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Karamoja Elders Takes a Decision to Reject Cattle Raids :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Karamoja Elders Takes a Decision to Reject Cattle Raids

During the Karamoja Cultural Week event, elders from all nine districts across the region came together and agreed to abandon cattle rustling and advocate for better livelihood alternatives.
Karimojong community dancing a traditional song during the procession

Audio 4

The elders in the Karamoja sub-region have made a collective decision to reject cattle raids and passed resolutions aimed at fostering development. The council of Karimojong elders believed to possess divine powers, is responsible for making societal decisions and resolving disputes within the community. 

They achieve this through council meetings, ritual ceremonies, and public gatherings known as Ekwokwa, where wrongdoers are held accountable. However, recent concerns arose that these elders were indirectly promoting cattle rustling through rituals conducted in their traditional shrines, blessing those involved in raids. 

During the Karamoja Cultural Week event, elders from all nine districts across the region came together and agreed to abandon cattle rustling and advocate for better livelihood alternatives. Elijah Lobur, formerly known as Karamoja Mr. Culture and now an Elder from Kotido district emphasized that it's time for the community to live in harmony.

He urged the Ateker cluster to embrace peace, enabling development and stronger relations with neighboring communities in Kenya and South Sudan. The cultural event focused on peace and unity, with the aim of ending divisions and strengthening relationships within the Ateker community. Lobur emphasized the need for everyone to spread the message of peace and encourage those still in the bush to embrace peace. 

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Simon Peter Lemukol, another Elder from Napak, highlighted the importance of unity among the elders to achieve peaceful coexistence and development. He noted that divisions among different Karimojong clusters had contributed to insecurity, as elders had taken sides and empowered the youth to participate in raids. The cultural event provided a platform for the elders to come together and design solutions to the region's problems. 

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Alex Lokutan, also known as MC Grey, Chairperson of Karamoja Music Association, pointed out the substantial investment in cattle raids by Ateker communities, which had resulted in significant government expenditure on disarmament efforts. He highlighted the importance of the elders embracing the message of peace and called on those still in hiding to return home.

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The elders worked on resolutions to address the region's challenges. These resolutions primarily focused on reconciliation and conflict resolution strategies to promote peaceful coexistence among Karimojong communities and neighboring regions in Kenya. 

Simon Longoli, Executive Director of Karamoja Development Forum Organization, presented the elders' resolutions. These included the implementation of agreements between Uganda and Kenya for resource sharing to reduce vulnerability to drought and promote peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries.

They also called for increased security measures along the border with Kenya and South Sudan to prevent the inflow of firearms into the region.

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The elders emphasized the importance of government attention to food security, education, skills development, addressing issues related to street children, and promoting cross-border trade for economic development. The eighth edition of the Karamoja Cultural event, held under the theme "Preserving our cultural identity and diversity for a dignified, peaceful, and resilient future," drew participants from all nine districts of Karamoja, as well as neighboring districts and regions that share historical backgrounds with the Ateker community.