President Yoweri Museveni allegedly agreed to a proposal to give a national park district status, according to Kasese LCV chairperson, Sibendire Bigogo Geoffrey Thembo.
The accusation comes shortly after Museveni agreed to a proposal to have Kasese split into four different districts of Bwera, Hima, Kasese and Katwe.
“I agree with the split of Kasese district because the district, with over a million people, cannot provide everyone with service delivery, decentralisation removes friction based on sectarianism,” said Museveni during the meeting which ended on Wednesday night.
Katwe to become district
According to Bigogo, Katwe doesn’t deserve a district status because it has a population of less than 50,000 people.
Katwe is found in south western Uganda in Kasese district and is surrounded by Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Katwe Kabatoro has a population of 6,000 people.
It is mainly dominated by geographical features which consist of ancient hard volcanic rocks and gentle slopes with explosive crater lakes and a rift valley.
Its main feature, Lake Katwe is a traditional salt mining lake formed through volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago.
The local community extract rock salt from the main lake to the landing area where it is dried for sales.
Now known as Katwe Kabatooro Urban Council, the township has a total perimeter of 163 kilometers.
Katwe trading Centre is the main town.
Rwenjubu, Kyarukara and Kyakitale are the names of the wards. Each parishes comprise two cells (Sub-parishes).
It is inhabited by Bakonzo, Basongora and Banyabindi – including a few constitutional ethnic groups of tribes known Barondo, Bakingwe, Bagabo and Bahunde.
The whole [to be district] has three kindergartens, four primary schools, one secondary school, two tertiary Institutions.
It has one health centre 3, not well equipped amid serious health problems include AIDS, drug abuse and drunkenness.
It has two lodges in total; Hippo Hill Camp-Katwe and Mweya Safari Lodge.
Many people trade salt, fish and agricultural products or do retail business and cattle grazing.
Ugandan districts the lowest population atleast have over 10,000 people i.e; Buvuma [42,483], Kalangala [34,766], Bukwa [48,952] and Nwoya [41,010].
In his criticism, Bigogo attacked “a number of falsehoods in the post” by Hon Kafuda Boaz, former Busongola South MP, who said the population of Kasese is over one million people.
Bigogo said, firstly, Kasese district population is not over one million people.
“Secondly, parliament has never recommended the split of Kasese district.”
However, in 2014 a parliamentary committee report was presented with recommendations, that Cabinet should create more districts after the population census of 2014, starting with the large districts of Kasese, Kibaale, Wakiso, Arua and Kabale, which was approved by Parliament.
“In my view,” notes Bigogo, “development of an area cannot be tagged to creation of a district”.
He said Kalangala district local government does not plant palm oil nor did it fund the solar power project.
“This district has existed for many years but no part of that district is better than any subcounty in Kasese district in terms of development.”
He belittled Museveni’s claim that he is against nepotism.
“Is this reflected in creation a national park district for less than 50,000 people?”
During the state house meeting, the parties agreed that the move is for the benefit of all as it would address the issue of ethnic minorities, improve on service delivery and security and also improve on the supervision and monitoring of the Operation Wealth Creation project.
“Thirdly, a fountain of honour should respect leaders under him. Why would he talk to a group that is not in charge of the district to make such declarations?” Bigogo wondered.
Bigogo insists this is known the fight against the kingdom and ensuring that a section of people do not enjoy the revenues from the oil resources.
“The bakonjo have hosted people from time immemorial. God is looking on.”