By Steven Enatu
Councilors of Soroti city have warned the Soroti District Authority to stay away from the boundaries and institutions that belong to the city.
This was raised by the Soroti city councilors following an incident where they accuse the Soroti District Chairperson, Simon Peter Edoru Ekuu and the Resident District Commissioner, Patrick Okumu for demolishing Amukaru Market that is under Soroti city in Aloet Ward.
Hon. John Junior Okwii, the Youth Councilor Soroti city who doubles as the chairperson General Purpose committee said that Soroti city planned a weekly market dubbed Amukaru in Aloet ward every Thursday but Soroti District also went ahead to open a competitive market on the same day in Akaikai called Arapai Market.
He said that the Soroti District chairperson performed an illegal act adding that Soroti city is an independent local government institution that makes decisions for its own residents.
“We have been investigating as leaders circumstances under which the Soroti district officials went and acted outside the law demolishing the Amukaru Market that helps not only the city but our community. We all know that when Soroti city was formed, a new administrative unit was formed as Soroti city that has its separate leadership and authority over its administrative unit” he said.
Okwii said that the market act allows the city council the powers to establish a market where they deem fit.
“If you went to Kampala, you will find a market call Nakasero just within the city, now how do you say that the law does not allow Soroti city to establish a market within the city?” he asked.
He said the council has resolved that Amukaru market shall exist and whoever shall go there to demolish shall face the law.
Richard Ejotu, the councilor representing Aloet ward said people were beaten and arrested from the market that fateful day and he was also arrested.
“I was arrested, I was trying to rescue the market as a leader representing the community asking the District Authority to show me the letter authorizing them to demolish the market but instead I was arrested as well,” he said.
Simon Okiring, the councilor representing Soroti city east said that article 176 of the constitution of the republic of Uganda gives each local government unit authority to establish a sound financial base with reliable sources of Revenue.
To him this means that Soroti city is within the law to establish sources of revenue to enable it run the city and the District has no authority to block that move.
Article 191 of the constitution of Uganda gives the power to the local government to levy and appropriate taxes in accordance with any law enacted by parliament.
“The District Authority should respect the City council and its powers to provide services to its community as leaders. We are here by an act of parliament under article 179, so we are supposed to offer services to our people as an independent local government unit from Soroti District” he said.
Meanwhile, the chairperson Soroti District, Simon Peter Edoru Ekuu in an exclusive interview with this reporter said that the claim is from councilors and people who do not know the city boundaries and what belongs to the city.
He said Soroti District has been running a market call Arapai for over 20 years before that place was later given to the city.
He added that they will organize a meeting with the city authorities to harmonize the matter.
“A section of Councilors in that council do not understand what belongs to the city and they still need some orientation on the boundary issues” he said.