Silent Karamoja minister wakes up to critics

Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu, and her deputy, Ms Agnes Nandutu. PHOTO/COMBO

What you need to know:

  • The minister together with her deputy, Ms Agnes Nandutu, have come under public criticism for allegedly  being silent despite the ongoing killings in the area.

The Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu, has called for calm in the wake of increasing insecurity in the sub region, escalated by cattle rustlers.

Ms Kitutu said there are a few isolated incidents of Karimojong facing insecurity.

“I am not silent. Those saying that we are not doing anything don’t know what we are doing. I urge Ugandans to be calm. I am told some ministries are cancelling their schedules in the sub-region. There are just isolated incidents and this can happen anywhere, including Kampala. People should not conclude that the whole of Karamoja is insecure,” she said during a KFM radio talk show at the weekend.

“I am already in touch with the governor in Turkana,Kenya, and we are talking... The army is making progress on both sides. The guns which have been recovered will be handed over by the Kenyan security forces and we will also hunt the people who committed  crimes so that they face the law in Kenya,”  she added.

The minister together with her deputy, Ms Agnes Nandutu, have come under public criticism for allegedly  being silent despite the ongoing killings in the area.

This follows last month’s incident in which suspected Turkana cattle rustlers killed three geologists from the Ministry of Energy and two UPDF soldiers in Moroto District.

Engaging the youth

According to Ms Kitutu, her ministry is engaging the youth, many of whom are part of the rustlers, to hand over their guns.

“We are working underground with the church to ensure these youth hand over the guns. Under the presidential initiative, we are supposed to give these youth iron sheets and goats and rehabilitate them through skilling,”  she said.

Ms Kitutu also said they recently held a regional council meeting and a number of resolutions were made that will be forwarded to the President.

“From the council meeting, we were informed that when some people were told to hand over the guns, some run to the bush. We are also informed that some of them get guns from across Kenya and South Sudan. These two counties need to take on the disarmament exercise. I am told they get the guns from the Toposa, Dinka and Turkana, who give away a gun in exchange for four cows,” she said.

Commenting on the killings of the geologists, the minister said they are in touch with the Ministry of Energy officials to ensure continuity of the earlier scheduled programme .

“I was not informed of that activity and these are the mistakes other MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) do. We are not aware sometimes and we get to know when something bad has occurred,” Ms Kitutu  said.

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