Mulanga Village Residents Resist Transfer of a Borehole

She is tall and lanky but swift with the speed of a 16-year-old girl. Her speech is just as fast, but no one misses a word she speaks as each word is attached to value. As we sat patiently waiting to interview her, she rushed about the village inviting local leaders to attend the briefing meeting. They came with no hesitation, despite the fact that it was a period when all households were farming. The 51-year-old Lukia is the iron lady of Mulanga village in Iganga district, and a Civic Educator trained and mentored by UPIMAC with financial support from the DGF. Residents refer to her as the “Winnie Byanyima” (Winnie Byanyima is the the wife of Dr. Col Kizza Besigye and one of Uganda’s renowned past legislators) of the Sub-county. On a regular basis, she attends different churches, mosques, local government meetings and other village meetings to educate residents on their civil rights. She does so with such passion and zeal that the residents and local leaders are simply in awe of her commitment.

In 2012, Mulanga residents faced an acute water shortage. Through the participatory planning process, they were able to prioritise provision of a water source in their plan, which was reflected in the District Development Plan. Eventually, the long awaited plan matured and the residents were informed that the water source would be constructed. However, to their disappointment, the District Local Council 5 Chairperson decided to divert the water source to his home, denying the community of this valuable resource.Working closely with the Parish Counselor, Lukia invited the L.C.5 Chairperson for a dialogue meeting but he declined to come. For this reason, she mobilised over 700 members of the 100 affected households to reject the move. Although the L.C. 5 Chairperson invited the police to disperse the crowd, they met a calm but determined community that could not relinquish their right. Eventually, the attention of the Chief Administrative Officer, Iganga district was drawn to the matter. Looking at the fragility of the case, he directed the district to sink a water source in the community.

This directive was implemented within days. The community received a borehole with clean and safe fl owing water. In affirmation of their power, the fraudulent L.C. 5 Chairperson was unanimously voted out of office in the February 2016 elections. Residents and area leaders speak highly of Lukia’s contribution to their empowerment. They attribute the recent high voter turnout in the sub county to her efforts. Their request is that DGF supports UPIMAC to identify another volunteer to support Lukia, whose current jurisdiction covers over 16 parishes. Without a doubt, Lukia is a gem to Mulanga Village residents.