President Yoweri Museveni has launched a campaign that will not only end cattle rustling in Karamoja but also improve the lives of those who have decided to follow the right path to prosperity.
The improved goat project in Karamoja under the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs is aimed at supporting rehabilitated karachuna (Youth who have abandoned rustling) as one of the packages which can enable them to settle and rehabilitate themselves through improved livelihood and support the process of disarmament.
This according to President Museveni, is the only way to prosperity for Karamojong who has always been engaged in cattle rustling with no information on how to be prosperous.
“You can’t be prosperous this way. Because when you are stealing a cow, there’s no way you can be prosperous,” Museveni said.
Museveni who identified himself as a well-known cattle keeper said the best way to be prosperous is to avoid mixing cows through stealing. He noted that as human beings, the best way to fight coronavirus was to avoid mixing with one another and this also applies to mixing animals.
The President’s tone at the ceremony was set by one of the beneficiaries, Lomonyang Silvia, a 32-year-old resident of Lokitumo, Mogoth Parish in Moroto who said she convinced her husband Keem Akol to surrender his gun to the UPDF for the sake of her family and for peace.
After her testimony, the President handed her the Uganda flag for her patriotism and urged the region to cultivate a culture of peace for prosperity.
He told the Karamojong, that cattle rustling using guns not only threatens insecurity but also hinders development because social services like education and health can not be accessed.
“Once you have insecurity, health workers fear to extend services and our people continue to die from diseases. You’re also killing time for education. So really all leaders should tell you that this must stop,” Museveni said, adding that those using guns to kill will not get away with it because security has been sharpened to bring total peace to the region.
“I’m telling you, this one will stop now. The soldiers are going to hunt for anybody with a gun, they’re going to hunt anybody with an arrow and bow, arrest all the suspects and collaborators, they have started and this one is producing very good results,” Museveni said.
The President said all the above efforts will be boosted with the installation of more cameras along the major routes and security roads and later a law against cattle rustling which will be the last nail in the coffin to completely end the vice.
“We’re going to make a law also to make it a criminal offence to raid cattle or assist or conspire. So, this is just the beginning, tell everybody to bring out the gun,” Museveni said.
According to the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Hon Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu, a total of seventy-one thousand five hundred and fifty goats (71,550), will be distributed to beneficiaries from all the 9 districts that make up Karamoja. Each beneficiary will receive sixteen (16) Galla goats, 15 female and 1 male galla Boer. In addition, they will also receive 26 iron sheets each of which 22 are for the house and 4 for the pit latrine.
“This project is both for fighting poverty and improving nutrition. They also have a very good commercial market in the Middle East. Altogether, 100,000 iron sheets and 74,400 goats are being distributed to 7,155 beneficiaries accross the 9 districts of the Karamoja region,” she said.
Minister Kitutu said a total of other interventions like peace-building meetings in hotspots of cattle rustling have been held to encourage more peaceful disarmament.
“Under the peace-building initiatives we held a regional council meeting, focusing on the security situation in the region and resolutions were made and shared. We also held Inter-district meetings between warring clans to bring together stakeholders at the grassroots to talk peace,” Minister Kitutu said.
She added that in Kaabong, they’re working together with the Catholic Church and many rustlers have voluntarily surrendered their guns.
Apart from the goats’ project, President Museveni suggested that the reformed worriers form groups that will be supported to make cement bricks that will later be bought by government and business people in the region who are in the construction sector.
The ceremony was attended by among others the Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu, Members of Parliament hailing from the region and beneficiaries.