Rakai,Kyotera fight over two sub counties escalates

Ten months after the creation of Kyotera district, government is yet to resolve a boundary disagreement between Kyotera and Rakai districts.

In July last year, The Observer reported about a raging disagreement over the sub counties of Kibanda and Kifamba. The confusion over the location of the two sub counties stems from a Parliamentary resolution that cut them off Kakuuto County and placed them under Kooki County.

This, according to opinion leaders is irregular since the two sub counties voted for the Kakuuto MP during the February 2016 elections, and therefore Parliament cannot place them under a constituency whose MP they never voted for.

“In 2016, we obtained a copy of the resolution of Parliament [but] we were greatly surprised to learn that Parliament resolved that Kyotera District, was to consist of Kyotera County and only the Sub Counties of Kyebe, Kakuuto and Kasasa in Kakuuto County hence leaving out the Sub Counties of Kifamba and Kibanda which also form part of Kakuuto County,” partly reads a petition to President Museveni by leaders of Kibanda and Kifamba sub counties.

The two sub counties have refused to operate under Rakai but they can also not access services from Kyotera district since legally, they fall under Rakai.

“We were greatly surprised that in the process of creating the new district of Kyotera, Parliament resolved that our Sub Counties be part of Kooki County which is part of Rakai District because such a resolution defeats the purpose for creation of a new district as provided for in the Constitution which includes the necessity for effective administration and the need to bring services closer to the people,” Jessica Muhiirwe, the Woman LC-V councillor for Kibanda sub county said.

Their petition was sent to Museveni in November last year and he responded by issuing a directive to have the two sub counties transferred back to Kakuuto County and in effect Kyotera district.

Jessica Muhiire, Kibanda Sub County LC 5 Woman councillor

Museveni’s directive was communicated to the Minister of Local Governments Tom Butime on November 23, 2017 by Molly Nawe Kamukama, Museveni’s principal private secretary.

“His Excellency the president has received a letter dated November 9, 2017 addressed to him by officials of Kibanda sub county local government in which they request that Kibanda and Kifamba sub counties be allowed to remain in Kakuuto county, Kyotera district. I have been instructed to forward the said letter to you for further management,” Kamukama wrote.

Without any response from Butime to the effect, the Kyotera LC-V chairman Patrick Kintu Kisekulo on February 1 wrote to the Attorney General William Byaruhanga re-echoing the same grievances.

In his letter, Kisekulo was seeking the Attorney General’s advice on how the two administrative units can join Kyotera district.

“Until June 30, 2017, Kifamba and Kibanda sub counties were part of Kakuuto County which is part of Kyotera district,” Kisekulo wrote.

He also draws Byaruhanga to a resolution that was passed in 2010 by Rakai district council to have Kyotera and Kakuuto as two separate new districts to be curved out of Rakai district with Kifamba and Kibanda sub counties remaining as part of Kakuuto County.

Kisekulo further argued that by Parliament passing a resolution cutting Kibanda and Kifamba sub counties and appending them to Kooki County, Parliament acted in breach of Article 63 (2) of the Constitution which states that each county shall have at least one Member of Parliament, and no constituency shall fall within more than one county.

Being that voters in the two sub counties under contention were until the 2016/17 financial year under Kakuuto county, Kisekulo argued, alteration of their boundaries cannot come into effect until after the expiry of the current term of Parliament as per Article 63(6) of the Constitution.

“In the on-going National Identification programme, all these people were registered and are still being registered as residents of Kakuuto County; this falls within Kyotera district,” Kisekulo wrote.

“Incidentally, the National Planning Authority in the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development still plans for the two sub counties of Kifamba and Kibanda as entities of Kakuuto County – within Kyotera District and all operational funds for [the two administrative units] are being released to Kyotera District and not Rakai,” he further wrote.

DISENFRACHISED

Kisekulo said that the residents of the two sub counties feel disenfranchised  since they no longer have effective representation in Parliament and yet effective service delivery.

He also cited Article 179(4) which provides that any alteration of the boundaries or the creation of districts or administrative units shall be based on the necessity for effective administration and the need to bring services closer to the people.

This requires taking into account the means of communication, geographical features, population density economic viability and the wishes of the people concerned.

“Based on Article 179(4), the motorable distance from the headquarters of the two sub counties to the district headquarters of Rakai is 52 and 68KMs respectively, compared to 25 and 41KMs to Kyotera district headquarters,” Kisekulo stated.

“The two sub counties are distinctively cut off from Kooki county by a long mountainous terrain called Nabunga which hence makes transport means and communication overly complex to the extent that in order to access services in Rakai district, the residents have to traverse through the new Kyotera district at a great cost and inconvenience thus defeating the very essence of bringing services nearer to the people,” he further wrote.

KAMUSWAGA

Some are blaming the confusion on the Kamuswaga of Kooki Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II whom they say influenced the alteration of the boundaries due to his rivalry with Buganda kingdom officials.

Kamuswaga of Kooki Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II

“Because he wants to break away from Buganda, that is why he doesn’t want us to be under Kyotera district,” one of the agitated leaders said.

There are also allegations, based on information by ISO operatives working in the two districts that claim that the Kamuswaga sent his spokesman Stanley Ndawula to bribe some Parliamentary staffers to change the original resolution of Parliament.

Ndawula refuted the allegations as not true.

“It is not true, demarcation of borders is a sensitive matter,” Ndawula said.

He further said that the Kamuswaga is not willing to let go of the two sub counties.

“They are going nowhere. What we are campaigning for is the creation of a constituency because for now, they aren’t represented in Parliament,” Ndawula said.