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Karamoja Leaders Divided Over Cattle Branding Proposal :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Karamoja Leaders Divided Over Cattle Branding Proposal

According to security, the registration and branding of cattle will enable them to manage the recoveries of stolen cows and avert exaggeration of numbers which have always put security forces under pressure to track animals that do not exist. However, the proposal has generated a debate as a section of leaders oppose the plan lamenting that branding of cattle will be a waste of resources for no value.
cattle with the ring round branding on their hide

Audio 4

Local leaders in the Karamoja sub-region are divided over the proposed branding and registration of all cattle in an effort to combat the exaggeration of stolen livestock. The joint security forces in the region recently suggested that local leaders undertake the branding and registration of cattle to prevent the inflation of reported raids, which has put pressure on security forces to track non-existent animals. 

However, the proposal has sparked a debate, with some leaders opposing the plan, arguing that branding cattle would be a wasteful use of resources without yielding significant value. Emmanuel Longes, the LC3 chairperson of Lorengedwat Sub County in Nabilatuk district, believes that branding cows would not be effective as raiders have methods of removing the marks. 

Longes suggested that the government should consider revitalizing the Nabilatuk resolution, which focuses on penalizing communities that harbor cattle rustlers. 

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Jackson Angela, an elder in Rupa sub-county, Moroto district, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of branding cattle, stating that the raiders know how to erase the marks using hot metal. Angela emphasized that addressing corruption among local authorities and community members would be more impactful in ending cattle raids and restoring peace to the region.

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Joseph Lobot, the LC5 chairperson for Amudat district, acknowledged that branding cows could be successful if managed properly and implemented earlier before significant losses occurred due to cattle rustling. Lobot believed that even if some individuals attempted to remove the branding, security forces could take action against them. 

Ambrose Onoria, the Kotido Resident District Commissioner, highlighted the challenges faced by security officers in maintaining security due to the increasing innovation of criminals. Onoria emphasized the need for the government to leverage available technology to combat cattle rustling, as criminals have become adept at using communication devices and exploiting security road networks. 

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Despite the differing opinions among local leaders, security forces continue to assert that the registration and branding of cattle would facilitate the return of recovered animals to their rightful owners. General Wilson Mbadi, the Chief of Defence Forces, expressed frustration with communities exaggerating the number of stolen cows to gain additional benefits, which hampers their work.

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In November 2022, three sub-county chairpersons in the Kaabong district were arrested for allegedly using branding machines meant for legitimate purposes to brand stolen Turkana animals. This incident highlights the need for effective management and oversight of any cattle branding initiatives in the region.