Locals in northern Uganda have slammed calls by some Members of Parliament from the region to secede from Uganda.
Some legislators from northern Uganda on Wednesday announced that they were collecting signatures with the aim of seceding from Uganda to form a separate country, the Nile State.
The MPs led by Beatrice Anywar, the Kitgum Woman MP announced that Nile State would comprise Acholi, Teso and Lango.
But in Gulu, the business hub of northern Uganda, the news has attracted angry reactions from members of the public.
Callers who called in to different radio stations on Thursday accused the MPs of not consulting them before making the pronouncement. Others were bitter that the MPs are being diversionary because the core need of the people in northern Uganda is lack of service delivery not seceding.
Obita Ojok, a 60 year old opinion leader from Gulu town, questioned the motives of the MPs in bringing up an issue that they have not consulted their electorates about. Obita says he was shocked to hear on radio that the MPs are collecting signatures to form a country to be called Nile State. He says prior to the MPs’ comments he had never heard of anything like Nile Republic.
George Labeja, the Mayor of Gulu Municipality, says the proponents of the secession are people who are after self aggrandizement. Labeja says the major issue now for the people in northern Uganda is the recovery after more than two decades of war not breaking away from the rest of Uganda.
Moses Ookonyero, a Gulu based journalist described the agitators as jokers. He wonders why the agitators would begin collecting signatures from Kampala instead of their constituents.
But not everyone is opposed to the idea.
Peter Owiny, a resident of Gulu is in favor of the secession and wishes that it happens soon.
According to Owiny, who is 69, the current NRM government has allegedly alienated the north from development to the extent that only secession will help the region. He cites the poor road network in the area and an unequal distribution of the national cake.
He however advises that the breakaway should be in a peaceful manner.