sub-county headquarters.

 

The decision by the former sub-county councils to allocate land for the construction of the sub county headquarters have remained a subject of contention in Ongino and Kyere. Although the affected sub counties are not the only ones that were split to create town councils in their respective districts, the two are under the spotlight.

In Ongino, residents are protesting the location of the sub-county to Ceele Parish on grounds that it is not strategic to serve the sub county alike. Residents led by James Joseph Ariko, say that Ceele, which is the proposed sub county headquarters of Ongino is more than 20 kilometers away from other parishes. He adds that the designated land for the sub-county is under contention over alleged encroachment.

Ariko stormed Kumi district chairperson’s office last week together with several residents, saying that the new site is too close to Kumi Municipality. They argue that the future expansion of the municipality is likely to further affect, the sub county headquarters.

Even the new members of Ongino sub-county council are protesting against the new site. They want the sub-county headquarters at Aakum parish that they note is central to all the parishes in Ongino Sub County.

Julius Ekweny, the councilor of Aakum, Emmanuel Osaji, the youth councilor and Salume Achom, the female councilor for Akolitorom among others are also protesting the earlier council resolution to put the sub-county headquarters in Ceele.

“Taking the sub-county headquarters to Ceele is like a punishment to our people. We need to have services closer to our people and there is no way we can allow Ceele to host the sub-county headquarters”, Achom said.

However, Charles Aisu, the sub-county chairperson of Ongino insists that the headquarters of Ongino will be at Ceele since the former council resolved on the matter after careful deliberations and considerations.

“I think some leaders are still drenched in politics and would want to continue dragging other people’s names in the mud forgetting that it is time to deliver services to the voters. We shall not be taken back to discuss the matter already resolved by council”, he said.

In Kyere Sub County, almost every parish chairperson wants the sub-county headquarters in his parish. The parish chairpersons have joined hands with their respective village chairpersons to lobby for the construction of the sub-county headquarters in their respective parishes.  

  Kakuja, Olupe and Abuket parishes have topped the demand for the construction of the sub county headquarters in their areas. 

“Unfortunately, the issue of the sub county headquarters is now political. Some local leaders want to use it for political capital, something different from the purpose for the creation of the sub-county in an area. Everyone wants the sub-county headquarters in his/ her village or parish, how can this be? This, to me is unnecessary tension for the local community in Kyere”, Michael Olinga, a resident on Kangodo said.

The lower local leaders are still exchanging letters with district authorities over the construction of the sub-county headquarters. This has prompted the district chairperson of Serere, Stephen Ochola to stay discussion on the sub-county headquarters by ordering staff to continue operating in the old premises as issues of the new site are sorted. 

He has also ordered the town council to remain in their rented premises until the impasse is resolved. In 2019, the government announced the creation of 162 town councils across the country that would be operational in phases. For Serere district, Kagwara and Ocaapa town councils were created in 2019 and Kyere last year. 

In Kumi, Nyero and Ongino were created in 2019 before the creation of Kanyum and Mukongoro.