Ntungamo district council has passed a resolution demanding that it should be divided into two more districts.
This means that each of the three counties making up the district–Ruhaama, Rushenyi and Kajara– could become an independent district.
The resolution was passed by the district council on Thursday. Nicholas Twikirize Mugyenyi, a youth councillor, moved the motion. He argued that the creation of more districts will bring services closer to the people and create more jobs.
When probed on who was agitating for division of the district, Twikirize said the idea came from Ruhaama county but after consulting councillors from Kajara and Rushenyi, they too said they would love to have their districts.
The district was carved out of Mbarara district in 1993 as part of decentralisation policy adopted by the Uganda government in 1992, which sought to strengthen local government units. It borders Rwanda and Tanzania in the south, Kabale, Rukungiri, Sheema, Isingiro and Mbarara districts.
The district is home to first lady Janet Museveni who represented Ruhaama county in parliament from 2006 to 2016. President Museveni’s father late Amos Kaguta lived in Ruhaama before migrating to Kiruhura in the 1960s.
The 2014 Uganda population census put the population of Ntungamo at 483,841 people. Last year, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated that its population had increased to 500,400 people, occupying 843 square miles of land.
Francis Twesigye, the Ruhaama sub-county chairperson, said it would be prudent to also grant Rushenyi and Kajara counties a district status each since Ntungamo district headquarters are located in Ruhaama county.
“They (Rushenyi and Kajara) should also become districts. Let them do their work and we also do our work,” he said. Twesigye argues that Ruhaama county deserves a district status because it is made up of nine sub-counties.
“For instance, look at Rukiga district; it is made up of four sub-counties and it’s a district. We have nine sub-counties and we don’t have a district,” he says in reference to the newly created Rukiga district which started operations early this month, after being carved out of Kabale in 2015.
Some councillors, however, opposed the motion. For instance, Kibatsi sub-county councillor Ezekiel Nagaba Muheebwa says he does not support the idea of Kajara becoming a district.
He argues that it’s opportunists who want to occupy political offices who are craving division of Ntungamo. He argues that bringing services closer to the people does not mean that a district headquarters should be closer to them.
In 2015, parliament created 23 new districts, to be operationalised in phases, which will bring the number of districts in Uganda to 135 by July 2019.