Residents want Ayivu District carved out of Arua City

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Residents want Ayivu District carved out of Arua City
Arua City

ARUA CITY | Clamour for the creation of Ayivu district has gained momentum in Arua with the City dwellers demanding that a new administrative unit.

Residents of Arua City, rallying under a campaign dubbed, "Save Ayivu Initiative", want to reduce the city's geographical footprint.

The initiative claims that insufficient consultations were conducted during the elevation of Arua Municipality to city status three years ago.

"To give Arua a city status, the borders of the then municipality had to be extended from 11 to 401 square kilometers," explained one of the residents.

"This meant either part or the whole of the former Ayivu County had to be encapsulated. However, there was inadequate consultation regarding this decision."

Despite efforts to voice their concerns, the initiative states that their appeals to the government were disregarded.

"We pleaded not to take the whole Ayivu because it was unnecessary," expressed a member of the initiative.

"The maximum size of a city in Uganda’s policy is 100 square kilometers, and we feared the implications on our agrarian communities," added another resident.

The residents are wary that the cultural heritage of the Lugbara clan in Ayivu may face dilution.

"Due to the city status, there’s migration from all walks of life, which will dilute our culture and lead to loss of identity,"

Former leaders involved in the city elevation process also weighed in, alleging political motivations behind Arua's transformation.

"The process of elevating Arua to a city was politically engineered to accommodate individual interests," claimed former Mayor Isa Kato and former MP Kassiano Wadri Ezati.

As the debate continues, residents remain steadfast in their pursuit to see Arua City's size reduced to safeguard the interests and identity of Ayivu.

For a nation compromising 58,197 villages as per data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Uganda has a mind-bloggling 146 districts.

Originally, creation of more districts was hailed as the panacea to taking services closer to the people but that decentralisation has proven costly in terms of maintenance of public servants.

Several reports indicate the burden on taxpayers to finance the ever increasing administrative burden.

The timing of the clamour for a district, at at time the nation is preparing for 2026 general elections, leaves the government in no position to say no.

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