By: Ismael Kasooha
The Prime Minister has convened an inter-ministerial committee meeting to address the salient issues affecting Karamoja and neighbouring districts.
This follows concerns raised by members of Parliament from Karamoja that their area has many gaps in service delivery that required urgent government intervention.
The Prime Minister and other ministers during the Inter-ministerial committee meeting at OPM
The Ministers who included the Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala, Hilary Onek for Disaster and Tom Butime for Tourism and among others outlined the interventions aimed at improving service delivery in Karamoja and other districts.
Gen. Katumba Wamala said that all the roads deemed necessary to facilitate troop movement will be worked on so that the area is pacified.
Among the roads, there are those that will connect Karamoja region to the neighboring districts to allow free movement of goods and services in the region.
Tom Butime, the Minister for Tourism said that the human-wildlife conflicts will be addressed especially where the wild animals are destroying crops such as elephants.
“We shall have electric fences erected to prevent elephants from destroying people’s crops and causing damage to human life,” said Butime.
The State Minister for Agriculture, Kyakulaga Bwino said that the Ministry of Agriculture has made four priority interventions for Karamoja aimed at addressing the current situation in the region.
“We are considering water for production, provision of fast maturing crops, mechanization and mobilizing large scale farmers in areas surrounding Karamoja particularly in the north,” said Kyakulaga.
He said that other interventions are already in place only that they will expedite the process to deal with the current situation.
Engineer Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees assured the meeting that his ministry will work hand in hand with other ministries to come up with some more sustainable interventions to address hunger in Karamoja.
“As a ministry we shall work with all other ministries to ensure that we come up with interventions that will address the hunger and other emerging issues in Karamoja,” said Onek.
He appealed to Members of Parliament from the Karamoja region to unite and work together to address the issues at hand because Karamoja has never faced such incidents of hunger of that magnitude.
“What has gone wrong with our people in Karamoja? What I know is that the Karamojong people have never failed to feed themselves so we need to come up with more realistic interventions to address this,” said Onek.
Esther Anyakun, State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees who is also Woman MP Nakapiripirit expressed concern on arrests being made in the area.
“The people of Karamoja are fearing and thinking that government has come to torture them. Stop arresting people and taking them to far distant areas and the arrests should be intelligence based not mere arrests,” said Anyakun.
Responding to the claims, the Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), Brig. Gen. Abdul Rugumayo said that the UPDF has not done anything wrong and whoever does it is punished as an individual.
The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja asked the Members of Parliament not to wait to table their concerns on the floor of Parliament but rather engage the ministers for action.
“As area Members of Parliament from Karamoja, you do not have to wait to table your concerns on the floor of the house yet they can be addressed as early as possible when you engage the ministers concerned,” said Nabbanja.
The Prime Minister talking to some Ministers after the meeting at OPM
The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament from Karamoja and the neighbouring districts to streamline service delivery there.
The meeting came at a time when the government had started distribution of relief food to the people of Karamoja worth sh135bn and this will last for at least 3 months.