A section of elders in Karamoja Sub-region have asked government to scrap the ministry for the area and instead revive Karamoja Development Agency (KDA) if growth in the area is to be achieved.
Mr John Lokol, an elder, told Daily Monitor in an interview last week that KDA, which existed before the introduction of the ministry for Karamoja Affairs, had better practical development plans.
Mr Lokol, who is a resident of Nabilatuk District, said KDA made a big impact on the ground in form of job creation, ensuring provision of safe water, education and health projects.
“I am a Karimojong. I haven’t seen any tangible impact that the Karamoja ministry has created for the people. All I am seeing on ground are old projects designed and implemented by Karamoja Development Agency,” he said.
KDA was established by an act of Parliament in July 1987. The agency was responsible for the development of Karamoja Sub-region, including promoting agriculture and dairy farming, and providing sufficient water supply. It was supposed to be governed by a council.
But the elders say the Agency lost its powers after the creation of the Karamoja ministry.
Mr Jeremiah Mudong, a retired civil servant and a resident of Nadunget Sub-county in Moroto District, said apart from a multipurpose water dam built under the Karamoja ministry, the latter has not set up any other concrete project to transform the lives of Karimojong.
According to Mr Mudong, reviving KDA is the solution.
“We are not seeing any changes caused by the Karamoja ministry compared to those that Karamoja Development Agency had put in place,” he said.
Mr Simon Nangiro, an opinion leader in Moroto, said the Karamoja ministry is not meant to change the sub-region but to benefit certain individuals.
Mr Ismile Mohamed, the mayor of Moroto Municipality, also said before the Karamoja ministry was created, KDA used to intervene quickly in water works, road construction, education and health in the sub-region, which he said is not happening now under the ministry.
“To me as a mayor of Moroto, it is better not to have the minister for Karamoja affairs,” he said.
Mr Francis Kiyonga, the former Amudat District chairperson, said the Karamoja ministry has not helped.
“First of all where is the ministry’s office located, and how many Karimojong are working in it, and what are its structures?” he said.
Last Wednesday, Members of Parliament for Karamoja held a press conference and protested the appointment of the two ministers from Bugisu to be in charge of Karamoja. The new ministers are Dr Goretti Kitutu and Ms Agnes Nandutu.