Lodwar, Turkana central
Turkana County Assembly has passed a law that will allow the Governor and other senior county officials to use flags and sirens on their motorcades and processions.
Others who will enjoy the privileges include the deputy governor, the Speaker of the County Assembly, the County Attorney and the County Executive Committee Members.
The Turkana County Order of Precedence Act states that any other person apart from those allowed by the statutes; who uses the county flag on a motor vehicle commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not less than Shs. 100,000 and not more than Sh. 250,000, to imprisonment for a term not less than three months or both fine and imprisonment.
“Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, the following state officers shall be entitled to use the County Flag and Sirens on the motorcades and processions- The Governor, the deputy governor, the Speaker of the County Assembly, the County Attorney and the County Executive Committee Member,” the Act states.
The Act which also establishes an order of precedence for the holders of county state and public offices ranks The Bishops of Churches higher than the County Executive Committee Members, County Secretary and the county police service commanders.
The order of precedence according to the Act shall be used to, “determine and rank state officers, county officers and public officers; develop seating charts, programmes and the order in which national and county government officials deliver address at national and county functions.”
“The Governor, Deputy Governor, Senator, Speaker of the County Assembly, The Woman MP, MPs, MCAs, The County Commissioner, The Bishop of Churches, County Attorney, Chairpersons of County Boards, County Police Service Commanders, County Secretary, County Executive Committee Members, The Clerk County Assembly, Members of County Boards and Committees, County Chief Officers, Directors of County Departments, Distinguished Council of Elders members,” is the hierarchy according to the Act.
The Act also stipulates on the use of titles used to refer to the state officers. The governor and his deputy shall be referred to as “his/her Excellency the Governor” and “His/Her Excellency the Deputy Governor,” respectively.
The senator, the speaker of the county assembly, woman member of Parliament, members of parliament, members of the county assembly shall be referred to as, “Honourable Senator,” “The Right Honourable Speaker,” Honourable Woman MP,” “Honourable,” “Honourable,” respectively.
The spouses of the governor and the deputy governor will be referred to as, “My County lady” and “My lady” respectively.
According to The County Order of Precedence Act, 2014 a person who uses a title in contravention to the law shall be liable on conviction to a fine more than Shs. 100,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than three months or both.
A state or public officer who violates the Act are liable to a fine of not less than Shs. 500,000 and not more than Shs. 250,000, imprisonment for a term not less than six months or both such fine and imprisonment.
Any other person other than a state or public officer who contravenes this law shall be liable for conviction to a fine not less than Shs. 100,000 and not more than Shs. 200,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both such fine and imprisonment.
Posted in: FeaturesKenyaLodwarPolicyTurkanaTurkana Central
KAPEDO, TURKANA EAST
The huge bull charged, its menacing head aimed at the intruders. It snorted, growled, huffed and puffed at the circle of men that had formed a ring around it. Soon, speared and wounded, it lay on the ground, its powerful muscles motionless.
The young men who subdued the bull danced in celebration as they gave way to elders to begin the slaughtering process. Many were a time when people were injured, some fatally in their attempt to capture for slaughter bulls.
Today was a special day in Kapedo. A bull and several sheep and goats were being slaughtered not to honour any king, queen of warriors, but to celebrate the life and times of two sisters. The two, Jane Apetet Narumbe and Brenda Ngatur Esinyen, made their way into the Turkana history annals after undergoing a special traditional ritual to cement their place as Children of their Father.
March 28 2015, a sunny and beautiful day in Kapedo, brought song and dance to the home of Mzee Esinyen Aletia. Women, children and elders performed song and dance as they headed to the kraal to pick the subdued bull.
At the kraal, the crowd was still cheering Lopeyok Ekuttan Atido the Ngirisae clan head whose spear did the final damage to the bull after close to half an hour of the deadly ‘hunt’.
A delighted Apetet said the ceremony confirmed her and the sister as officially belonging to their father’s lineage under the Turkana custom. This meant that they had changed from mother’s lineage to fully become children of their father.
Apetet said: “My mother was Akuru Lochukudi, from the Akinomut clan; while my father is from Ekurerit clan. To change us from our mother’s line to our father’s line, a ceremony had to be done.”
Apetet funded the entire ceremony, further emphasizing the importance of a female child in the community and her ability to unite clans.
The ceremony had been postponed severally due to the impassable roads and insecurity in Kapedo.
Many of the clan members still could not attend the ceremony but had food delivered to them in Marigat, about 100 kilometres away.
Posted in: FeaturesKenyaTurkana
Matany Hospital is an institution that deserves special mention and recognition for its role in restoring peace in Karamoja region.
