Cattle rustling was a money- spinner business in Karamoja
BY STEVEN ARIONG KARAMOJA, UGANDA
As the majority of Ugandans are still celebrating the achievement of disarmament exercise that has ended the killings
and cattle rustling in Karamoja region, this celebration might not please all the leaders in the region who some of them had been also benefiting from cattle rustling activity in the region.
Cattle rustling had turned into a booming business and some leaders were connected with rustlers and when the rustlers’ raid maybe 100 heads of cattle, 30 out of the 100 are given to the leader who will eventually sell them off.
This business connection and the support that the rustlers got from some leaders escalated massive cattle rustling to the extent of the Karimojong crossing into other neighbouring districts such as Turkana, Teso, Acholi and Langi to raid livestock.
Talking about the Karimojong who are they The Karimojong are part of ethnic groups once called Nilo-Hamites and now referred to as the Nilotes of the plain. The total ethnic group is made up of the Samburu, Massai, Turkana, Jie Lothutho, Bari, Dodoth, Teustho, Nyagatom and Iteso. The word Karimojong is a generic term that refers to a group of people known by anthropologists’ as Nilo-hamitic ethno-linguistic repertoire living in the North-eastern
Uganda. The cultural group comprises of five ethnic communities who occupy land covering about 12 per cent of Uganda’s total landmass. Amongst these five communities are the Dodoth who separated from the Karimojong proper in the midnineteenth century and moved into the mountainous territory, which provides better physical security and is suitable for dry season cattle grazing.
Where are they? The Karimojong are located in the northeastern part of Uganda, the region is a 27,200 square kilometre area of semi-arid Savannah bush and mountain to the east, the escarpment drops down into Turkana district in Kenya. To the north is the Sudan, to the west and the south are Uganda districts populated by Langi, Teutho and Sebei people.
From 1911 to 1971, Karamoja was a single district, however, in 1971, it was divided into two administrative districts of Northern Karamoja and Southern Karamoja, later renamed Kotido district and Moroto district in the subsequent years, northern Karamoja has been also divided into Kotido,Abim and Kaabong, while southern Karamoja was divided into Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Amudat Within Karamoja, the dominant groups are the Dodoth in the north, the Jie and the Lepthur in the central region and the south districts of closed-related ethnic groups known as Bokora, Matheniko and Pian all of whom are referred to generally as the Karimojong in the southeast (or UPe) occupied territory that overlaps in Uganda-Kenya border. Living in the mountainous areas and around the edges of Karamoja are several similar ethnic groups such as Tepeth, Kadama, Teutho (IK) Nyangea.
Going back to the previous insecurity situation in the region, for those who have ever reached to Karamoja region in the last 10 years can tell well what the Turkana Guardian is explaining here.
The insecurity in the region left the region in poor state yet it’s the region, which is rich with minerals. When president Museveni pitched camp
Within Karamoja, the dominant groups are the Dodoth in the north, the Jie and the Lepthur in the central region and the south districts of closed-related ethnic groups known as Bokora, Matheniko and Pian all of whom are referred to generally as the Karimojong in the southeast (or UPe) occupied territory that overlaps in Uganda-Kenya border. in Karamoja to mobilize the Karimojong to handover their guns, some few leaders who were benefiting from the conflicts in the region were not speaking the same language
with the president and some went ahead to demobilize the Karimojong not to handover their guns until the intelligence learnt about it and started arresting such leaders.
The cattle rustling conflicts had made animal to become emaciated because of over running day and night.
However, that’s now history, peace has returned in the region and cases of cattle rustling in Karamoja are no more following the government forcefully removing the guns in the hands of the Karimojong.
From 2001 when Uganda government launched disarmament exercise, which ended in 2010, a total of 40,000 guns were
collected from the Karimojong. John Lokut, one of the pastoralists and a resident of Namalu sub-County in
Nakapiripirit district hailed the achievement of disarmament exercise saying Karamoja was now realizing the high number of cattle population.
“The raids had finished all the animals and people, we thank the government for removing guns from us otherswise by now we would have been finished,”
Currently, the region has now embarked on developmental activities, which used not to be there; the first development is the tarmacking of Moroto, Nakapiripirit road and now Uganda parliament has approved more funds for the tarmacking of Nakapiripirit, Mbale road that will start in August this year.
There is free movement without any escort in the region yet in the previous time this was the order of the day.
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