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Shs 39 Billion Meant For Disarmament Divides Security, Political Leaders In Karamoja

There is a dispute between security officers and the political leaders in Karamoja over the Shillings 39 billion allocated by the government to support the disarmament exercise.

The Karamoja Affairs Minister, Dr. Marry Goreti Kitutu officially announced the release of the money on Thursday while officiating at a regional security review for Karamoja held at the Kalip compound in Moroto Municipality.

Dr. Kitutu, who was accompanied by her junior Minister, Agnes Nadutu and the Defense and Veteran Affairs Minister, Vincent Ssempija, says the money is expected to help end lawlessness in the region.

“When I was appointed as Karamoja Minister, I found out that Karamoja was getting Shillings 10billion for a full year, which was too small. I engaged the Ministry of finance to increase the Karamoja budget and they accepted to raise it now to Shillings 39billion to help us get rid of insecurity and also address other challenges in the region,” she said.

LC V Chairpersons from districts in Karamoja want the money used to feed angry families. Jino Meri, the LC V Chairperson of Kaabong, says that the government should consider giving each of the nine districts of Karamoja Shillings 4billion to feed the angry families instead of spending it on unrealistic disarmament exercises.

“That money is just going into the pocket of few individuals in the security and Central government because like us in Kaabong we have given almost all the guns. What will they disarm? he asked.

Jino argues that if each district receives Shillings 4billion, many lives would be saved from the death resulting from hunger and the remaining Shillings 3billion should go to security for their routine activities in the region.

Paul Lokol, the Nabilatuk District LC V Chairperson, says that Karamoja now needs relief food, not disarmament. According to Lokol, the major cause of Insecurity in the region is hunger where people spend three days without having any meal.

“When you look at the cause of insecurity in Karamoja now it’s a hunger that’s why you find that thieves go and break people’s doors looking for food and maybe one cow or goat to the sale for survival. I am sure that if each district is given that money it would work well,” he said.

Lokol said UPDF and Police can keep some of the money maybe Shillings 5billion to continue picking some remaining guns as they have been doing all along. Joseph Lomonyang, the former Napak District LC V Chairperson, said the idea of facilitating the disarmament exercise wouldn’t be a problem but the Karimojong themselves must be honest.

However, Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional Police spokesperson, said there is nothing there for free. He said that using money allocated to the Karamoja Affairs Ministry to run government programs including disarmament for food will be diversionary.

“It would be unfair to give food for armed people to get the strength to go for more raids. It’s better for them to bring back the guns and then government looks for ways for supporting them to adopt other means of livelihood including agriculture,” he said.

-URN

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