By Steven Enatu & Nathan Eyagu
The Resident City Commissioner Soroti Peter Pex Paak together with his security subordinates have stopped the Soroti City Woman Member of Parliament from organizing today’s 14th April, 2023 belated Women’s Day Celebration for Soroti City.
Peter Pex Paak while issuing the order last evening after holding a security meeting at RCCs office said the Celebrations be postponed arguing that the City was not ready to host the celebrations.
The meeting was chaired by RCC Soroti city Peter Pex Paak and among other members were acting City Clerk James Obore, Damali Asekenye the Principal Community Development Officer, DPC Soroti Central Twaha among others
The clash between the RCC and Hon. Joan Alobo Achom came to light yesterday, with the Legislator insisting the celebrations should go on as earlier planned with Hon. Cecilia Atim Ogwal as chief guest.
The RCC however, argues that the Guest of Honour is supposed to be the Rt. Hon. Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament who indicated she couldn’t be present because she was notified at short notice.
Uganda this year joined the rest of the world in celebrating the international women’s day on 8th March every year and usually the district organizes their belated commemoration after the national day.
For Soroti city, Woman MP Alobo and the team had planned for a belated women’s day celebration today, the 14th April 2023 at Soroti sports ground.
Edwin Benez, the deputy RCC Soroti city noted that there is no women’s day celebration in Soroti city as far as their office is concerned.
It’s alleged that the office of the RCC is blocking the belated women’s day celebration on grounds of political difference.
In a meeting that was held with RCC, they clearly indicated that the day be postponed and wait until Right Hon Speaker of parliament Hon Anita Annet Among confirms being the chief guest.
However, today, the Speaker of Parliament is expected to be in Nsambya County for a fundraising ceremony and wants the day to be pushed to 15th May 2023.
According to Hon Alobo, her office had notified the Ministry Of Gender, Labor and Social Development about the function saying the office of the ministry of gender allocated Shs3M for the function in Soroti city which Alobo says the city authority had acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Josephine Ibasere the deputy RCC Soroti City West says the three million has not been released and also that the day has been called off as the expected chief guest, Rt. Hon. speaker of Parliament Anita Among was given a notification late. She also noted that the financial muscle to have the function take place was not there.
“On Tuesday we had a meeting and we only had 10,000shs in the account, all the women in the committee agreed that we postponed it but also the chief guest whom the women wanted to be their chief guest postponed saying he was checking his calendar and informing us of the day” she said.
She said their office is not aware of any function that is taking place tomorrow the 14th April. The budget for women’s day celebration in Soroti requires 27million.
Jessica Amuge, one of the women in Soroti city said this move by the RCCs office is undermining and taking women backward and depriving them of their rights as women in Soroti. “This is depriving us of our rights, what are we talking about then in aspect equality for women?” she asked.
Meanwhile, Police has also come to issue a statement banning the belated women’s day celebrations for Soroti City
According to a press statement released by SP Ageca Oscar Gregg the PRO of East Kyoga on Thursday,13th, 2023, police has received credible information of a planned women’s day celebration that’s to take place on the 14th day of April 2023.
Ageca says police has been instructed to use their discretionary powers in policing any unlawful assemblies.
“The police of Soroti City have been tasked to remain vigilant and use all lawful and reasonable methods to disperse and disrupt any unlawful assembly should any actors decide to hold the same,” he says.
“We want to inform the organizers of the said event that the use of illegal processions has a potential of massively disrupting the other rights of the community, through disruptions in the flow of traffic, breach of peace, looting of shops and road side market shops, mugging and theft of phones from bystanders and pedestrians, running battles with security personnel and provocative behaviour like burning of tyres etc,” he added.
It should also be noted that, Hon.Joan Alobo the Soroti city woman MP called upon the public to ignore what she called ‘fake’ news that soroti women’s day celebrations have been postponed insisting that the celebration date still remains Friday,14th at Soroti Sports ground and public gardens urging them to turn up in big numbers.
“Treat information about cancellation as unprovoked gender based violence”, she added.
By the time of filing this story, police had deployed at the proposed venue.