By Andrew Irumba
A very bitter row is raging on between politicians and religious leaders in Tooro Sub-region under their Inter-Religous Council of Tooro, over the boundaries of the recently created Fort Portal Tourism City, that they fought so hard to realize.
The disagreement, according to our sources within Tooro, arose from the boundaries of the new Fort Portal Tourism City, whereby although politicians have their own demarcations of the city, the Inter-Religious Council in Tooro, specifically the Anglican Church of Uganda and the Catholic Church, also have their own demarcations, which they want the government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Local Government, to adopt. In other words, after the politicians leading the struggle to attain the City, it’s time for the religious leaders now to ‘lead’ their sheep.
As a result of this impasse, the Inter-Religious Council, led by Rt.Rev. Kisembo B. Reuben, Bishop of Rwenzori and Chairperson (IRCU, Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Muhiirwa, Bishop Fort Portal Catholic Diocese and Deputy Chairperson (IRCU), among others, has since petitioned the Minister for Local Government Raphael Magyezi, informing them of their stand, and in their petition, the clergy made it expressly clear that they are not ready to bend to the whims of the politicians and that government ought to adopt the demarcations illustrated in the map for Fort Portal Tourism City, which was drafted after consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
The petition from the Inter-Religious Council dated July 23rd, 2020, reads in part thus;
“INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF UGANDA TOORO REGION FORT PORTAL, UGANDA.
To: Hon. Raphael Magyezi
The Minister of Local Government
Dear Honourable Minister,
RE: BOUNDARIES OF FORT PORTAL TOURISM CITY
We greet you and thank you for the services you are rendering to our nation. We thank Hon. Alex Ruhunda Member of Parliament Fort Portal, who came with a Vision to transform Fort Portal Municipality into a Tourism City.
We thank The President – HE: Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament who approved starting of Cities in Uganda including Fort Portal Tourism City in this Financial Year of 2020-2021.
We thank you for coming personally to inaugurate our Tourism City on 2nd, July 2020.
Senior Religious leaders under their Association of Inter-Religious Council of Uganda-” Tooro Region in their meeting which sat on July 16th, 2020 at Kahunga-Bunyoyi in Fort Portal, discussed different issues concerning the upcoming Tourism City.
We had planned to write to your office before the start of the City.
But one of us talked with you in Mbarara at the Consecration and enthronement of the new Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese, and you advised him that we first wait for the City to start and then we present our issue.
We took your advice, waited for the City to be inaugurated and flow we present to you the following issue:
Boundaries / Demarcations of Fort Portal Tourism City:
Members received reliable information from the public domain that there are communications which your office has received regarding this matter.
Members got a copy of a letter written by the Town Clerk Fort Portal Municipal Council to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government dated 27, February 2019 and was received in the Ministry Registry on 12, May 2019, providing information on the Proposed Fort Portal City which information included demarcations as resolved by the Fort Portal Municipal Council Meeting and Stakeholders’ meeting which sat at Tooro Resort on 10th October 2017 after several months of consultations with the people of Kabarole District and Fort Portal Municipality about the creation of Fort Portal City and its boundaries/demarcations. The Stakeholders in the 10th October meeting included; Members of Parliament from Kabarole Municipality and Fort Portal Municipality, the Mayor and Councillors of FP MC, the Chairperson LC 5 and Councilors from Kabarole District, Officials from the Ministry of Local Government, elders/ opinion leaders, religious leaders, media and the general public.”
Fort Portal City Boundaries
According to the religious leaders, they want Fort Portal Tourism City divided into two divisions, that is; Central Division and North Division.
In their petition, the Inter-Religious Council wants Central Division to include the area currently under the East and South Division of Fort Portal Municipality which include Ibaale Parish of Busoro Sub-county and the Parishes of Rubingo, Karambi and Gweri, all in Karambi Sub-County, Kabarole District.
When it comes to North Division, the clergy want it to take up the area currently under the West Division of Fort Portal Municipality, Butebe Parish in Karambi Sub-county, Karago, Kiguma and Nyakitojo parishes of Bukuuku Sub-county, Ibonde, Karago and Kitarasa wards all in Karago Town Council, Kabarole District.
The clergy also contend in their petition to Minister Magyezi that “Any other individual or group pf people with demarcations/boundaries deviating from the above described boundaries/demarcations as debated and passed by the Fort Portal Municipal Council and other stakeholders described above are unacceptable and in contempt of the people pf Tooro and Fort Portal Tourism City and therefore should be disregarded because they want to reverse what was formally and legally resolved by relevant statutory organs and stakeholders.”
However, despite the fact that the religious leaders submitted the petition with a proposed map of the Fort Portal Tourism City, Minister Magyezi is yet to give them a reply, because the political group has their own different demarcations, which have to be brought into tandem with those of the Inter-Religious Council
Watch the space for details!