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Karamoja Leaders Warn Gov’t Against Forcing Their Children Off Kampala Streets

Street children on Kampala streets/Courtesy photo

A section of local leaders and residents from Karamoja region have warned Parliament against forcing their children off streets, saying such a move will sink the region further into poverty because the children sent to bed on streets in Kampala are uplifting their livelihoods back home.

The shocking revelation was made by Naome Kabasharira (Rushenyi County) during a meeting held between Parliament’s Human Rights Committee and officials from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

She explained that the local leaders told the MPs frankly that they are the ones who organize people to send these children.

“They said they can’t leave these children not to go to Kampala because they go there to make money. One councilor raised an arm and said let us not tamper by stopping these kids from going to the streets because the Karamojongs are benefiting from the street kids,” said Kabasharira.

Her remarks were in reaction  to another complaint raised by Rose Obiga (DWR Terego) who decried the high number of street kids around the city, saying the group has turned the street unsafe with many involved in criminal activities like theft, insulting other residents going by their business in the city.

“They (street children) have become a terrible nuisance, they abuse you, can we get rid of these street children? They are thugs and steal phones, can we do something?” asked Obiga.

Caleb Mugisha, Acting Director-Legal at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) said that the Authority with Police is conducting an investigation to establish the people behind ferrying of kids into Kampala.

“Already there is an operation with police to look into who is sending these children to the streets and where they come from. Whoever is in this chain of bringing kids to Kampala, there will reach a time when they are all arrested and charge them with torture and engaging them in child labour,“ said Mugisha.

Meanwhile, Obiga lashed out at management of KCCA for failure to rein in on the homelessness in the city that have left people having sex on the streets.

Obiga described one spot along Entebbe road where a group of homeless people have turned it into a home where the homeless assemble in big numbers to sleep and have turned the spot into a bed room where people have sex in the open in the presence of children.

She explained: “I returned from Arua at 3:40am; you can’t believe the mess, a number of them were having sex. This is scandalous, your eyes can’t stop seeing because the lights are on. They assemble there with babies, men and women; they have the way they sleep, people are having sex in the middle of the city verandas. Why have those people become permanent there? Why have you left them there?”

David Luyimbazi, Deputy Executive Director at KCCA expressed shock at the revelation and promised to investigate the matter.

“The issue of people turning the street into a bedroom, that is something we are going to look into, I didn’t personally know about it. We shall look into it and deal with it,” said Luyimbazi.

 

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