Karamoja Elders Demand Overhaul: Scrap the Ministry, Bring Back the Development Agency for Real Change

Agnes Nandutu
Ms Agnes Nandutu Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs.
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Moroto, Uganda – A section of elders in the Karamoja region continues to urge the government to scrap the Karamoja ministry and revive the collapsed Karamoja Development Agency to spur development in the area.

Mr. Peter Lokol, an elder, speaking to the Ankole Times on Saturday, said the Karamoja Development Agency (KDA), which existed before the creation of the Ministry of Karamoja – which has turned into a corrupt entity – had better practical development plans.

According to Mzee Lokol, a resident of Nabilatuk district, the Karamoja Development Agency had a significant impact on the ground, including job creation, ensuring the provision of water, education, and health projects for Karamoja. The Karamoja Ministry, in contrast, is perceived as doing little for the people of Karamoja.

“I am a Karimojong. I haven’t seen any tangible impact that the Karamoja ministry has created for the people of Karamoja since its creation, apart from people using it for stealing. All I’m seeing on the ground are old projects designed and implemented by the Karamoja Development Agency.

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The Karamoja Development Agency was established by parliament in July 1987 under (Cap 214). Its work was to cooperate and define its functions and powers.

The agency was responsible for the development of the Karamoja region, including the development of agriculture and the animal industry, providing sufficient water supply, and being governed by a council.

But the elders said the agency lost its powers after the creation of the Karamoja ministry, which they are now calling upon the government to revive and either scrap or leave the Karamoja ministry.

Jeremiah Mudong, a retired civil servant and a resident of Nadunget sub-county in Moroto district, also told this publication that apart from the Multipurpose water dam built by the First Lady Janet Museveni under the Karamoja ministry, there is nothing that the Karamoja ministry has contributed to changing the lifestyles of the people of Karamoja.

According to Mudong, reviving the Karamoja Development Agency (KDA), which was enacted by parliament act, would help develop Karamoja.

“We are not seeing any changes caused by the Karamoja ministry compared to the changes that the Karamoja Development Agency had put in place,” he said.

Simon Nangiro, one of the opinion leaders in Moroto, said the Karamoja ministry is not meant to change the lives of the people of Karamoja but to create opportunities for individuals.

Mr. Ismile Mohamed, the Mayor of Moroto Municipality, also echoed that reviving the Karamoja Development Agency would work very well in the development of Karamoja.

According to Mr. Mohamed, before the Karamoja ministry was created and later killed the Karamoja Development Agency, the agency used to have interventions in waterworks, road constructions, education, and health, which are not happening now under the so-called Karamoja ministry.

Mr. Mohamed added that the agency had created jobs within the region, and many Karimojong children were employed, compared to having two ministers running and maintaining seven vehicles, holding two staff meetings in the whole financial year without creating an impact in the region.

“To me, as the Mayor of Moroto, it’s as good as having no minister for Karamoja affairs,” he said.

Mr. Francis Kiyonga, the former district LCV chairperson Amudat, said the creation of the Karamoja ministry has not proven its importance to the people of Karamoja.

“First of all, where is that ministry office located, and how many Karimojong children are working in it, and what are its structures?” he asked.

Mr. Kiyonga also noted that no leader knows the budget of the Karamoja ministry.

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