Lilly Adong is the Woman representative of a District which is to date a scene of land conflicts and grabbing resulting into mass displacements of poor Ugandans who are just reeling from Kony’s 20 year war insurgence among other challenges.
The Sunrise’s Peter Muwonge chatted with her about this, among other problems the district is grappling with.
She expressed dismay that well connected and endowed people are lately zeroing on large chunks of land occupied by the poor, actions which she has vowed to fight to the last man in a bid to safe guard the interests of the poor.
Below are excerpts.
Qn: Who, in brief, is Hon Adong Lilly?
Ans: I am a mother of 3, a wife to Mr. Ocen Charles and I am one of those Members of parliament (MP) who come from a very humble background.
Briefly tell me about your Educational and professional background
I hold a masters degree in management from Uganda Management Institute, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Makerere University which is why I taught for three years at Gulu SSS. I also served as a sub county chief/Senior Assistant Secretary Gulu/Amuru District before I had an opportunity to serve in the office of the Prime minister.
Qn: what motivated you to stand for parliamentary elections?
Ans: It all started with my experience as a secondary school teacher where I was always saddened by problems suffered by many students and parents. This motivated me to rise to a position of leadership which can help me mobilize for possible solutions to such challenges. It was for the same reason I offered to serve as Sub County chief and subsequently as a Member of Parliament.
Qn: What were the key pillar s of your manifesto?
Ans: Foremost, I promised our people protection against land grabbers who are on the loose in the district. I also promised to defend their rights to education, Health and wealth.
Qn: To what extent have you delivered on the promises in your manifesto?
Ans: My office has opened up a strong front against the rich who have determined to disposes the poor people who have just returned from the infamous internally displaced people’s camps (IDPs) . My fight will continue as long as land grabbers back off our people’s land. This is unacceptable because it is creating another round of suffering to our people who are just settling from the evils of an insurgence. Fortunately this is one of our people’s rights for which I was elected and that is why I am ready to face off with whoever is in this game in our district.
Qn: Are you intending to ask for another mandate to represent Nwoya District?
Ans: As I have said already said, the threat of land grabbing and displacement of the poor which was part of the reasons for my election still exists and even as I speak to you now, there is a group of well placed rich people, with whom I am already battling in court over their intentions to grab land in the district. It is therefore my wish that I am re-elected in order to accord me a chance to continue with this fight.
Needless to say however, is that the people of Nwoya are free to decide and give this mandate to anyone they deem fit since it is rightfully theirs. The only thing I can say is that I can only wage this war effectively when I am in parliament.
Qn supposing you are not re-elected what next?
Ans: well, if Iam not re-elected, I will respect the opinion of the people of Nwoya and my life will still continue as normally as before.
Qn: Tell me about the challenges you have faced in the course of representing the people of Nwoya
Ans: One of the biggest challenges is the human – wild life conflict in a district which shares a border with Murchison Falls National Park. Here elephants and baboons are posing the biggest danger to our peoples’ survival. Elephants alone for example destroy acres and acres of every crop with the exception of tobacco bearing in mind that one single elephant eats one tone of food a day!
We have tried to raise the concern in the House but not much help has been found so far. Nevertheless the park authorities have responded by recruiting more rangers to try and help the residents.
Qn what are the key pillars of your next manifesto in case you are re elected?
Ans: Foremost, I will continue to fight for the land rights as well as promoting agriculture for income generation as one of the avenues to fight poverty among the people of Nwoya.
This time round I want our people to benefit from the oil sector as well. We are lucky that Government is planning to open an oil institute, to be named after Erinaayo Oryema which is why I am already moblising the young people to take advantage of that in a big way.
I am also going to put a lot of efforts in addressing the challenge of high school dropout rate in our district by providing two remedial educational centers in Koch-Goma and Anaka Sub counties respectively. These will attend to students who dropped at S2, S3 and S5 to enable them register and sit for UNEB exams to open up their future chances of further education and employment.
Under the same objective, I intend to extend the girl child hygiene coverage. It is true I have been distributing sanitary pads and spare uniforms to at least 30% of the schools in the district but it is my intention to extend this coverage in a bid to plug every loophole for dropping out of school especially among girl children in the district.