Dialogue Over Force: Security Agencies Restore Peace in Karamoja

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Maj Gen Don Nabasa 3rd division commander, Senior commisioner of Police also the commandant of ASTU in Karamoja Erias Kasirabo and Francis Chemusto RPC Mt Moroto region at one of the peace dialogue in Napak district. (PHOTO BY STEVEN ARIONG )
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When Major Gen Don William Nabasa was deployed to tackle criminality in Karamoja, there was a lot of murmuring among the Karimojong community. Some thought the tall and tigney soft-spoken commando, who at one time commanded the military police, would use a vigorous approach to bring sanity to Karamoja.

Maj. Gen. Nabasa replaced Brig Joseph Balikudembe, who went for further studies.

After taking over the command from Brig Joseph Balikudembe, Maj. Gen. Nabasa met with all the security actors, political leaders, religious leaders, and opinion leaders. This meeting gave Maj. Gen. Nabasa a clear picture of how to end criminality in Karamoja.

Maj. Gen. Nabasa, along with three other commanders – Senior Commissioner of Police Erias Kasirabo, Brig Felix Busizoori, the deputy 3rd commander, and Francis Chemusto, regional police commander for Mt. Moroto region – embarked on community dialogues, assuring rustlers of the need to live in peace and stop cattle rustling.

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This continuous dialogue has brought about meaningful peace without any more confrontation.

So far, ever since the joint security forces embarked on community dialogues, the entire region has registered relative peace.

This publication has learned that cattle raids, which used to be the order of the day in Karamoja, have now gone about three months without any cattle raids across the region.

Jino Meri, the district chairperson of Kaabong, said attaining peace in Karamoja does not need force but dialogue. “We are currently seeing some good progress in terms of peace. It’s not like the previous time where raids were registered on a daily basis, especially in Kaabong,” he said.

Paul Lokol, the district chairperson of Nabilatuk district, said continuous peace dialogue will cement peace in Karamoja.

Senior Commissioner of Police, who is the commandant of the Anti-stock Theft Unit personnel, said Karamoja is part of Uganda, and when Karamoja is peaceful, then the entire country will be peaceful.

He said ever since they also blocked other routes for livestock transportation, there has been a total reduction of cattle theft in the region. “We shall continue with more peace dialogue, encouraging our brothers in Karamoja to hand over their guns and live in a better environment,” he said.

It should be noted that other routes such as Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Abim, which travelers feared to use due to road ambushes by rustlers, are now being used day and night. End

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