According to the source, Opolot was pinned for refusing to deploy a joint force of police and UPDF at the proposed site of dam in Bulusambu village.
Jacob Opolot, the new Eastern Regional Police Commander is in trouble with his superiors over the violent clashes amongst residents over the proposed Bulusambu dam project in Mbale district. The Mbale District Security Committee that convened on Wednesday in the office of the Resident District Commissioner faulted Opolot for siding with residents opposed to the dam. A source that attended the meeting but declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter told URN that, Opolot was put on the spot for failing to execute some of the resolutions of the district security committee over the project. According to the source, Opolot was pinned for refusing to deploy a joint force of police and UPDF at the proposed site of dam in Bulusambu village.
Opolot was also reportedly faulted for failing to arrest six suspects including Alfred Namasa, the Busiu Sub county councilor who are sabotaging the dam. Namasa and his accomplices are accused of inciting violence amongst residents to oppose the dam. According to the source, Paul Nangoli, the Mbale RDC was particularly concerned on why Opolot failed to heed to his directive on the matter that is very sensitive to government. Opolot reportedly defended himself saying that he didn’t deploy fearing to cause anxiety amongst the already charged residents. He instead advised government to use diplomacy and dialogue with the residents through sensitizing them on the benefits of the dam as opposed to imposing it on them.
Opolot told URN on Thursday that he declined to deploy for fear of causing chaos amongst residents, many of whom are armed with machetes and spears. Tension is still high in Busiu and Busoba sub counties following reports that government plans to establish a military detach at the proposed site of the dam. More than 5, 000 residents especially from Busiu Sub County armed with Pangas, Spears, hoes and clubs have since Monday deployed at proposed site. They have vowed to spend sleepless night at the site to watch over their land.
The 55 billion shillings Bulusambu dam project is jointly funded by Royal Swedish Government, Royal Norwegian Government and World Bank. The dam is expected to serve Busiu, Bukiende, Lukhonge and Busoba sub counties in Mbale and parts of Manafwa district. It is one of the projects being implemented under the Nile Basin Initiative projects established specifically to focus on river Sio and Mpologoma basins that are shared between Kenya and Uganda.