District leaders from Karamoja sub-region have called on government to embrace what they termed as ‘disarmament of the mind’ as a possible lasting solution to the insecurity that has prevailed in the region.
In a meeting with the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, district chairpersons and mayors from the region argued that the Karimojong warriors must not only be disarmed by withdraw of guns but also with mindset change. “It is an issue of poverty, lack of what to do and if they could be utilized in productive ventures such as skilling programmes, they will abandon the raids,” said Mohammed Ismail, the Mayor of Moroto Municipality.
When people are disarmed, they must find an alternative way of life
Ismail said government had established a skilling industry in Moroto as part of the disarmament programme and asked that the same be scaled up in the entire Karamoja sub-region.
The Karenga District Chairman, Felix Lochaale said youth are engaged in cattle rustling proposing that government should absorb them in the education system. “When people are disarmed, they must find an alternative way of life; if we can drag the youth between 15-25 years to boarding schools, we shall destroy this warrior thing,” said Lochaale.
He proposed that at least each district be given one boarding school targeting warriors.
The Kotido District Chairman, Paul Lotee Komol said students from the region should be considered for State House scholarships under the affirmative action ticket. “Karamoja needs affirmative action to encourage more students to embrace education,” said Komol.
The Committee Chairperson, Hon. Rosemary Nyakikongoro said there is need to take an account of all the government development programmes in Karamoja and their impact before the committee can give guidance to Parliament. “We are aware there have been several initiatives in the region especially when the First Lady was the minister in-charge of Karamoja; we want to know their contribution in eliminating insecurity?” said Nyakikongoro.