Minister denies conflict of interest in Terego and Madi-Okollo border dispute

Updated at 1511 EAT on FEB 16 2022

Hon Mario Obiga Kania, the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development on the floor of the Parliament.

The State Minister for Urban Development, Hon Mario Obiga Kania, has rejected allegations that he is conflicted in the reaffirmation of boundaries between Terego and Madi-Okollo districts.

Obiga Kania, who is the Terego East County Member of Parliament, told a sitting of the House on Tuesday, 15 February 2022, that he did not chair any of the meetings of the reaffirmation exercise from which a report on the matter was drawn up.

He tabled a series of documents pertaining to minutes of meetings held in 2021, as part of the mobilisation and sensitisation for the boundary reaffirmation exercise of the two districts; indicting that he attended the meetings as the Terego East County MP, and a representative from the lands ministry.

“The statement on my alleged conflict of interest is not true because all the meetings were chaired by the Commissioner/Assistant Commissioner for Surveys and Mapping of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development,” said Obiga Kania.

This follows a report by Madi-Okollo Woman MP, Hon Joanne Aniku, to the House last week, that Obiga Kania chaired the boundary reaffirmation meetings, and that he disseminated the report to the stakeholders.

In her submission, Aniku urged the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to nullify the report of district boundary reaffirmation exercise, which was carried out on 16 September 2021.

She also called on the Ministry of Local Government to maintain the status quo of the boundaries of Madi-Okollo district and Terego district, as resolved by Parliament on 30 April 2019 and 05 May 2020 respectively.

Obiga Kania assented to having disseminated the results of the reaffirmation exercise as an acting Minister, but told the House that he did not add, subtract or in any way alter the report while disseminating it.

“The responsibility to implement the outcome of the scientific reaffirmation lies with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and not the Ministry of Lands. The accusations against me of conflict of interest are attempts to divert attentions from the facts on the ground,” said the Minister.

“There is nothing to hide. We need to help our people rather than trade accusations and hide our heads in the sand,” he added.

The Minister for Local Government, Hon Raphael Magyezi, told the House that a meeting of the Prime Minister and leaders of Terego and Madi-Okollo districts, which he attended along with Government Chief Whip agreed on a way forward in resolving the matter.

“We shall submit a report to Parliament on what has been done,” said Magyezi.

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