The newly created district of Kapelebyong risks returning sh1.2billion to the Government treasury due to a rift between the Chief Administrative Officer Nasser Mukiibi and the interim district council. The interim district council argues their term in office expired on January 20, 2019 and their hands are tied because the Government has not conducted the much needed elections.

“Most of the substantive district positions are not filled because we do not have elected leaders in office,” said the Chief Administration Officer, Nasser Mukiibi

Kaplebyong became a district when parliament approved it in July 2017 anticipating that by July 2018 elections would have been held and the district would be fully operational which has not been the case.

Todate the district awaits the election of its district leaders. According to the Esther Lucy Isipa, the sub-county Election Officer (SEO) Kapelebyong, the roadmap for the new district elections was developed long time ago, but the Commission awaits funds from the ministry of Finance to be able to conduct the Election.

Relatedly, a local citizen of Kapelebyong by the name Michael Omoji Ebwayi has dragged the Chief Administration Officer (CAO) Kapelebyong, Nasser Mukiibi. to court for continuing to operate with an interim district council whose term expired on 20th January 2019, without any communication from the Government.

The citizen contends that Mukiibi continues to facilitate the interim LCV chairman whose term expired on 20th January 2019. “The CAO should answer to the district councillors and the locals for such an anomaly,” reads the letter which this reporter saw. The CAO on the other hand says it is no fault of his own. “The Citizen who is suing me is not informed. He should be suing the Attorney General for lack of Elections and not the CAO,” said Mukiibi.

If the elections had been conducted, Kaplebyong district would have been well set on a journey to resolve some of the contentious issues in the district. Kapelebyong district is largely faced with the problem of land disputes, high school drop outs (70% for the 14-15 year olds), defilement, domestic violence, poor road and internet infrastructure and widespread poverty.

According to the district CAO, while some districts in Uganda are close to attaining a middle income status as per the Government vision 2020, Kapelebyong has not moved an inch to attaining that status because its only seven months old.

Mukiibi said: “We have a high levels of defilement, high school drop-out rates and early marriages as the factors affecting the education sector in the district.”

The over 150 participants in the community baraza demanded that the Government consider to conduct elections immediately to resolve the district leadership crisis.

One of the aspiring Local Council Five (LCV) chairperson, Richard Enyangu said: “The biggest problem the people of Kapelebyong face is the border conflict between Teso and Karamoja. Nobody knows the proper boundaries between the two regions., so if I am elected district chairperson I will work towards establishing the boundaries and ending the fierce conflicts between these two communities.”

William Alloch, another chairman LCV contender said: “the problem in Kapelebyong is the lack of clean water for drinking and home usage.”

Francis Akorikin cited the problem of poor roads and high school drop-out rates, plus early marriages as his priority issues to resolve should he assume office.

Winifred Adio an aspiring woman MP for Kaplebyong district, said if she is elected into leadership she would promote the education of the girl-child.

Kapelebyong district was curved out of Amuria district in Eastern Uganda. It became a district with effect from July 1st 2018 together with Kikuube, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, & Nabilatuk.

A female youth raises her issues on land disputes, teenage pregnancies and high school dropout rates during the community baraza and leadership debate in Kapelebyong on 14th Feb 2019.

The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative organised a community Baraza in the newly created district of Kapelebyong, today Thursday 14th, February 2019, to raise citizen consciousness on how to elect good district leaders and Members of Parliament. The potential LC5 candidates namely: Erwagu Simon, an Independent, Francis Akorikin - NRM, Stephen Eselu- FDC, William Alloch- an Independent, Richard Enyagu-an Independent and Tom Okello – an Independent and the local women Mps aspirants namely: Angela Arego , an independent, Gloria Ojakal- an Independent, Jacinta Atuto- NRM, Joyce Ajupo-   an independent, Florence Adupo – FDC, Regina Asio – independent but NRM leaning, Caro Eric Akello- independent but NRM leaning, Ketty Akol- UPC and Winifred Adio- UPC were given a chance to speak to the electorate and present their manifestos.

Kapelebyong District is found in the Teso Sub-Region of Eastern Uganda. The district has 5 sub counties( Obalanga, Acowa, Kapelebyong, Okungur, 29 Parishes and 220 villages.

The district has over 76 schools currently with 10 Nursery Schools, 59 Primary Schools, 7 Secondary Schools; with 5 government secondary schools, 41 primary, 1 seed school & 1 ECD Centre.

Majority of the people are farmers and mainly grow sweet potatoes, cassava, groundnuts & cotton.

On July 1, 2019, six other new districts namely; Obongi, Kazo, Rwampara, Kitagwenda, Madi- Okollo, Karenga and Lusot will be effected.

By Charity Ahimbisibwe

Senior Communications Officer