By Candia Stephen
Arua-The state minister for finance and general duties and Member of Parliament for Vurra County Engineer Gabriel Ajedra Aridru has said he is now fully empowered to demand for district for his constituency after the locals okayed the removal of the age limit from the constitution.
While concluding his consultations in the four Sub Counties at Vurra on Saturday, Aridru said he is happy that the people have said yes to the constitutional amendment, but strongly demand that President Museveni considers granting Vurra a district status before the general elections of 2021.
“My people have spoken on the removal of the presidential age limit and overall statistics show 80-percent are in support of its removal, My task now is to ensure that I deliver their demand to the President to give them a district,” Aridru said.
The demand also comes amidst that from Madi-Okollo and Terego who also want district. The operationalization of the two Counties into a district has not been effected.
The Minister added that since the NRA-M took over power in 1986, the people of Vurra have historically supported it but have never been considered for autonomous local governance, noting that this consultation now offers an opportunity for the people to have their share of a district status.
A supporter of the Age Limit amendment speaking at the consultations. Photos by Candia Stephen.
According to the overall statistics, of the 500-people who turned up for the consultations in Arivu Sub County, said yes to the amendment with eight opposed. In Ajia Sub County, of the 580 that turned up, 61-percent okayed the amendment, while the 22 percent said no and 17 percent abstained; in Logiri, out of 800-people 84 percent supported the amendment and Vurra Sub County which had 610 people, gave a 91-percent support for the amendment.
Although the opposition has questioned the criteria of consultations being done by NRM MPs where a few selected people are consulted. This, they said compromises the credibility of the voices obtained from the consultations.
Luigi Okua, a retired civil servant and opinion leader from Vurra Sub County in an overview to the gathering argued that being 75 years does not necessarily make one less powerful to lead a country.
Meanwhile Steven Anguandia, a PWD said if the previous governments cared like the current NRM, he would not have suffered the physical disability he is embroiled in while Joyce Tiko an elderly woman from the same Sub County says the peace the women have enjoyed over the years is a reason enough to amend the constitution.
However Pariyo Anguyo, the district councilor for Vurra had no kind words for the advocates of the constitutional amendment, saying the age caps were put in the supreme law to get rid of leaders who do not want to leave power.
Councilr Anguyo Pariyo, who is opposed to amendment speaking during the consultation.
“Why do they want to temper with what has not been tested by the people who wrote it? We want the constitution to remain as its,” Pariyo said.
Similarly Lino Mawa, a critic of the proponents of the amendment said Uganda is currently rocked by strikes in all civil service sectors because of the bad governance of the NRM and that this should not warrant any amendment to give the ‘bad’ leadership more chance.
“We are not ready to allow for any amendment……..issues of age should be asked from God not from us!” Mawa said.
Although many Counties now ask for granting of district status, the new political districts have remained with lip services. The roads, health, education have remained miserable in the new districts like Maracha, Pakwach and Zombo.