By Nalwadda Nsangi
Arua municipality has launched a drive dabbed ‘Keep Arua clean’ in order to deal with stinking waste in the town and this will take place every last Thursday of the month, this comes after being ranked as the dirtiest town in Uganda following an article by the World Bank group.
This pushed the authorities to call for a very comprehensive planning meeting attended by the Area MP, Kasiano Wadri, the Mayor, Isa Kato, town Clerk, area councilors and Local Council chairpersons to tackle the ordeal.
Wadri noted that it was the challenge of all the authorities to ensure that they mobilise to revitalise the cleanliness of Arua. He wondered, for example, how many toilets and bathrooms are in a township like Arua with 10,000 households.
Mayor Issa Kato concurred that Arua produces a huge amount of garbage.
But some of the gathered leaders explained that Arua is a town and a commercial centre within Arua district in the West Nile sub region with a population of 62,657 as per 2014 census plus the influx of refugees.
Bakole Geofrey, District youth chairman, charged that one of the challenges Arua faces is that authorites grant contracts to clean the town to people who are unable to do the job. He claimed that their one criteria is because they are relatives.
He said that construction of major multi-million markets and the taxi park has forced vendors to trade their wares in the streets. They contribute greatly to the increased amount of garbage.
As a consequence, the municipal authority is struggling to manage the garbage collection. The town and many parts in the municipality are stinking because of uncollected garbage. The residents who dump this garbage on the streets and roadside argue that it is due to lack of garbage bins.
A number of resolutions have been passed including sensitization of the masses, engaging boda boda riders in arresting those littering in town, attaching value to solid waste and communal cleaning. This multi-pronged approach was shared by the principal town clerk Jobile Cornelius.
In 2015, in the inaugural African mayor’s awards that took place in Luanda, Angola, Arua town was shortlisted along two other towns for continental excellence and it emerged the second best after Cape Verde’s Praia in the small cities best towns’ category in Africa and the aspects that were considered were, rate of growth, cleanliness and hospitality.
The Arua Mayor, from 2006 to 2016, Charles Asiki says that it is not news that Arua again is ranked the dirtiest place in Uganda. He said by the time he came into office, these were some of the very challenges he faced.
Cholera outbreaks were endemic in Arua, fecal matter could be found all over the place.
With his team, Atiku said, they decided to crack down hard despite the unpopularity of some of the measures they took. Among the measures Atiku and his councillors took was surprise inspections at restaurants and other eateries. They would force them to construct pit latrines or close up.
In vision 2040, government proposed four regional cities to be established and these include Arua, Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara.