Northern capital under surveillance


Popondetta’s rangers ensure infrastructure set up by district and provincial authorities stay safe and clean for all to enjoy.

Town youth cleaning part of a street in Popondetta.

AS the common saying goes, first impressions are very important.
This is so true when it comes to something like a job interview. Or it could be a breathtaking setup of a place or environment that catches attention or impresses someone to a certain degree.
The beauty or usefulness of such a an asset could be reflective of good administration by whoever is at the helm, whether town or city authority and those down the rungs playing their respective roles in creating an impressive and conducive environment for people to live, work, enjoy or visit.
This is no exception for the Northern capital where the two MPs, Governor Garry Juffa and  ljivitari’s Richard Masere with their provincial administration including those down the line executing respective responsibilities for the good of their province and the benefit of the Northern people, public servants and visitors alike.
Behind the success story of a clean and impressive town are the hardworking city rangers.
The hardworking town rangers are on a daily basis committing their time and effort into doing all the dirty work as front liners in ensuring the cleanliness and beautification of Popondetta town.
When looking from different perspectives into what town rangers do, they not only do dirty jobs cleaning and collecting rubbish but at the same time are providing security to the general public which is another important role as part of their responsibility.
The town rangers’ presence in town means a lot security-wise. The surveillance by town rangers over a town for litter bugs and in keeping watch out for petty crime is seen as very helpful for the general public. So what the town rangers are doing should be encouraged and given funding support as they are playing an important role in trying to keep the town in a more impressive state and as safe as possible. Here in Popondetta town, a group of unemployed youths who were previously engaged in street vending activities have abandoned that about a year ago as a result of frequent police disturbances and decided to form a group to be involved in a more formal activity or something of a worthy cause.

Unemployed youth and vendors
That has resulted in those unemployed youths and street vendors coming together to starting their group which they initially called “Loose particles street vendors youth group”. This group was formed on Dec 23, 2020. From scratch they started undertaking their job as town rangers after they formed the group. The members brought to work their own spades, folks, rakes and other tools into doing the town clean up. They have decided to do this as more or less as a volunteer job.
They take the onus in doing everything themselves for the start while hoping and expecting assistance from any government or business houses for support and recognition. The specialised areas of focus in  town come under the care and surveillance of this particular group  are all areas between Wing Hay shopping complex and the new HQH Supermarket including areas along the perimeter fence of the Comfort Inn Hotel. These areas falls under an umbrella name code named ‘Conderlane’ by the group.
The group’s seven founding members are Aron Kenny, Lucas Eko, Gilbert Kaswa, Benjamin Mura, Damien Dame, Goi and Anama Kamo. With the recent inclusion of 19 more men the number was boosted to 25. The number has been increased to reduce the workload on individual members and to effectively fight increasing lawlessness and disorderly behaviour in town. The group who first took the initiative in cleaning up the town as town rangers without any government help are still continuing with the job into a second year now.
These town rangers are saying that whether their group is formerly registered is not f important. “What’s important is that we keep our town clean and attractive.”
They are also saying they don’t really care about negative comments people make against them as they had given their time and effort into doing the job for about a year already.
“Since we have taken the initiative to clean up the town at our own will, we are just happy to do more and continue with our job daily. We knowing that time will come and we will be rewarded for our hard work,” the rangers say.
On a daily basis the ranger clean up around about half of the town’s central business district.
What they do is is very helpful in reducing the piles up of rubbish which, if left unattended, will make the town look unpleasant to the public
At times people go against the town rangers, saying they are not a registered group and even ask for their ID cards but this doesn’t discourage them from dwhat they are doing. The town rangers hold their heads high in continuing with their job from day to day.

Happy with police support
The town rangers sat they are pleased with the entire police command in Northern for supporting their work.
They say they are happy when law breakers are prosecuted with the help of police for littering or when they refuse to pay fines.
The town rangers are pleased with the support of police in the province and are thankful to PPC Chief Inspector Jeffrey Yangen and his men and women for working in collaboration with them.
However, one saud thing about the city rangers is that so far no government office or a business house has given them any form of assistance by providing basic tools such as wheelbarrows, rakes, grass knives, cutters, gloves, and workwear. They have been using their own and borrowed tools since embarking on the town cleanup initiative about a year ago.
Recently, following a request to all major shops in town a set of rakes were donated to the group.
With the beautification side of their work, the town rangers have produced beatifully painted flower pots out of discarded tyres and made flower beds in town.
The Popondetta town image is a lot better now than it used to be as a result of the good work of the town rangers.

  • Paul Minga is a freelance writer.