Tension Mounts in Kween over Relocation of District Headquarters

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In short
Tension is mounting high in Kween district between residents as they protest what they described as irrational decision by the district executive committee to relocate the district headquarters.

Tension is mounting high in Kween district between residents as they protest what they described as irrational decision by the district executive committee to relocate the district headquarters.
 
Residents, most of who are from Binyiny sub county, are protesting a move taken by the district executive to relocate the headquarters from Binyiny to Kaproron trading centre, Kaproron sub county. They argue that Binyiny where currently the headquarters are located was approved by the council last year.
 
The protest follows a decision by Michael Nandala, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Joseline Cherot the District council speaker to implement a resolution to transfer the district departments.
 
In his January 4th letter to the heads of departments, Nandala, said following an extra-ordinary council sitting, it was resolved that the district headquarters be shifted to Kaproron.
 
He added that the purpose of the communication was to bring to the attention of heads of departments and their secretaries about the council resolution and at the same time implement the resolution.
 
This has not gone well with the residents most of whom accused the CAO of rushing with the council decision without considering some technical challenges.
 
On Monday more than 2, 000 residents of Binyiny Town Council stormed the district headquarters and locked the CAO and Paul Machinjach Kapchemeiko, the LC 5 chairperson in their offices in protest.
 
They demanded that the decision to transfer the district headquarters to Kaproron should be withdrawn immediately.
 
Others demonstrated and blocked the Kween-Bukwo highway for close to four hours with huge stones and tree trunks among others.
 
It took the intervention of the police led by Jacob Opolot, the Elgon Regional Police Commander together with Joseph Okwakao, the Kween Resident District Commissioner who successfully tried for hours to calm the situation.
 
The group argued that as a young district, they cannot afford to have two district headquarters. They also said the move would frustrate the development which had already started to spur at Binyiny town council where the current district headquarters is located.
 
The residents claim they were not consulted as stakeholders over the transfer of the district headquarters. They also said this would also divide people of Binyiny and Kaproron as they struggle for the location of the headquarters.
 
Solmon Cherop, the Binyiny LC5 councilor, said although they had discussed the resolution, they disagreed, and that it was wrong for the CAO to rush with the implementation.
 
He said it would be a total waste of resources by constructing a new administrative block in Kaproron yet abandoning already existing blocks in Binyiny.
 
He also argues that there are no facilities at Kaproron and that there is no network and no vehicles to transport the supervisors.
 
Cherop says it will be difficult to supervise the departments for effective service delivery.
 
Jacob Opolot, the Elgon Regional Police Commander, has urged residents to remain come, saying they would sort out the matter.
 
However residents have vowed to resist the transfer of the district with others threatening to petition parliament and President’s office for intervention.
 
Paul Machinjach Kapchemeiko, the Kween LC V chairperson says that this was a council resolution and insists that they will go ahead to implement it. Already a foundation for the new office block at Kaproron is already being constructed.
 
Kween District started operating on July 1st 2010 after it was carved out from Kapchorwa District.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.

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