Busia residents,leaders embrace census exercise

Former Funyula MP Dr. Paul Otuoma speaking to West Media
Former Funyula MP Dr. Paul Otuoma speaking to West Media

Residents of Busia County came out in large numbers to support and embrace the 2019 census exercise which kicked off Saturday evening countrywide, with no anomalies reported in Busia County.

Those who spoke to West media urged others to fully take part in the exercise which will determine the County population and thereafter used by the national government to divide devolved funds to the Counties, “Let everyone be counted. This is a very important exercise which means a lot to us,” said Steve Orachi, one of the Busia County residents.

They were joined by leaders led by Busia County Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, Budalang’i MP Hon. Raphael Wanjala and former Funyula MP Dr. Paul Otuoma who stressed the importance of the exercise, “If we want good hospitals in out County, good roads and other better services we must come out to be counted and prove to the government that we are indeed many, otherwise our share from the national government will be too little to take care of our needs as a County.”

Otuoma who is the Privatization commission chair added, “Even those who go fishing, let us rest for these two days and stay at home with our families to be counted. We are ready to go without fish for the two days but we must get our correct numbers in terms of population. And those who are making fun of this exercise saying they want to watch football or go to Uganda to drink beer should try to be serious. This exercise comes once in ten years but football and alcohol is always there.”

And in Budalang’i which is one of the 27 protected constituencies which are likely to be scrapped off after this year’s census if they fail to meet the minimum required number of constituents, leaders and residents expressed confidence that they will even surpass the required number of 133,138 people, “For the last ten years we have given birth to many children and we have no doubt about reaching and even passing that limit.”

Area MP Hon. Raphael Wanjala was the first one in the constituency to be counted Sunday evening at his home with his family, during which he urged all Budalang’i residents to ensure they are counted, “I have called on all the people of Budalang’i to come back and be counted because even in the Bible Joseph and Mary went back to where they were born so that they are counted and that is when Jesus was born.”

He observed that last time many Budalang’i residents were left out thus portraying the area as scarcely populated, “Many of our people didn’t take the exercise seriously last time like those who live in the islands. But this time round we have told all of them to take part and the figures that are going to come from Budalang’i will actually shock people and the government.”

Our tour to the shores of Lake Victoria at Marenga and Omena beach showed the seriousness with which Budalang’i residents have taken the exercise as there were no fishermen in the Lake as is usual the case. Empty boats were anchored on the shores and the only movement that was in the Lake was of Ugandan nationals who were travelling to Kenya and back to Uganda to attend funerals and weddings being a weekend.

Bunyala sub county police commander Peterson Nyakundi downplayed fears that Budalang’i residents residing in the islands dotted in Lake Victoria may be left out of the exercise, “We have put in pace mechanisms to ensure that everybody in Budalang’i is counted including those who live in the islands within Lake Victoria. We have also beefed up security for the locals and those carrying out the exercise.”