District Leaders Want West Nile Border Disputes Resolved Before Census

1687 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
District chairpersons from West Nile have petitioned government to resolve the numerous border disputes between districts in the region before the national census to avoid confusion.

District chairpersons from West Nile have petitioned government to resolve the numerous border disputes between districts in the region before the national census to avoid confusion.

The decision of the district leaders was contained in their New Year message to restore hope for the residents who have faced attacks over the long standing border disputes. Government plans to conduct national census in August, more than a year after it was postponed in mid 2011 due to lack of funds.

But in West Nile, the exercise comes at a time different districts are engulfed in border disputes. Arua and Yumbe are fighting over Ewanga area which is suspected to have oil; Yumbe is also fighting with Moyo over Itula Sub County; while Moyo is having another dispute with South Sudan over Wano area in Moyo Sub County.

Other disputes pit Adjumani district against Amuru district and Yumbe against Koboko over Ludara Sub County.
Led by Yassin Taban, the Yumbe district chairperson, the leaders say if the border disputes are not resolved they would continue to fuel ethnic fights amongst the locals and affect the census exercise.

Taban, who is also the chairperson of MAYANK, a loose organisation formed by LC 5 chairpersons in the region to lobby for development, says in several forums they have informed government about the border issues but there has been no response.

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Arua LC 5 chairperson Wadri Sam Nyakua on his part blamed some of the border disputes on the government ministers responsible, noting that when they are informed they fail to take action as expected. He particularly cited Adolf Mwesige, the minister for local government.

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Moyo LC 5 chairperson Jimmy Vukoni expressed concern over the delay by government to resolve the border conflict between the district and South Sudan authorities in Kijokeji, where his people have on several occasions been harassed and sometimes even arrested.

The residents in disputed areas have welcomed the petition saying the border disputes have always denied them government services such as health, education and roads. Weborn Bayo, a resident of Ewanga Parish in Arua district, says the border dispute has left them confused over where they belong because at one time it is Yumbe claiming and yet they know they belong to Arua district.

Joseph Acidri, another resident from Itula Sub County in Moyo, says they live in fear because anytime they can be attacked. He says the border dispute has also affected their farming activities. He appealed to government to address the border problems.


About the author

Ronald Batre
Ronald Batre is so passionate about journalism that he did not wait to finish school before he started his career. This is how he started with Radio Paidha, The West Niler, Daily Monitor newspapers and later with Radio Pacis as Assistant News Editor.

To be allowed to practice his passion, Batre had struck a deal with his parents. He would complete his education. He kept his word and went through school while suporting himself with his journalism.

Entering the workplace so young attuned Batre to the plight of the youth and those who seek employment. Apart from that, he is interested in reporting about politics, local government, business and the environment. A witness to some of the destructive impact of the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in northern Uganda, Batre is interested in reporting about peace building efforts too.

Uganda Radio Network's former Gulu bureau chief, Batre is now based in Kampala. He is URN's main politics correspondent. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.