There are mixed reactions from the leaders in Teso and Lango
sub-regions over the government plan to compensate the people of Karamoja for
the loss of property and lives caused by some wrong elements within the region.
Last weekend, President Yoweri Museveni revealed that the government is considering including Karamoja in the list of regions to be compensated
for the losses resulting from cattle rustling. Museveni was speaking in
Soroti at the launch of livestock compensation payment for the Acholi, Lango
and Teso sub-regions.
While other districts in Teso, Lango and Acholi sub-regions
that border Karamoja have continued to suffer losses resulting from raids by suspected Karimojong cattle
rustlers, many Karimojongs are losing property and lives to the
same group in the region. The raids sometimes take ethnic dimensions. For instance,
the Jie from Kotido district steal from the Matheniko in Moroto or Bokora from
Napak district. On Wednesday, suspected Matheniko from Loputuk in Moroto
district reportedly raided 206 cattle from the Pian in Lolachat, Nabilatuk
district. The animals are still being pursued by UPDF and peace
committees in the region.
Joseph Lobot, the Amudat District LC V Chairperson, says that Karamoja
needs to be compensated because not all the people in the region are involved
in cattle raids and killings. He notes that while the Karimojong cross to
the neighbouring districts to steal cattle, the impact is more felt in Karamoja.
// cue in “Communities in…
Cue out…their neighbours”//
Geoffrey Omolo, the Katakwi District LC V Chairperson says
that although it is a good move to compensate the Karimojongs, the government needs to
prioritize compensation of other regions that have suffered for long at the
hands of the Karimojong.
//Cue in “I wouldn’t like…
Cue out…been victims,”//
Statistics from the office of the attorney general indicate that
out of more than 92,000 people considered for payment, the government will
commence payment with only 25,000 claimants in all the three regions of Acholi,
Lango and Teso.
But the number is less than a quarter of the people who went to
court or are still registering for compensation. Samuel Opio Acuti, the Kole North MP believes that the Karimojongs have equally lost to their fellow sons terrorizing the region with theft. He, however, notes that the government needs to conduct thorough screening
to get eligible people for compensation.
//Cue in: “We have seen…
Cue out: … livelihoods of the people”//
The Alebtong Woman MP, Dorcus Acen says that priority should
be given to the areas that have long been affected by the hostility from Karimojongs.
//Cue in: “To the best of …
Cue out: ... in their wisdom.”//
Simon Nangiro, the Chairperson of the Karamoja Elders
Association, says that Karamoja should not be judged by the few characters terrorizing
other regions. He says the region is equally affected and in need of government
interventions to help people recover.
// cue in “We also know that…
Cue out…being compensated”//
The compensation for Teso sub-region stretches back to the 1980s
civil wars where both the government and rebels looted property and
killed scores of people. The Iteso, Langi and Acholi people are
also seeking compensation for the Lord’s Resistance Army incursion in the
regions where several people lost lives and property in early 2000.