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Elgon region leaders agitate for Mbale City status

Mbale town

MBALE-Leaders from the five districts that form the Elgon sub-region have called on the ruling NRM government to expedite the process of elevating Mbale Municipality to a city status.

The Mbale District NRM chairperson, Mr Charles Walimbwa, also urged the NRM government to fulfil its pledge of elevating Sironko and Manafwa town councils to municipal status.

“This is not negotiable because it seems that government is granting Tororo ahead of Mbale and yet the plan for Mbale city was at the forefront. This issue has to be addressed with the utmost urgency it deserves. All the formalities had been done but unfortunately, nothing is taking place. This government should fulfil their longterm demand,” Mr Walimbwa said.

He was speaking during the consultative meeting at Mbale District headquarters by the Manifesto Implementation Unit under the Office of the President. The meeting was attended by LC5 chairpersons, RDCs, CAOs and district NRM chairpersons from the region.

The agitation for city status was first mooted in November 2008 when Mbale Municipal Council passed a resolution to that effect and since then, nothing has been done.

However, the Mbale Resident District Commissioner, Mr James Shilaku, called on the district and municipal leaders to harmonize their positions, arguing that they both submitted different resolutions with contradicting boundary demarcations before the Ministry of Local government.

Mr Shilaku noted that whereas Mbale District Council had previously approved the entire district to be elevated to a city status, Mbale Municipality had preferred to have only few sub-counties.

The Manafwa LC5 chairman, Mr John Musila, criticised MPs from the sub-region for not backing up the people in their quest for city status. His counterpart from Bududa District, Mr Wilson Watira, urged that the district council to pass another resolution on the matter.

The Director of the Manifesto Implementation Unit, Mr Fred Kamugira, pledged to follow up the matter.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates put the population of Mbale town at more than 100,000 inhabitants which has since increased dramatically.

On resettlement, the leaders said that government should have people settle in the trading centres to avoid being trapped in areas prone to landslides. “We are aware that government through the office of the prime minister [OPM] had procured a good chunk of land to resettle landslide victims but unfortunately four years down the road no resettlement has ever been made,” Mr  Watira said.

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