President Yoweri Museveni has asked the people of Karamoja Sub-Region to grow quick maturing crops, more about such as beans, millet and sorghum, that have short gestation period in order to address the problem of food insecurity in the Sub-Region.
Mr. Museveni was speaking to the Parliamentary group from Karamoja Sub-Region in a meeting held at State House, Entebbe last evening. The group’s Chairman Hon. Lokeris Samson, MP for Dodoth East Constituency, led the delegation that also included officials from various Government Ministries.
The President observed that the cultivation of long-term crops that take over three months to mature will not be suitable for the Sub-Region. He also advised the meeting that wananchi in the area should be encouraged to grow citrus fruits, mangoes, grapes, coffee and tea. He rooted for the propping up of economic activities in the Sub-Region through the establishment of industries. He noted that marbles and gold mining industries could support the area’s economic sector.
He informed the meeting that the NRM Government’s number one emphasis adds that the governments number one emphasis in the Karamoja Sub-Region was the restoration of peace; noting that the policy has resulted in the removal of 45,000 illegal guns from the area.
“In Karamoja, our number one emphasis was the restoration of peace where we removed about 45,000 illegal guns. The guns were a threat to the people of Karamoja,” he said.
President Museveni, therefore, told the meeting that one of the issues that remain for the people of Karamoja Sub-Region is the establishment of water dams to ensure the availability of water to the people. He called on the Ministry of Water and Environment, to look into the water challenge in Karamoja. He identified security and tarmacking roads as the other challenges in the Sub-Region.
He assured the meeting that in order to maintain good murram roads in the country, the government has procured road equipment from Japan, including tractors, bulldozers and excavators that will soon be given to every district.
Turning to the tourism sector, President Museveni urged the people of Karamoja to preserve and protect the 1,442 square kilometer Kidepo Valley National Park that he said brings in more revenue to Government than other sectors. “You need to explain to the local person the importance of game parks as the sector brings in money for national development,’’ he emphasized.
On health and education issues Mr. Museveni further explained to the meeting told the NRM policy that entails health centre 3 in every Sub-County and a technical school per constituency throughout the country.
The President directed the concerned Ministry to speed up the process of compensating Karimojong who lost their cattle during the war. He also cautioned the Karimojong against bush burning saying that the act leads to lack of pasture for animals.
“One of the campaigns for the development of Karamoja is to stop bush burning. Leaders are there but there is nothing they are doing. Water alone will not ensure the survival of animals,” he stressed.
Karamoja Parliamentary group Chairman, Hon. Lokeris Samson, commended the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) for the restoration of peace in Karamoja Sub-Region. He requested for affirmative action from the government to tackle street kids, particularly those from Karamoja who have migrated and settled on Kampala City streets.
The MP for Ik County, Hon. Hillary Lokwang, reported some incidents of the nomadic Turkana pastoralists who cross from neighbouring Kenya into Uganda with guns, which they use to loot from the people of Karamoja.