By Everest Mukiibi
There is a dispute between security officials and political leaders in Karamoja over the Shs 39 billion allocated by the government to support the disarmament exercise in the Sub-Region.
The Karamoja Affairs Minister, Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu officially announced the release of the funds last 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 Nandutu and the Defense and Veteran Affairs Minister, Vincent Ssempija, said 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 Shs10 billion 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 Shs 39 billion to help us get rid of insecurity and also address other challenges in the region,” she said.
Now, LC V Chairpersons from districts in Karamoja want the money to be used to feed hungry 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 hungry 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 urged that if each district receives Shs4 billion, many lives would be saved from 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.
Lokol said UPDF and Police can keep some of the money maybe Shs 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 that using money allocated to the Karamoja Affairs Ministry to run government programs including disarmament, for food will be diversionary.
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