Wednesday, 18 April 2018

UGANDA: Soroti, City In Tropical Teso

Soroti is the main municipal, commercial, and administrative centre of Soroti District in the Eastern Region of Uganda, lying near Lake Kyoga. It is known for the rock formation near the town

Soroti is approximately 112 kilometres (70 mi), by road, northwest of the city of Mbale on the highway between Mbale and Lira.

The coordinates of Soroti town are 1°42'54.0"N, 33°36'40.0"E (Latitude:1.7150; Longitude:33.6111)

Soroti Airport has the third longest paved runway in Uganda at 3,641 feet (1,110 m). The longest paved runway in Uganda, measuring 12,000 feet (3,700 m), is at Entebbe International Airport.

The 2002 national population census estimated the population of Soroti at 41,600.

In 2010, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the population at 62,600.

In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population of Soroti at 66,000. In August 2014, the national population census put Soroti's population at 49,452.

Landmarks located in Soroti:

- Headquarters of Soroti District Administration

- Offices of Soroti Town Council

- Branch of the National Social Security Fund

- Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, a 275-bed public hospital administered by the Uganda Ministry of Health
Lwala Soroti Hospital, a 135-bed, non-governmental hospital, administered by the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau.

- Soroti Solar Power Station

- Soroti Rock, a volcanic rock formation.

- Awoja Bridge

- Soroti central market

- Lake Kyoga

- Flying School

- Soroti Railway Station

- Soroti Campus of Kumi University

- Soroti Campus of Uganda Martyrs University

- Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Soroti (SOCADIDO)

- Eneku Hotel

- Mbale-Lira highway, which passes through the center of town in a north-west/south-east direction.

Soroti District has 10 subcounties, 26 parishes and 308 villages.

Subcounties in Soroti District are Arapai, Asuret, Eastern Division, Gweri, Kamuda, Katine, Northern Division, Soroti, Tubur, Western Division.

The East African Civil Aviation Academy (EACAA), also known as the Soroti Flying School, is a pilot training school in Uganda.

The school is based at Soroti Airport, in the town of Soroti in the Eastern Region. It is approximately 228 kilometres (142 mi), by air, north-east of Entebbe International Airport, Uganda's largest civilian and military airport.

The coordinates of the airport are 1°43'15.0"N; 33°37'03.0"E (Latitude:1.720833; Longitude:33.617500).

EACAA was founded in September 1971 under the Directorate of Civil Aviation of the EAC.

The government of Uganda, the East African Community (EAC), the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation were the major contributors.

When the first EAC collapsed in 1977, the Ugandan government took over the management and maintenance of the school.

In 2012, the government began the process of returning the school to the EAC.

In late 2013, the Ugandan government entered into preliminary discussions with Integra, a private Danish aviation company, to improve and manage the school at international standards under a public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Discussions at the Ugandan cabinet level have also been held about returning the school to the EAC.

In 2014, the EAC Council of Ministers agreed to take it back.

On 3 July 2014, the presidents of Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda agreed in principle to re-instate the EACAA as one of the centres of excellence in the EAC.

There are several theories surrounding how Soroti town came to be named so, but the common one is that there was a first black man who lived at the slopes of the rock behind Soroti Hotel named O’Solit.

He was a business man who used to trade in salt together with the Indians, so when Semei Kakungulu, an agent of the colonialists came to Teso, they had a problem mentioning the letter ‘L’ which they eventually replaced with the letter ‘R’, Soroti.

The first elders in Soroti include, Epaku, Oleumo and Oumo.

Epaku stayed in Soroti town, while Oleumo moved to Kaberamaido, and Oumo moved to Kumi, now famous as ‘Akum Oumo’.

The only sources of water were spring wells located in Oderai, Aliabu, Nakatunya, and later the fisrt borehole was constructed in the public gardens.

There were no trading activities by the locals; business was purely being done by the Indians.

Soroti was administered by Teso District Administration (TDA0. The first speaker of Soroti Lukiko was Eriyapaulo Engulu (RIP), Soroti became a municipal Council in 1984.

The first Mayor was Mama Frida Adyamo (RIP), Stanslus Okurut (RIP), George William Egunyu, Alfred Martin Aruo, and now Paul Omer.

The first administration of Soroti started at where the current Church of Uganda land is, and it was called Native Authority (NA).

The logo was that of hippopotamus (Emiria). The services of police, health, prisons, education, spiritual and others were within the same premises.
Sir Andrew Cohen was the first governor of Eastern province. He built the public gardens of Soroti in 1951, after which it was opened by Thomas Cook.

The roads, and the administrative buildings, and the muvule trees were constructed and planted by Semei Kakungulu.

The places in the wards of Northern, Eastern and Western were then named basing on what was happening then. For instance;

Kengere ward is a Luganda ward which means ‘bell’ was famous for ajono-a local brew drinking, so whenever the customer for ajono needed hot water, he or she would always ring the bell in order to alert the booze owner to deliver water. Kengere was a noisy place.

Kichinjaji is a Kiswahili ward meaning slaughter. This is the place where people who used to slaughter animals stayed. There were very many butcher dealers in that area.

Camp Swahili is also a Kiswahili ward meaning an area where Kiswahili speakers used to stay. These were mainly the Mulubis, Kakua, Alur, Madi etc.

Nakatunya, is a Luganda word, meaning water leakage. There were so many spring wells in the area.

Madera is a Mulubi ward, meaning a place where short people used to stay.

Otucopi is a luo ward meaning to drill water. Akisim is an Iteso ward meaning place for thorns or thrubs, and

Kigandani is also Luganda ward where people where foreigners used to stay.

Tourism Observer

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