Mbale’s first female
mayor, Canon Janet Wesonga has spoken out against the omnipresent stench of rotting
Wesonga served as Mayor of Mbale between 1967 to 1971.
In retirement at
her country home in Bumaskiye, Janet Wesonga says she gets disturbed by the
near-constant presence of waste piling up on pavements and most places in a
town once known for its cleanliness.
////Cue In “One time I went to
the Central market......
are dumping things allover”////
Wesonga says during
her time and even immediately after she had left office Mbale flew in glory for
it has been dubbed the cleanest town in in Uganda and East Africa.
Looking back to her
times, Wesonga says many things seem to have gone wrong in the administration of
the municipality which was recently elevated to city status.
She reveals that
key to the delivery of services was cooperation between the political wing with
the technical persons.
/// Cue in “I didn’t
have hard time....
Cue Out ....
report to the council in the evening”///
Wesonga says unlike
now, the previous mayors of the towns were appointed and vested with powers to
ensure that services are delivered.
//// Cue in “It is
Cue Out.... by that
time, we pick the good people”
appointed Mayor in 1967 to 1971. Out of the 21 councilors who were in the Mbale
council then, Wesonga was the only woman and the rest were men.
She had served as a
counselor at the district council from 1960 to 1964. Janet Wesonga she was the
only female on the council of 24 councilors.
With four years’
experience as a counselor, she was one of the councilors from whom new
councilors would consult.
She in an interview
said her appointment as the mayor Mbale came as surprise having learnt of it
from over radio with the then then town clerk Peter Otai congratulating her
upon becoming the first black female mayor in Uganda.
/// Cue in “I was amazed......
Cue Out.... I didn’t
have hard time at all“////
During her regime,
Mbale town council set up a home for the needy on Kumi road near the referral
hospital where all homeless people were accommodated and beggars were only
allowed on the streets on Fridays.
Hakim Watenyeli, a senior resident of Mbale city said that then when Wesonga
was the Mayor, the people had the heart of their country, believed in good
leadership and they were committed to live in good living conditions unlike
He said that Mbale can only regain its lost glory, only if sanity returns
within the leadership of the city and they stop swindling public funds.
//Cue in: “That time the people…
Cue out:….hard working person ”//
Janet Wesonga was succeeded
by Naome Nora Aryada after the later former President Iddi Amin Dada took
Who is Janet Cannon
She was born in 1928 to her Daniel Tingu and Ruth Tingu in Sakia village,
Bupoto Sub-county in present day Namisindwa district.
She was the age of four placed
under the missionary church at Nabumali where she started nursery education at
Nabumali boarding school.
J.4, she was advised to join the teaching profession. She was admitted at
Buloba Teachers’ College.
On completion, Janet
Wesonga deployed to Kabwangasi Primary Teacher’s College. The college had a boarding
primary school which she headed for some time before she was promoted to a
tutor at Kabwangasi Primary Teacher’s College.
In 1959, she relocated to Mbale town council. At the time, the colonial
administrators asked for the nomination female councilor to the council.
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.