In 2001, when the disarmament of cattle rustlers was underway, fighting broke out between Government troops and Karimojong warriors who wanted to cling to their weapons.
Warriors and UPDF soldiers died in the ensuing fighting, with hundreds injured and rushed to Matany, which was the only hospital in the area.
An average of 30 wounded Karimojong warriors and UPDF soldiers were taken to Matany by relatives on daily basis by the Uganda Red Cross Society or the army.
John Lomuria one of the warriors who were shot and injured recalls being rushed to Matany by Uganda Red Cross Society.
Matany hospital is located in Napak district in Karamoja sub region. It is Catholic-founded, built in 1966 to serve the region which lacked health facilities at the time. The hospital was funded by the Italian non-governmental organization called CUAMM (Doctors with Africa).
The unit had operated as a dispensary in 1970, managed by Comboni Sisters. At the time of its expansion into a hospital, it had 220 beds.
In 1984, a nursing school was established. In 1985, Primary Health Care (PHC) programmes were introduced in Bokara County in present-day Napak district.
Today, Matany hospital is a referral centre for the seven districts in Karamoja sub-region.
The hospital has several wards and services including; outpatient department, surgical, medical, paediatric and TB wards. It offers services that include antenatal, laboratory, X-ray, ultrasound scan, dental care and physiotherapy among others.
At the height of the disarmament programme, Brother Nahrich the hospital administrator recalls: “We treated all the wounded people equally in tandem with our motto: “We dress the wounds and God heals.”
Apart from saving the lives of the wounded warriors and soldiers, Matany also united the rivalling Karimojong and Itesot communities. When the Karimojong raided cattle in Teso region between 1985 and 1989, killing and looting, no one fathomed the two communities would reconcile at one time.
The Itesots had no guns and they could not defend themselves against the armed Karimojong. The Iteso fled in fear, leaving behind their herds. A bitter rivalry began between the two communities.
But Joseph Lomonyang the district chairperson of Napak said Matany hospital has since cemented the tribal differences between the Teso and Karimojong. This is because the Iteso seek medical attention in Matany hospital.
“Right now these two communities are living together, cultivating together and nobody talks about what happened in the past,” Lomonyang said.
Grace Akol, a resident of Kyere sub-County in Serere district recently had her child admitted to Matany and witnessed the good patient care she received from the medical staff.
Brother Nahrich says about three quarters of patients seeking services in Matany come from Teso while others are from Sebei and Lango. The hospital supervises 11 lower level health units in Napak district, and more than 100 traditional birth attendants and 420 Village Health Team members.
According to Dr. John Bosco Nsubuga, the Medical Superintendent, during the financial year 2013-2014, Matany Hospital handled a total of 33,074 patients from various regions such as Bugisu, Teso, Lango and Sebei regions in the outpatients department.
However, Nsubuga says the number of patients rises during the rainy season.
Posted in: Features
Paul Lotukei, 28, is a man whose young life has known only blood, pain and regret. He spent his younger life stealing cows and killings for a living. Then in 1998, this resident of Nakambi Village, Moroto district of Uganda fell into the arms of the army.
His killings techniques and ruthlessness earned him a place on the list of the Uganda Defence Forces most wanted list. He was beaten and tortured when the army eventually arrested him.
Having lost his gun and ability to live violently, Lotukei’s life became hard. He started burning charcoal for survival. One day he was shot and injured by rival warriors who had refused to surrender their guns to the army when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ordered the disarmament of all cattle rustlers.
Despite the shooting, Lotukei had to be strong for his own survival and that of his family. He was lucky to be among 20 youth trained by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization as a community animal health worker.
With the new training and empowerment, he has no more interest in a gun, which only revives painful memories. Although the gun was for years his source of livelihood, he has totally rejected it.
Everyday Lotukei leaves home at 7am to treat farmer’s cattle and is paid a modest fee. He works till 6p.m. He is in charge of the community animal health workers of Musasi parish in Katikekile Sub County in Moroto district.
“If I had been given this kind of support when I was growing up, I would have not picked the gun and destabilized my brothers the Turkana and within Karamoja,” he says regrettably. His new training has given him knowledge to serve as a community animal health worker thus enabling him to cater for his family.
“I wasted my time in cattle rustling by now I would be a rich man, I was the second in command of the Matheniko cattle rustlers. In 1997, I led a group of 15 warriors from Katikekile Sub-County to raid animals in Turkana. We succeed and raided 400 cattle. We passed through Lorengkipi, and found Turkana armed warriors, we fought them for about two hours and overpowered them. On reaching Nakonyen in Moroto, we landed into an ambush organized by the army. We exchanged fire with the soldiers for about 3hrs and killed 12 UPDF soldiers. We lost 10 of our boys but defeated the army,” he narrates almost in a regrettable daze.
