Karamoja MPs Want Govt to Retract its Position on Napak-Katakwi Land Dispute

MPs from Karamoja sub-region addressing reporters in Kampala on Thursday

A section of legislators from Karamoja subregion have asked the Minister of Local Government, Tom Butime to retract his pronouncement on the Napak-Katakwi land dispute.

Two weeks ago, the Minister declared that the disputed land occupied by both Karamojong and Teso communities belongs to Teso.

The Minister’s pronouncement follows unceasing conflict over land demarcations which has dragged on for several years.

While addressing the media on Thursday, Karamojong MPs and leaders led by Napak District Chairperson, Joseph Lomonyang asked that government rescinds its position as it is likely to spark a re-occurrence of conflict between the settled communities.

The leaders also claim that the land traditionally belongs to the Karamojong community and proposed that government uses scientific methods to open the boundaries.

“The announcement by the Minister seeks to re-demarcate the border but not to verify or reaffirm and reopen it; we call on Parliament through the Ministry of Lands to verify, reaffirm and open regional boundaries and make known to the nation any alternations of the historical information related to the mapping after independence,” Lomonyang told reporters at Parliament Thursday.

“In the event that this is not possible through Uganda’s institutions, the leaders ask government to enrich the support of the British government in opening of the borders,” Lomonyang added.

Napak woman Member of Parliament, Stella Namoe noted that in the past, the demarcations between the two communities were marked by motorable trucks roads that were set up by the British but these were not reflected in the survey reports.

“The motorable truck roads were set up by the British, and at that time, the cattle were not supposed to cross from Karamoja to Teso. The animals would be confiscated in case that happened and that is the boundary that the Karamojong know from time immemorial,” Namoe said.

Following the deep rooted dispute, government had dispatched its surveyors to the locus to make their assessment, however  the survey report would later be rejected by the local people. Later, private surveyors also conducted a survey whose outcomes the legislators now object.

Namoe said the two surveyors did not explain to where the two motorable truck roads in their representations yet this would go a long way in helping ascertain whether the reports are accurate.

The leaders noted that they will thus officially petition the Speaker of Parliament on Friday over the Minister’s decisions and the issue at hand.

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