A new trend of street
dwellers is emerging in Soroti Municipality with adults pouring onto the
streets. The adults that seem to be preoccupied during day scavenge the streets
throughout the night looking for food and accommodation.
Thanks to businesses
that operate through the night, a good number mixes with night revelers around
Town Talks-Opposite Pioneer Primary School and along the main streets where
Kampala bound Buses Park.
Others spend nights
around business hubs along Serere, Lira and Moroto roads; in corridors and
Public Gardens. Some of the street dwellers camp around Boda- boda stages
building friendship with cyclists who give them their bikes to ride after
developing a little trust.
One of the street
dwellers identified as Ochen has been in Soroti town for the last seven months.
The 19- year-old has neither a house to return to nor any genuine work to earn money
for survival. Ochen, who requested to remain anonymous, says he is better off in town than
his village with his relatives.
“I resorted to town after losing all my
parents in the villages under mysterious circumstances. My relatives have been
so rude to us and their major interest is land. As far as I’m concerned, I
will, God willing, return to that village when I have the ability to protect
myself fully”, the teary town dweller said.
URN found two girls at Kakise Bus offices from Napak district. They were on
their way to Jinja but had run out of transport fare. The girls, who only
identified themselves as Nakiru and Nangiro, said that they were looking for work
to help raise transport to their destination.
“We boarded from Matany to this place but we cannot continue because the money we
had wasn’t enough for our journey”, they said. When asked why they resorted to
a journey without enough cash, the duo said it was the only opportunity to
escape from their village since security is tight on movements outside
Residents are worried that the new entrants might pose a security threat to
businesses and peace in the municipality. Moses Okalany, a resident of Soroti
Municipality, says some of the street dwellers are drug addicts and are
involved in crimes like thefts.
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Michael Odongo, the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman wants government to
find a comprehensive rehabilitation program to help settle people from the
streets. He notes that as police, they have conducted several operations to
round up street children but are challenged with their custody and prosecution
since some are teens.
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Paul Omer, the Mayor Soroti Municipality says they are doing their best to
ensure that the issue of children on the streets is handled and addressed
“If they are on the streets without causing havoc, we will have no problem
because people want to be in town but the moment they engage in criminal
activities, we shall deal with them”, he said on phone.
Last year, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development secured Shillings 3.4
billion to help address the issues of street children but local government
leaders claim that the money isn’t enough to resettle the children.