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Residents Call for Dialogue on Napak- Katakwi Border Dispute

Since the Minister of Local Government, Tom Butime made a pronouncement on the contested border in February, tension has remained high in the border. While Katakwi district welcomes the pronouncement, Napak district has rejected it on grounds that it was biased and politically bent.
Alekilek hill that is at the center of contention for Napak and Katakwi districts.

Audio 4

Residents along Napak- Katakwi border are calling for dialogue to ease the tension on the contested boundary. 

Since the Minister of Local Government, Tom Butime made a pronouncement on the contested border in February, tension has remained high in the border. While Katakwi district welcomes the pronouncement, Napak district has rejected it on grounds that it was biased and politically bent. 

In the Minister’s pronouncement, the villages of Alekilek and Kodike were curved into Katakwi district while Kaithelem Market fell under Napak district.

However, Napak has since contested on grounds that Alekilek hill, now curved under Katakwi district is the heritage of Karamoja where initiation ceremonies are conducted. They also claim that original maps were interfered with due to political and self-centered interests.  

But Katakwi, on the other hand, says that the Iteso, initially living in Alekilek were driven away due to insecurity in Karamoja. They also claim that the Karimojong then used the illegal guns to cause chaos that drove them from their settlement. 

Joseph Aede, a resident of Arusiakan village in Palam Sub County, Katakwi district wants government to prioritize on dialoguing the two communities. He observes that most people are carried by ignorance and political sentiments to cause chaos along the border.

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While making a declaration on the contested areas, Butime said that the conclusion was reached after a study of the 1962 Constitution and the transfer of coordinates to a map which showed the boundaries of Napak and Katakwi.

Santina Pulkol, a resident of Alekilek village wants government handle the border issues with maximum attention in order to avoid the impending conflict between the two regions. She observes that the situation is already flaring as all sides insist on Alekilek. 

Ngakarimojong bite

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Joseph Lomonyang, the Napak LC5 Chairperson contends that the border question will only be resolved when both parties put aside their self- interests. He now recommends other entities like Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA and Ministry of Tourism to help Lands Ministry on the border issues between Napak and Katakwi. 

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However, Walter Elakas Okiring, the Katakwi district chairperson says border opening was prompted to settle administrative boundaries not the local community at the border. He explained that there have been issues of administration in the contested area that made his work difficult.

Elakas now wants development agenda to be pushed along the border to help the community benefit from government programs. He wants the contested land to be used for institutional development.

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Two Schools of Alekilek and Amaratoit Primary were curved into Katakwi, something that the Napak team says was a big blunder by government. 

Since the pronouncement in February, no administrative documentation has been effected by government on the said boundary after the declaration by the minister. 

Napak and Katakwi have been struggling over the border since 1964. Several attempts have not yielded much fruit as far as settling the border conflict is concerned. At the moment, both Napak and Katakwi leaders are calling on their colleagues from respective regions to help in the border issue.

Residents at the border fear that the contention might affect the hard-earned peaceful coexistence between the two communities. The two regions have had historical security challenges attached to cattle rustling.