Friday, 24 April 2009

Arua Town: The Sweetest Place on Earth

Established on 14th June 1914 at the Heart of Africa, Arua Town (the Ancient Capital of Pan-Africanism) is 64 Km away from the Sudan Border, 39 Km South of Koboko Town, 14 Km East of the Congo Border and about 530 Km from Kampala (Distance according to Gaagaa Coach's first female driver Kenyan Alice Nyambura). Widely regarded as the Capital of West Nile and a business hub linking Northwestern Uganda to Sudan, Congo and the rest of the world, Arua is home to mainly the Lugbara tribe and other smaller groups like the Madi, Kakwa and Alur. During the 1945 African Chiefs/ Heads Conference in Manchester (England), the Pan Africanism Association was formed and ARUA was chosen as its Head Quarters in the independent Kingdom State of Lado. Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah (His First Name was Francis ) became the Secretary and Kenya's First President Jomo Kenyatta (His Real Name was Johnston Kamau) became Assistant Secretary while the Agofe/ King Atabua was Chairman. [WARNING: This King is not recorded in African History. He was assassinated because he asked USSR (Russia) to raise the question of Lado Independence at the United Nations in 1947] In 2005, Uganda was included among third world countries allowed to export honey to the European Union. Consequently, a factory for natural bee products that meet EU standards was set up in Arua. The factory provides a ready market for honey from local farmers. Arua is the hive to one of the World's Best Honey (and won a Gold Medal at the 2000 Lisbon Expo in Portugal). Also, the farmers here produce 50 percent of Uganda's tobacco. It is home to World Champion Athlete Dorcus Inzikuru, the first female gold medalist from Uganda. The World Famous President Idi Amin Dada (a Kakwa with a Lugbara Mother) made it famous... Welcome to the Little City named Arua; it's inside Uganda’s Sunshine District: Area Code 0476, some natives fancy calling it 'California' (USA - United States of Arua which comprises the break-away Districts of Moyo, Koboko, Yumbe, plus Nyadri or Maracha and Terego). You can see Mount Wati from atop Arua Hill which has a fantastic panoramic view of the municipality (while you enjoy tinned fish from Morocco or the Barifa Forest breeze with your friend on the Lovers' Rock - East Side of the hill) plus will find Abundant Mangoes everywhere during harvest season, Maize from Vurra, White Ants, Honey, Ope (Lugbara for 'Guinea Fowls' which used to be reared most by people in Arua compared to anywhere else in Uganda), Green Fields, Nice People, Tobacco, Fresh Air, Good Food, Rocks, and Picturesque Thunderbolts…The Beauty of the Golf Course can get you closer to GOD. 'Sunday Magazine' inside Uganda’s Best Selling Newspaper 'Sunday Vision' on 18th September 2005 called Arua a 'Sleeping Giant Awakening'. Meanwhile, Joel Obetia the West Nile Diocesan Archbishop on Christmas Day 2007 prophesied that, “In five years time, Arua will be a City…” That is by 2012, the whole world should fathom Arua as the Sweetest Place on Earth two years before its 100th Anniversary. Requirements for City Status include: Ability for quality service delivery, enough water resources connected to the national grid and a population of over 500,000 people. Arua somehow meets the standards including the old one of having a cathedral. Arua has more than two cathedrals already. The only problem is that the advancement is not extended to a wide area but it is happening steadily even despite local opposition. Tourism is a major investment in terms of financial dividends and as the government tries to promote it in Arua, there is no limit this small Northwestern town will not reach. To get to Arua, you can either fly Eagle Air, United Airlines, Challenge Air, West Nile Air, Royal Daisy to the Idi Amin Aerodrome (Uganda's Second Busiest after Entebbe Airport) or ride in a matatu/ coach (Nile, ANKK, Gateway, Regional, Gaagaa, KK Transporters, California) most of which passengers board on Johnstone Street behind King Fahd Plaza. Travellers who prefer Posta Bus services can board from the Main Post Office in Kampala. A Uganda Railways line stops some kilometres from the town. Crossing the Albert Nile from Adjumani might require a ferry. The journeyto Arua can be quite enchanting especially at places like Karuma Falls, Pakwach or Paraa Ferry Crossing (Pure Paraa-dise, allow me to quip here!). Rhino Camp used to be the home of white rhinos that were unfortunately wiped out but there is a (wildlife) game reserve at Ajai. Currently, the reserve is experiencing fast growth in Hippos, Colubus Monkeys, Velvet Monkeys, Baboons, the Bush-buck, Uganda Kob, Water-buck, Warthogs, Statunga, Leopards and bird species. Ajai offers campsites at Tangi Gate, about 200 metres away from the banks of the Nile that flows gently in this area. Lugard's Fort in Maracha County is of national significance and could be developed in order to diversify the tourism products in the Northern Region. Barifa Forest which encloses the Dorcus Inzikuru Sports Ground is also a major attraction. You may be surprised to find that the Arua Kids League (AKL) has good technical talent like the Kampala outfit KKL. Other Places of Interest include the heavenly Catholic Media Centre that houses Radio Pacis plus Vineyard in Ediofe - West Side, Hotel Pacific, Slumberland, Heritage Group of Restaurants and Guest Houses, Kuluva Hospital, 'Aci Engine' (WENRECo Power Station), 'White Castle' with swimming pool in Ewuata - 5 Km outside Arua, Falls on rivers, Night Spots like Discotheques, Picturesque meanders at Ragem Beach, Fort Wadelai near the Albert Nile, Emmanuel Cathedral in Mvara - East Side, Ediofe Cathedral (which will celebrate 100 Years in 2012), Mount Wati, the West Nile Golf Course (where you can find GOD) and much more...