March 26, 2013

Immigrants Worry District Leaders

The high number of immigrants in Kyenjonjo district has raised concern amongst residents and local leaders. Kyejonjo district is home to immigrants from Ankole and Kigezi in South Western Uganda, who occupy large chunks of government land. Statistics at the district planning department indicate that there are 8,500 immigrants in Kyenjonjo, with the majority in Bufunjo and Kyarusozi sub counties. However, the high number of immigrants has raised concern amongst local leaders and residents.

It follows the follows the arrest of four immigrants last weekend in connection to the murder of Mark Ahuura, a prominent businessman in Bufunjo trading centre. Gerald Tugume, the LC2 chairperson of Kibimba parish in Kyarusozi Sub County says the immigrants are brought at night in buses and are never screened by the local leaders.  He says that their presence in the area is causing concern among residents who don’t have any clue where they are coming from.

Robert Twine, a resident of Kyaruzosi trading centre says that whenever there are village meetings, the immigrants don’t attend which raises suspicion. He says that some residents feel uncomfortable living with people whom they don’t know. He wants security authorities to start registering the immigrants so that they are known to the residents and local leaders.  Francis Abigaba, the leader of the immigrants in Kyarusozi denies allegations that the immigrants are engaged in criminal acts. He also says that the relationship between the immigrants and the indigenous people is friendly.

Abigaba says that they have not registered with any authority five years since they arrived in the district. Rex Achilla, the Kyejonjo Resident District Commissioner blames the failure by his office to screen immigrants on lack of staff. He says that some places like Nyankwanzi and Kyarusozi don’t have GISOs who are supposed to register the immigrants. The immigrants have in the past been blamed for the rampant deforestation in Nyakwanzi, Bufunjo and Kyarusozi sub counties, where several hectares of forest cover have been cleared to pave way for human settlement.

In the 2011 general elections, there was ethnic tension in Mwenge North between the Bafumbira who supported David Muhumuza and the natives, who supported Col.Tom Butime, an independent candidate. Muhumuza emerged winner with 20,944 votes against Butiime’s 18,480.

In 2010, opinion leaders under the umbrella ‘Esazi lya Tooro’ (Tooro Elders Forum) from in Kyejonjo, Kabarole and Kyegegwa districts proposed the ring fencing of top elective positions like that of the MPS and LC5 chairpersons for the indigenous people as a solution to the ethnic problems.

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