Residents Block Commissioning of Water Project

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In short
The borehole, worth 571 million shillings was undertaken with funding under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan-PRDP.

There was drama in Gweri Sub County in Soroti district on Wednesday this week after angry residents blocked the hand over ceremony of a newly built piped water project. The project, worth 571 million shillings was undertaken with funding under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan-PRDP. The hand over ceremony was scheduled for Wednesday but it was blocked by residents. Armed with machetes, bows, spears and arrows, the residents pitched camp at the site of the water project in Angopet village that was meant for commissioning.
 
They also blocked the road leading to the site with heavy logs and stones to prevent any district officials from accessing the venue. It all started after the district council passed a resolution to close a borehole and use it to pump water to Gweri health center 3 and Gweri sub county headquarters. This didn't go down well with residents, who decided to block the commissioning of the project. They selected about 20 energetic youths to guard the borehole all night and block district officials from accessing it.
 
George Michael Egunyu, the Soroti LC V chairperson told URN that he had a nasty experience when he went to Gweri Sub county two weeks ago and was chased away by residents accusing him of attempting to grab their borehole. Egunyu says he is disappointed by the manner in which he and his team were humiliated by residents.

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Attempts by the district officials to plead with the residents to allow them commission the borehole were futile forcing them to abandon the program. The residents claim that the borehole in question serves more than 500 households. Michael Otogol, a resident of Angopet village says that they will only allow the district to turn the borehole into a pump station after sinking for them another borehole.
 
Otogol says that the borehole in question was drilled in 2004 using Local Government Development Program-LGDP. He notes that once the borehole is residents will have to trek three kilometers in search of water. Julius Ekudo, the LC 3 chairperson of Gweri Sub County claims there are some politicians inciting residents to reject the project.
 
Gweri sub-county has 53 villages with a population of 67,000. There are 60 boreholes but only 30 of are fully functional. Charles Aisu, the chairperson L.C.1 Angopet village says that they will not compromise with the district unless their conditions are meant. He says boreholes in the sub county pump inadequate water because of a low water table.

 

About the author

Salume Among
Salume Among is the Mbale URN bureau chief. Among has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Among started her career in 2000 as a freelance writer for Etop newspaper before starting to write for its mother paper, The New Vision. She also wrote for the Vision Group's XFM radio station from 2008 until she left to join URN.

Among has a keen interest in local politics having been a youth representative in the Soroti variously between 1996 and 2010. Among also regularly reports on health, education, the environment and sports.