The district council of ethnically volatile Kibaale agreed on September 20 to split the western Uganda district into three to calm tensions and foster political harmony.
Much as the district chairman, George William Namyaka, told the council that the creation of new districts, constituencies and sub-counties was meant to take services closer to the people, political observers say the Kibaale move is an attempt to create enough political space for immigrant settlers commonly referred to as ‘Bafuruki’ alongside the indigenous Banyoro.
Nine year dispute
Since 2001, both Banyoro and Bafuruki have been embroiled in a bitter conflict over elective positions in the district.
In last week’s district council meeting, Namyaka moved a motion to create Kagadi and Kakumiro districts. Namyaka argued that this would improve and take services nearer to the people.
“I beg to move that council approves the long overdue split of Kibaale district into Kagadi, Kibaale and Kakumiro districts for effective service delivery and taking services nearer to our people” Namyaka said.
In March this year, Kibaale district council voted to create two new constituencies, 13 sub-counties and five town councils. The constituencies were immediately approved by Parliament, while the sub-counties were also approved by the Local Government minister.
However, the town councils are yet to be approved. Namyaka said this creation of new constituencies and sub-counties helped Kibaale hold peaceful NRM primary elections for the first time since tribal clashes began a decade ago.
“The creation of Kagadi and Kakumiro districts, together with the creation of new constituencies and sub-counties, will further entrench and cement peaceful coexistence of the different tribes in Kibaale and prevent further ethnic clashes,” Namyaka said.
His motion was unanimously passed by the council without any serious debate.
“The creation of two more districts will reduce on competition on the existing political positions, facilitate development and create employment opportunities,” Namyaka added.
The new districts await approval by Parliament. The newly created districts, constituencies and sub-counties are expected to employ about 600 civil servants and create over 100 political posts.
Kibaale district now has 33 sub-counties and five constituencies up from 18 sub-counties and three constituencies. The council also approved the creation of over 40 parishes in Kibaale.