KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the Minister for Lands, Hon. Betty Amongi, to present a report on the Tororo border dispute to the House within two weeks.
This followed a heated debate on a statement presented to Parliament by Amongi, on the findings of the verification team that travelled to the United Kingdom to study maps bearing the contested boundaries in Tororo district.
“We should have respect for the people of Uganda. How can you keep people in suspense for 20 years? You went and collected maps that are not going to change. Why don’t you tell them what it is,” said Kadaga.
Amongi told the House that a team constituted by the President to travel to London was supposed to study post-colonial maps in a bid to establish where Tororo municipality boundaries pass.
“Upon return, the team reviewed the report and I asked the members to give me time to forward the preliminary report to the President for further guidance before we can bring it to this House,” said Amongi.
Members of Parliament, however, said that waiting any further would keep residents under pressure and continued disagreement, and thus there was need for urgent resolution of the border dispute.
“This issue of Tororo is a serious matter because it not only affects the people of Tororo but also the neighbours. Use your authority to tell the Lands Minister to present the map she got,” said Hon. Nandala Mafabi (FDC, Budadiri West).
Mukono South MP, Hon. Johnson Muyanja, said the Committee on Local Government and Public Service had received two maps with reference to 1947 boundary locations, but it decided to get better information from the team that travelled to London.
“If we cannot get the report, can we get the map from the Minister who went to London so that we compare with the maps that were brought to us (Committee) so that we establish the genuine one,” Muyanja added.
The creation of a new district in Tororo in 2005 created administrative challenges regarding the establishment of district headquarters, according to Hon. Marksons Jacob Oboth (IND, West Budama County South), who attributed the impasse to overtime evolution of boundaries, counties and sub-counties.
Kadaga alluded to Article 190 of the Constitution that gave Parliament the power of the High Court to compel Government on the production of documents.
“We are giving you a fortnight and if you fail, the Committee on Public Service will compel you to produce those documents,” Kadaga told the Minister.
The impasse over land boundaries stems from 1998 tensions where residents of Tororo County requested President Yoweri Museveni through the then area MP, Paul Etyang, for their own district saying they were being marginalized.