Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | In the first sign of a new beginning, a record seven MPs who hail from Tororo met this week to chart a way forward for their struggling district.
Of immediate concern to the MPs are the latest Uganda poverty figures, that put Bukedi not far from the worst performing region in the country – Karamoja.
“If you put Karamoja aside, Bukedi is one of the poorest regions in the country. This is a paradox. The causes of this poverty situation should be investigated and solutions and interventions sought,” said the Prime Minister of the Adhola Cultural Institution (TACI) Josel R ObboTieng , who briefed the MPs at a special meeting on Easter Monday.
While extreme poverty at a national level has generally declined since 1990s, this trend has not occurred evenly across the country. Although northern and western regions have seen a decrease in the share of population in poverty since the 1990s, the eastern region has recorded an increase in poverty (from 24.3% in 1999/2000 to 35.7% in 2016/17), overtaking the northern region as the poorest.
Easter Monday brainstorming
The seven MPs converged at Kwar Adhola Moses Stephen Owor’s palace in Tororo Municipality to brainstorm on issues of the district with Josel R Obbo, the Jago (Prime Minister) and his team.
The MPs at the Monday meeting were Oboth Oboth (West Budama central), Max Ochai (West Budama North), Emmanuel Otaala (West Budama South), Apollo Yeri (Tororo Municipality), Sarah Opendi (Woman MP Tororo), Odoi Oneni (Youth MP elect) and Hellen Asamo (MP for disabled Eastern). Fox Odoi (West Budama North East) who had an accident on the way to the meeting, and missed out.
“This meeting was informed by the need for leaders within Tororo to work together for the overall good of our people and the country at large. I congratulate you all upon your recent election. As an Institution we are optimistic and confident that you will deliver to the expectation of our people,” Obbo said, while welcoming the leaders to the Post-election meeting mooted by Kwar Adhola Moses Owor.
Obbo outlined 13 areas that he wished to see the MPs put their energy into. They include the poor state of roads, the status of Tororo hospital, poverty alleviation and education.
The MPs agreed to push for the upgrade to tarmac of all the major roads. These are Nagongera –Busolwe-Namutumba Road; Mulanda – Buwesa Road- to Namutumba –Iganga road; Iyolwa Road from mile 11 to Mulanda – Nagongera – Paya – Buteleja and Malaba, Kwapa, Mayiro aboro road.
Other issued discussed were the revival of the Bukedi Parliamentary caucus that can help spur development in the region, and the push for Tororo to become the second city after Mbale in Bukedi-Bugisu region, by 2025.
The Jago said Tororo deserved to have been on the list of newly formed cities. He also argued that a new status will help resolve the bitter differences over a request by Tororo County for their own district separating them from West Budama.
“It’s quite disappointing to see other places of similar or less status being elevated to city status, while Tororo is frustrated. This is all because of disunity,” he told the leaders. He added that, ” the acquisition of Tororo City, will automatically lay to rest the Tororo question by all means. Let’s have Tororo City within the next five years.”
Other leaders at the meeting were John Okeya – Chairman LC 5, the TACI Deputy Jago, senior royal advisors to Kwar Adhola, Speaker to the Supreme Assembly, Chairman radio committee TBN, some members of the royal family.
The meeting agreed that there is need to further lobby government to upgrade Tororo District Referral hospital to Regional Referral Hospital. The MPs noted that there is a high demand for a referral hospital in the region due to influx of people to the border town, as a result of increased economic activities and population.
Support to education
The meeting also noted that high quality education in Budama has continued to be found mainly in a few traditional schools and private schools. The majority of the schools still perform poorly and yet this is where most children study.
The MPs agreed that there is a need to build staff houses in all the government schools, enforce feeding in all schools, build model secondary schools, one in each County (constituency).
The MPs also discussed Busitema University, Nagongera campus that stands on more than 1500 acres of land and was one time home to NTC Nagongera. At the time of the formation of NTC Nagongera, it was hoped that it would one day become a fully-fledged University.
The meeting noted that since Government is discouraging rice growing in wet lands, focus turns to supporting fish farmers and poultry.
According to the 2002 national census, Tororo district was the leading producer of Turkeys in the Country, producing nearly 10% of all the Turkey in Uganda. The MPs also noted that there are opportunities in bee keeping, piggery, goat farming, modern poultry farming, dairy farming, horticulture and forestry.
A comprehensive project proposal will be written on fish farming in the region, and possible donors sought. Individuals who can privately undertake fish farming should be encouraged.
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) August 10, 2019