Karamoja, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda through the Office of the Prime Minister [OPM] has distributed 23,655, livestock to families in Karamoja under community empowerment program since its inception in 2014.
Mr. Francis Okori the commissioner for Karamoja development said the animals were distributed since the program was rolled out by the First Lady then Minister for Karamoja affairs Ms Janet Museveni in 2014.
Mr. Okori said the Karamoja community empowerment program whose aim is empowering the Karimojong communities still continues.
“Since 2014 when the program was launched to date, we have distributed 23,655 and these include heifers, he said.
Ms. Lokwameri Napulei a mother and also a beneficiary thanked government for the oxen saying since she lost hers in the army-protected kraals she has been facing a big challenge in opening up land for cultivation.
“I got two oxen-ploughs with one heifer and I have been in position to open up my land and produce enough food for feeding my children,” she said.
Mark Lokol another beneficiary appealed to government to address the challenge of resurgent cattle rustling saying the livestock being distributed to the vulnerable families may all be stolen again by cattle rustlers who think they are untouchable.
“We are happy with government program of community empowerment but my fears is the persisting cattle rustling that might jeopardize the aim of the program so government should stop it,” he said.
Peter Nangiro another beneficiary said he had no hopes of ever getting a cow when he lost all his 200 heads of cattle to rustlers.
He hopes that the animals given to him will multiply so that he regains his wealth.
“Even right now sometimes when I recall the number of my animals in the kraal which were raided by Turkana ten years back I feel like dying,” he said.
Most families in Karamoja lost their livestock as a result of ethnic cattle rustling however, the region is now peaceful after government launched a successful disarmament exercise in the region.
Mr. John Byabagambi, the Minister for Karamoja Affairs while handing over more animals to the beneficiaries in Napak district on Saturday, asked the Karimojong to guard the program jealousy and stop cattle theft so that the number of animals can increase along with food production.
“Government loves you the people of Karamoja and that’s why you are receiving these oxen today, so you should stop cattle rustling and embark on food production,” Byabagambi said.
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Mr. Joseph Lomonyang, the LCV Chairperson of Napak hailed government for the restocking program saying it has calmed down the annoyance of the Karimojong who lost their cattle in the army protected kraals during the disarmament exercise.
“We are very grateful to government especially office of the Prime Minister and the Karamoja ministry for the program because the distribution of these oxen has brought down the high tempers of our people who lost their animals in the army protected kraals during disarmament exercise,” he said.