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Religious Leaders in Tooro Petition Local Gov't Minister Over Fort Portal City Boundaries

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.