According to the petition, the religious leaders argue that the approved boundaries are different from what the leaders and residents recommended, and should be changed forthwith.
Religious leaders say the current boundaries of the city are totally different from what the leaders and other stakeholders submitted to the Ministry of Local Government.
The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, Tooro chapter, has
petitioned the Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi over the boundaries
of Fort Portal Tourism City.
According to the petition, the religious leaders argue that the approved
boundaries are different from what the leaders and residents recommended, and should
be changed forthwith.
Fort Portal city, according to the map by the Ministry of Local Government,
comprises of North and Central divisions. North division is comprised of Karago
town council, Ibaale parish that was curved from Busoro Sub County, and Sub
Counties of Karambi and Bukuuku.
The central division is made up of the three divisions that formed Fort Portal
municipality and they are East, West and South.
But the leaders who include the Bishop of Fort Portal Diocese, Robert
Muhiirwa; the Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese, Reuben Kisembo; Rev Fr Romanos
Kusemererwa of Orthodox churches in Western Uganda, say the composition of these
divisions was done and submitted to the ministry by unscrupulous people that
they have not disclosed.
They note that when the city idea came up, the concerned stakeholders including
the Kabarole district and Fort Portal municipality leaders, area Members of
Parliament, opinion leaders, and members of the public, held a meeting in 2017,
to agree on areas that should be in the city.
According to the petition, the meeting, which followed wide consultations about
the matter, recommended that Central division be made up of East and South
divisions of Fort Portal municipality; Ibaale Parish of Busoro Sub County; and
parishes of Rubingo, Karambi and Gweri that are found in Karambi Sub County.
They also recommended that North division be comprised of West division of Fort
Portal municipality; Butebe parish in Karambi Sub-county; Karago, Kiguma and
Nyakitojo parishes of Bukuuku Sub-county; and Ibonde, Karago and Kitarasa wards
in Karago town council. These, they say, were in May 2019, submitted to
the Ministry of Local Government by the Fort Portal town clerk.
“Any other individual or group of people with demarcations of
boundaries deviating from the above-described boundaries as debated and passed
by Fort Portal municipal council and other stakeholders described above are
unacceptable and contempt of the people of Tooro and Fort Portal tourism city
and therefore should be disregarded because they want to reverse what was
formally and legally resolved by statutory organs and stakeholders,” reads part
of the petition.
The petitioners also argue that as senior religious leaders, they have a divine
mandate to guide society to ensure there are peace and harmony and also appeal
to individuals with personal interests to drop the vice because it can cause
antagonism and confusion in society.
“Honourable minister, let us hope that you will address the
boundary/demarcation issue of Fort Portal Tourism city with the seriousness it
deserves because we are the voice of the voiceless and represent the majority
of the people in the city,” further reads the petition.
The interim Mayor Fort Portal tourism city, Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga, says that
although the religious leaders have a right to raise their concern, it may be
too late to cause any change.
Muhanga explains that when they were making the recommendations, they very well
knew that the right to make the demarcation is with Parliament and the ministry
of local government.
Efforts to get a comment from Ministry of Local Government on how they came up
with the areas that make up the divisions have been futile as the minster's
phone was off at the time of filing the story.
Fort Portal tourism city became operational on July 1 alongside other cities
namely Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Masaka, Mbale and Arua after being approved by
Parliament in April.
Bureau Chief, Tooro Sub-Region