OPM restores hope in Maracha fire victims, donates food relief to affected families
Maracha – Office of the Prime Minister, through the Ministry of Disaster and Preparedness, has donated food and none food items to people who have lost their houses and in a mysterious fire in Maracha district.
Maracha Member of Parliament, Hon. Ayaka Rose Atima, who lobbied on behalf of the affected community, delivered the items on Friday.
The consignment include 30 bags of Maize flour, 15 bags of beans 100 pieces of blanket and 250 pieces of tarpaulins.
Hon. Ayaka, citing the numerous hardship Uganda is going through, says it wasn’t easy to get assistance for about 88 households in Rikabu village, Robu parish of Kijomoro Sub county, Maracha district, whose property was destroyed in a mysterious fire outbreak.
The multiple challenges, Hon. Ayaka talks of include COVID-19 pandemic, circumventing the country.
“We are in hard time of COVID-19 pandemic which used to be in China but now it’s around us. Though Uganda’s performance is fairly well, know that there are other difficulty situations like the floods, the desert locusts and landslides, that we should persevere” she lists.
Adding that some parts of the country are experiencing dry spell and others run out of food.
” I received information from Kijomoro LC 3 Chairperson and the Sub County Chief about the suffering population. That the victims lost their houses with everything including goats and are in dire situations” the MP states.
She discloses that the sub county Chief compiled a report through the district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) which she took to the minister of Disaster preparedness.
“The minister for disaster preparedness was busy and I went to the Prime minster who issued a note that brought to disaster minister again” Hon. Ayaka relates the tediousness of the process she went through for the letter to be considered.
According to Hon. Ayaka, she succeeded inspite of the high demands on the ministry for assistance for the needy.
Hon. Ayaka tasks the local leaders to investigate the cause of the fire and bring the matter to an end.
“I request you the local leaders to resolve this matter. We should find a solution. We should investigate and end the suffering of the people” she stresses.
She urges the Sub county authorities to allocate a day for distribution of the items to the beneficiaries immediately as the people are dire need of assistance.
Attributing the success to her subscription to the ruling government, Hon. Ayaka vows never to quit nor rebel against the National Resistance Movement party.
Kijomoro Sub County Chief, Mr. Edoni Francis expresses relief of constant queries from the fire victims on why he had conducted assessment at the village.
Mr. Edoni notifies those present, to send the right message to public without confusing the donation for the fire victims in Rikabu Village with COVID-19 relief which is being distributed in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
“Proper message should be send to the public. They should not misconceive it to be COVID-19 relief for the entire Kijomoro Sub county but assistance to the people of Rikabu Village whose lives have been devastated by mysterious fire outbreaks since March, last year” the Chief emphasises.
Lamenting of how miserable the fire victims have been spending sleepless nights in the in the open, the LC 3 Chairperson for Kijomoro, Mr. Matua William reveals that some four house got burnt on Thursday.
“If you see how the people have been sleeping, its bad. I’m happy of the tarpaulins, some people lost all houses in their compounds and have nowhere to sleep even during this rainy season. Some four houses caught fire yesterday” the sub county chairperson exclaims.
Overwhelming with excitement, Mr. Jimmy Andrua, the area Local Council (LC) one chairperson for Rikabu village, was speechless over the donation. Dominating his speech with none verbal gestures, lasting less than three minutes, Andrua only says divorce had ruled the village as women flee their husbands in fear of the fire outbreaks.
“Since I was born, I had never seen such assistance. We were desperate, not sure to get help from anywhere. At least if the was video coverage I would go to show my people to watch. If I go home to tell the people that there is food for them, they will dance the whole night due to happinesses despite the COVID-19 curfew. Since the time the fire started, men do not sleep with their wives. Some women have also left their marital homes due to fear of fire” the village boss discloses.
GENESIS OF THE MYSTERIOUS ARSON
Many residents of Rikabu village, Robu Parish in Kijomoro Sub county of Maracha district attribute the mysterious fire, starting in March last year, to works of evil spirits.
Amidst COVID-19 lockdown and curfew, the invisible forces have continued to wage havoc in the area.
According to a 46 year old Angujabo Julius, the mystery started in Fitina where houses caught fire. At first people thought it was only between the Rikabu and Ayiko clans but later it spread to Yivu and Ocaka clans in the same village.
“All the houses in that home burnt to ashes. Later it started selecting homes” he says.
Mr. Angujabo narrates that the community suspects some individual who were expelled over allegation of seeking powers of water spirits, referred to as “mazi” to get wealth.
A practice, common in West African countries that has since spread to Democratic Republic of Congo, the wealth seekers are said to be enlisting relatives to evil spirits in water and in return, as those whose names are in the list begin to die, the practitioners start getting riches from nowhere.
The second suspected cause of the invisible force was allegedly pinned to family of over 40 people, expelled over killing of member of a clan where their grand father had settled.
“When they attempted to return to their ancestral home in Rikabu, people had already grabbed and occupied their land, forcing the family to relocate to a distant trading centre” Mr. Angujabo narrates.
He intimates that attempts by elders to reconcile with the suspected in the wild fire outbreaks has failed due to difficulty in approaching them.
“It became difficult to call those suspected to come yet their exit from this village involved death” he notes.
Options to use religious exorcists to disable the evil powers did not bear fruits as attempts to convene meetings only increase the rate of house burning.
” Charismatic Renewal group was invited for a meeting to schedule prayers but each time they come, more houses would catch fire” Angujabo discloses.
Mr. Candia Richard is the third victim of the mysterious fire.
He says a catechist was the first culprit, losing four houses in a night.
“An elderly woman, Mrs. Esteri followed suit after the catechist before In lost my own” he says.
According to Candia, the wild fire became a routine occurrence in the village with 2-4 houses coining aflame after evert three days.
“Now you can see thatched houses are getting finished in the village” he laments.
An 80 year old Omgbutua Yovan, conquers with the community who believe their troubles originate from the expelled clan members.
“This happens because of sending some people away. Similar thing once happened in Aliba in Ayivu County. Even iron roofed houses got burnt until they resolved it” the old man notes.
He says, in the Case of Rikabu, the invisible arsonist comes in different forms in the wee hours of the night to set the houses ablaze.
“At times it comes on motorcycle but several times our boys laid an ambush but there was nobody atop the motor bike” Omgbutua intimates to Red Pepper digital.
He notes the arsonist also coming in form of a pig, wild beast, glow warm and even striking like lightening” the old man explains the various forms the mysterious arsonist uses.
The wonders that defeat the understanding of the community is that the arsonist is never detected by security officers on duty implementing presidential directive on curfew.
He says six people were expelled but as the went out without any complaint, one was bitter.
The elderly man believes one of the expelled members of the village is responsible for the invisible fire that has rendered over 400 people from 88 households, homeless.