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South Sudan threatens Uganda’s population census

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) is actively working to mitigate potential disruptions to its preparatory work for the upcoming May national population census, amid concerns over both internal and external territorial disputes.

UBOS ED Chris Mukiza

Particularly troubling for the census planning are the challenges posed by claims from South Sudan over some Ugandan villages along the northern border.

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During the mapping of enumeration areas, UBOS has encountered difficulties where South Sudanese claims overlap with parts of Ugandan villages. UBOS Executive Director Chris Mukiza expressed concerns about these external threats, stating, "These are some of the risks we are trying to manage; we hear for example that South Sudan is laying claim on some villages."

This isn't the first time border disputes have impacted census activities. The 2014 census had to exclude residents of Migingo Island due to a territorial claim conflict between Uganda and Kenya, with the Kenyan government taking drastic measures to prevent census operations on the island.

In addition to the external disputes, UBOS is also navigating internal territorial conflicts, particularly in northern Uganda.

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Mukiza pointed out the prolonged Apaa land dispute between the Madi and Acholi tribes as a significant challenge to census preparations. These internal and external territorial disputes have led to discrepancies between official maps and the actual village and parish layouts encountered on the ground.

Mukiza emphasized the importance of managing these risks to avoid jeopardizing the census exercise.

UBOS is currently focusing on strategies to counter these challenges, including engaging with local leaders to ensure the smooth progress of the census mapping activities at the village level.

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