He sold the raided cattle and bought more guns. Lotukei was on the army’s wanted list. He handed himself in to the authorities.
“I came out and went to the late Brig. Patrick Kankiriho the former division commander of UPDF 3rd division and asked him to forgive me. He forgave me and gave me a certificate of amnesty. Now I don’t want to touch even a gun because what I am earning now as community animal health worker is much better than staying in bush and missing my family,” says the reformed cattle rustler.
Instead of touching a gun, his hands and fingers prefer to touch the needles for injecting animals. His drug kit has become his gun.
Lotukei thanked the Government of Uganda for disarming them because the guns had hindered development in the region. He says that although he inherited the gun culture from his parents, he would not like his children to follow in such footsteps.
He has built a semi-permanent house to prove to other warriors that there is a better life beyond cattle rustling and ambushing vehicles. Lotukei appeals to his former colleagues still in hiding to surrender their guns and embark on productive activities.
Posted in: FeaturesMorotoProfileUganda
Tears flow down her wrinkled face as she recalls the slow, painful death of her three sisters’ decades ago. Paralyzed and destitute, she curses the cruelty of an age-old custom that condemned her to a wheelchair while stealing her siblings.
54-year-old Judith Yamangusho knows she is lucky to be alive. She remembers the dreadful moment, 34 years ago, when she and her three sisters were led out of their home and subjected to the torturous female genital mutilation (FGM) exercise. They endured debilitating pain and deadly infections. Her sisters succumbed to excessive bleeding and deadly infection.
Today, she sits pensively on a stool under a tree in Kween town in the eastern part of Uganda, gently removing beans from the pods. A few meters away rests her wheelchair a constant companion and reminder of the dangers of FGM.
At the age of 20, Yamangusho and her sisters were taken into the bush to be circumcised with the promise that the practice would make them better women and good wives. This was not far from their family home in Tabakon village, Kapteret Sub-County in Kapchorwa district.
She recalls the screaming and kicking and the searing pain set in. Strong and bigger women pinned them down as the stone-faced traditional surgeon cut them using the same knife. She then proceeded to stitch their wounded genitals with thorns. She thereafter casually applied local herbs to the fresh wounds.
“Our legs were all tied up for days for the wounds to recover,” she tearfully narrated to Turkana Guardian.
The mother of six children survived the ordeal but her sisters died shortly after. Yamangusho bled profusely after the circumcision. The health complications forced her to drop out of school. When she finally recovered from the physical wounds, she was married off.
However, her emotional and mental wounds have never healed. Childbirth became a nightmare: “After delivering my last born, I started experiencing back pains and after the back pain my waist got paralysed to date,” she says.
Steven Nakitari, her husband supports his wife, having been enlightened about the evils of the practice by non-governmental organizations fighting FGM in the Sebei community.
Yamangusho only wishes the war against FGM began in her youthful days: “I wouldn’t have accepted it had I known the negative effects. I was not forced. I accepted after my parents told me to go since that was what all families were doing,” she says.
She does not blame her parents: “They could do nothing because they had culture at heart. They could not do much,” she argues.
The Inter African Committee Uganda (IACU) an NGO based in Kapchorwa and Reproductive, Educative and Community health (REACH) sensitize the public about the bad effects of FGM.
Yamangusho’s only prayer is that her community realizes the dangers of the practice and stops.
“They should look at the way I’m now. I didn’t want to be like this, but because of that kind of culture, I have been forced to be like this,” said Yamangusho.
In most FGM procedures, female genitals are partly or entirely removed or injured with the belief that it lowers woman’s sexual desires making them better wives. Most often the mutilation is performed before puberty, often on girls between the age of four and eight. Nevertheless, it is increasingly being performed on newly born babies.
The immediate consequences of FGM include severe pain and bleeding, shock, difficulty in passing urine, infections, injury to nearby genital tissue and sometimes death. The procedure can result in death through severe bleeding leading to shock as a result of pain and trauma and overwhelming infection.
In 2010, the Uganda Parliament passed a law against FGM, with convicted offenders facing 10 years imprisonment, or life sentence where death occurs.
FGM is common in the districts of Moroto particularly Tepeth Community, Pokot in Amudat and Sebei region in Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts.
According to the World Health Organizations (WHO) up to 150 million women are affected by FGM worldwide.
Posted in: FeaturesProfile