BY ISAIAH KITIMBO
MOROTO - The Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Dr Maria Goretti Kitutu, has expressed government commitment to improve safety and security in Karamoja Sub-region.
“As you see, Karamoja Sub-region is now opening up and is a key contributor to the overall development of the country. The government has invested in strategic infrastructure in the sub-region such as good roads and electricity and these investments are critical for the development of the area and especially facilitating private sector growth,” she said.
Dr Kitutu was on September 2, 2021 officiating at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of seven community police posts in Karamoja at Nakiloro, an event also attended by Karamoja Affairs State Minister Agnes Nandutu, the EU ambassador and heads of diplomatic missions.
The police posts will be constructed in the districts of Abim, Amudat, Karenga, Kotido, Moroto, Napak and Nakapiripirit under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), a government programme supported by the European Union and supervised by OPM.
“As we launch the construction of these community police posts, I would like to say that the establishment of posts in Karamoja Sub-region will increase the foot print of police and bring services closer to the people that in the end this will promote peace and security,” she said.
The Minister explained: I am happy to report that the selection of the police sites was carefully done to consider economic and security concerns in the locations. These police posts will be very important for ensuring the security of traders and the movement of goods/ services across the villages and regions. I have been assured by Uganda Police Force that these facilities will be fully staffed and operationalised just like the previous police posts that were constructed under similar support of the EU”.
She thanked the European Union (EU) for supporting the government to improve safety and security in Karamoja. “I would therefore like to applaud the support of the EU through DINU and other previous projects such as KALIP, NUREP for making a significant contribution to these efforts of accelerating development of the sub-region. Karamoja is on the path to participating as an equal player with the other sub-regions in the national development efforts”.
Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, said the EU has, over the years, collaborated with the government to support long-lasting peace, security and stability in Karamoja Sub-region.
This partnership, he said is reflected in the support provided to the UPF to build police posts in Karamoja to build its capacity in community policing and to provide the needed infrastructure to operate and implement its mandate.
“We are aware that stability and security are preconditions for the social and economic development for the sub-region. For this reason, over the years we have continued to support the UPF in Karamoja to fulfil its mandate to protect the communities,” he said.
“Under the DINU programme, we have moved from a sector oriented to an integrated territorial approach which aims at connecting the dots between different sectors and between different areas in order to better achieve inclusive and sustainable social economic development. For this reason, I strongly believe that the work we do in the area of peace and stability is closely interlinked with the support for agricultural development of the sub-region,” he said.
The Tepeth County Member of Parliament, Mr Albert Lokoru, welcomed the Nakiloro police post to be constructed in his constituency, saying it will reduce criminality in the area.
“As leaders and the community we are happy that the police post will bring about transformation, peace and unity across the bordering communities. This place is particularly between the Turkana County of Kenya and Matheniko County in Moroto District and it’s a place inhabited by all the three communities. And with this police post, the rate of crime is going to reduce, because this is to do with ensuring that people stay in peace and harmony,” he said.
The UPF Ag. Director of Research, Planning and Development, Snr Commissioner of Police James Ocaya, who was represented by Commissioner of Police Eng. Franklin Kugonza, the Deputy Director Logistics, said Karamoja Sub-region has had a long history of insecurity which has led to low levels of development in the area. He, however said the security situation in Karamoja has greatly improved, since 2006 when the government initiated the disarmament campaign coupled with other security interventions.
“UPF would like to thank the European Union and Office of the Prime Minister for continuously supporting police over the years, especially in Karamoja Sub-region. Your intervention has had greatly enabled UPF to have tremendous achievements as far as enforcement of law and order is concerned,” he said.
The Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), a Government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union and supervised by Office of the Prime Minister, was initiated in 2017. DINU is funded with a 132.8 million Euros grant from the European Union, 11.9 million Euros from the Government of Uganda and 5.9 million Euros from implementing partners.
OPM is responsible for the overall supervision of the DINU programme in partnership with local governments and a wide range of stakeholders, including other implementing partners – Department for International Development (DFID)/Trademark East Africa, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Other key implementing partners are nine grantees that are implementing various development projects under DINU in areas of agricultural production, livelihood improvement, food security and good governance in the five sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso and West Nile. These include CARITAS Switzerland, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), CARE-Denmark, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), ADOL Health Care Initiative and DIAKONIA-Sweden.