Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Landlords in Soroti Municipality have petitioned the Minister for Local Government, Raphael Magezi over the creation of Soroti City, of the 15 cities that were approved by Parliament in April.
After the approval, the first cluster of seven cities was operationalised this financial year. They include Jinja, Gulu, Mbarara, Mbale, Arua, Fort Portal and Masaka cities. Soroti, Hoima and Lira are in the second cluster of municipalities to attain city status next financial year.
However, a group of 1,000 landlords led by Pascal Amuriat are against the elevation of Soroti municipality on the grounds that the communities annexed to Soroti city are largely agrarian and that the elevation is likely to distort their way of life. They add that the changes were announced during the lockdown with little or no consultation from the communities.
They further argue that the creation of Soroti is not cognizant of the COVID-19 Epidemic and the wars which Teso has undergone which deprived her of Economic opportunities adding that instead, the elevation disempowers the common man and favours the rich.
In the petition, also copied to President Yoweri Museveni, the Speaker of Parliament and Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, among others, the petitioners also indicate that landlords are panicking to sell some assets to survey their land which was annexed to the city.
The petitioners add that the population of Soroti is too low to warrant the elevation to a city. “Soroti district Population according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics stands at 296,833 people, while Soroti Municipal Council is 49,685; the ideal population size should at least be 100,000 persons to form a city”, the petition reads.
Paul Omer, the Soroti Municipality Mayor, when contacted said that he had not yet received the petition but heard about it verbally.“ I need to read the petition and understand the issues raised before commenting. Otherwise, the decision was already taken and Parliament has blessed the creation of Soroti City”, he said.