Pakwach was curved from Nebbi District on July 1, 2017 making it the youngest district in the West Nile region. The district took its current name of Pakwach because it is where the district headquarters are located. Since 1980, under Nebbi district, it was known as Jonam County which is also the entry point into West Nile region by road as the railway system malfunctioned many decades ago although plans are underway to revamp the railway system. Pakwach district local government is one of the districts in Uganda with 6 Lower Local Government units, 30 parishes and 414 villages.
Pakwach district is bordered by Nebbi in the West, Nwoya and Amuru districts in the East, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in South-West, Arua in the North West and Bullisa district to the South. It is approximately 112 kilometers (70 miles) by road, South-East of Arua town. And also along the Western bank of the Albert Nile, approximatly 121 Km (75 miles) by road, South-West of Gulu. Pakwach lies between altitudes 2289 ft to 5224 ft above sea level. The landscape offers one of the best scenic beauties in Uganda. The generally extensive plains of the east gently rise into the undulating hills of the west. The coordinates of Pakwach District are 2°27’43.0″N, 31°29’54.0″E (Latitude: 2.461944; Longitude: 31.498333).
Geological activities produced a conspicuous morphology in the district. Faulting and rifting along the western arm of the East African rift valley zone extends from Panyimur in Pakwach district into Jukia hills in Nebbi district. Up-arching and tilting affected the Erussi and Goli uplands. As a result, differences in localized diastrophic forces led to a variation in relief with a marked ascend towards the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pakwach District has a flat relief, dominated with sedimentary rocks along Lake Albert Nile with young and immature lithosols .By composition soils, vertisols and ferruginous soils do exist which are of negligible productivity.
Pakwach district is predominantly an agricultural district with (85%) of the population relying on agriculture for their livelihood. Majority of the people produce agricultural products for subsistence and only sell very little to acquire some basic necessities of life like paraffin, salt, soap, clothing, and so on. The district is also endowed with the River Nile and Lake Albert, which are a habitat to a variety of fish species . The fishing infrastructure includes 70 fish landing sites, a modern fish market at Panyimur and 1,934 fishing boats by December 2017.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics figures the district had a total population of 158,037 in 2014 with a projected population of 181,400 in 2018 of which 51.7% are female
Pakwach district has a land mass of 161sqkm and a density of 182.1
The dominant religious denominations are the Catholic and Anglican churches. However, several smaller groups also exist such as the Pentecostal churches, Seventh Day Adventist, Islam among others. There also exists what is commonly referred to as the traditional region which include Lamthe kwaru who worship their great, great ancestors. In approximate numbers 80% of the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church while the Anglican society accounts for about 15% and then 5% comprise the rest of other beliefs.
Pakwach district is inhabited by the Nilotics as per the ethnic history. The Nilotics comprises of the Alur and Jonam by tribe as provided for in the constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The main languages spoken are Alur and Jonam.
Landmarks and Historical sites
Historical sites in Pakwach include Wang-lei in where the great Alur ancestors Nyipir and Nyabongo separated, Fort Emin Pasha in Wadelai sub-county and Amuru Pii hot spring in Panyimur sub-county, and the November 2013 total solar eclipse site in Wadelai sub county.
Current District Leadership
- Mr Robert Omito-Steen – District Speaker
- Mr Paul Ogwang – Chief Administrative Officer
- Mr Christine Mandawun – Speaker District Council
- Mr Benson Okumu – Chairman Pakwach Town Council
- Mr Onegi Obel – Former Bank of Uganda Governor
- Mr. Geoff onegi Obel – Economist and Investment Banker, former Chairman Uganda National Social Security Fund
- Mr Jachan Omach – Board Chairman Uganda National Roads Authority, former Member of Parliament and Uganda government Minister
- Late Prof Ginyera Pincwa – Political Scientist, Makerere University
- Late Salim Bachou – Politician, economist, planner and businessman