MBALE – Residents of Kapchorwa municipality reacted differently following spontaneous decision to name a street after the first son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
The former Commandant of Land Forces visited Kapchorwa on January 21, 2023 as part of his country-wide tours – purportedly targeting to promote the MK project. And during the visit, the Municipal Works Committee chair, Dickson Musani took advantage of the situation to advance his political agenda – naming the 1.6km-stretch – leading to Kapchorwa primary school and Barawa ward – Kainerugaba Road.
Micheal Kusuro – the west division councillor backed Musana on decision – saying the opportunity was too juicy to be resisted – the reason the due process wasn’t followed.
“We thought wise to name the road after Kainerugaba so that he can tarmac it, which he agreed – I believe no councillor denies such developmental opportunities no matter how it came,” he said – adding that there was a need for councillors to understand, and minute it for purposes of formalising it as one of the streets in the municipality.
“Gen Kaineruga, will not even use this road often but it’s us the community – so why complain? He reasoned.
Bush Arapta – the Speaker of Kapchorwa Municipality claimed that the abrupt naming of the street was an opportunity to tap from Gen Kainuragaba during his visit.
“Which leader doesn’t cherish a developmental opportunity that has come (their way) if others are complaining, then they need to be lectured on how resources are lobbied,” he said.
But some of the residents insist that it was unbecoming for the leaders to take such a decision without a council minute.
Alex Bosco Chericha – an opinion leader in Sebei, asserted that naming roads after a person demands legacy and great contributions by that person in that respective community.
According to Chericha, the decision to name the road after Gen Kainerugaba was an oversight on the side of whoever was involved.
Brian Mande, the Chepsukuroi ward Male youth councillor noted that it was improper for a few individuals to decide for the majority. He said plans were underway to move a motion to reverse the decision until it’s passed through the council.
“What people should know is that the name given to that road is not recognised by the council,” said Mande.
Silas Chemonges – the Kaplelko ward councillor, said the naming of the road was sign of negligence in abiding by the rules of procedure by some of the municipal council leaders.
“I represent the people and if I was not informed about such a development, meaning the name given to that road is not genuine,” said Chemonges.
Isaac Cherop, the Kween ward councillor wants the mayor to explain to the people the criteria for naming a road after an individual without consultations. Peter Kamuron, an Elder said the decision to name a road after Kainerugaba was a disgrace to the elders and a sign of poor leadership in the municipality.
“They should have come and consulted some elders who contributed to the prior naming of some of the streets in Kapchorwa,” said Kamuron – reasoning further that there was a need for the Sebei Cultural institution to lead in the naming of the streets to avoid such mistakes.
The Mayor of Kapchorwa Municipality, Andrew Timothy couldn’t be reached for comment district LCV boss, Everline Chebet Kubarika said her leadership wasn’t party to the inner details of Gen Muhoozi visit.
“I was just an invited guest – but the entire planning process was done by the municipality,” she said.
Kapchorwa Municipality has over five roads named after different individuals – including Moi, Toskin, Chewere, Kenyatta, and Chemonges road. And according to the elders, the roads were named in recognition of individuals who played significant roles in the development of the Sebei. For Instance, Chemonges street was named after the late Yovan Chemonges Kingo, who advocated for the Independence of Sebei from Bugisu in the early 1960s. He staged a demonstration and blocked the Border between Sebei county by then and Bugisu, which were under Mbale district.
Chewere Road was named after the renowned Sebei chief Francis Chewerei who was a part of the cessation of Sebei from Bugisu. It’s believed that Chewerei harboured over 200 youth before staging the cessation demonstration.