ARUA CITY: A group calling itself the Save Ayivu Initiative (SAI) has insisted that they don’t want to be part of the newly created Arua city but instead want district status for the former Ayivu County.

The group has also claimed that consultations to merge the former Arua municipality and Ayivu division to create the regional city were not thorough and thus the majority populace of Ayivu County was left out in the process.

The group is said to be collecting signatures in the whole of Ayivu division with the aim of petitioning parliament so that the decision is reversed to favor their new demands of a district for Ayivu division.

“I was in that council for two terms and I can tell you that the manner of the consultations was stage-managed and not everybody was involved, how can you meet VHTs (Village Health Teams), LCs and claim that you have met all the people of Ayivu?” Mr Faustine Yikita, the former councilor representing Ayivuni Sub County asked.

Mr Yikita, the chief mobilizer for the SAI claimed that important groups like the elders were not consulted during the long rigorous process of consultations dating back to 2012.

Mr Gasper Piriyo, the spokesperson for the SAI group claimed that the ordinary Ayivu was shocked to learn that the whole of the county had been given the new city status.

The group has accused Mr Bernard Atiku, the former Ayivu county MP and Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua of trickery and manipulation in order to satisfy what they called selfish ambitions.

A copy of the sheet of paper for collecting signatures for the petition as seen by West Nile Web contains a nine-point reason to justify the petition and a space for any willing person to sign against.

Mr Yikita, Mr Piriyo and others in the new SAI formation recently lost in the concluded 2021 elections in various positions and have been labeled as disgruntled by the Wadri Sam Nyakua group that supports the status quo. They are accused of looking for relevance using an issue that was concluded long ago.

In one of the reasons, the group alleges that the people of Ayivu are poor and cannot favorably compete in the city and that their land and cultural rights will be eroded as other people out-compete the sons and daughters of the soil.

However, in a recent press conference in Arua town, Mr Geoffrey Feta, the Ayivu East MP, Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua, the city mayor and Mr Malon Avutia, Ayivu division mayor called the SAI a time-wasting move that must be stopped immediately.

They asked the district security committee led by the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) to stop what they called the subversive activities of the group. The SAI group has vehemently denied the claims saying their activities are constitutional.

Asked when they expect to finalize with the signature collections, Mr Levi Adroa, the chairman of the SAI group said they expect to finalize the process at the end of June and thereafter channel their petition through Ayivu West MP John Lematia.

He described Lematia as a trusted and humble person who will take the ‘cry’ of the Ayivu people to parliament.