KITGUM – Margaret Lamwaka, the Kitgum Woman MP has accused Karamojong pastoralists of descending on women in her constituency and raping them as well as stealing their cattle after invading their district in search of water and pasture for their animals.
Lamwaka made the remarks on Thursday, March 28 during the plenary sitting where she called on the Ministry of Defence to increase the number of soldiers in Kitgum as well as the Ministry of Water to construct valley dams in Karamoja to deter the pastoralists from leaving their areas and start harming their neighbours.
Lamwaka said: “11 women were raped, six of them are in the hospital and their women were rejected by husbands that they looked for Karamojong to be raped. We have to sit together and give the Karamojong the dos and the don’ts. Ministry of water should dig dams and they remain in Karamoja without coming to other districts. What is very special for Karamojong to leave their area yet Turkanas have left Kenya to come to Karamoja? They took away our 81 animals and now want 162 cattle back because we made an agreement that when they steal one cow, they should pay two cows for each cow.”
She also revealed that when the Karamojongs invaded Kitgum, they set fire that left 100 homesteads displaced had while the Ministry of Defence had promised to provide soldiers to the districts, and investigation revealed only five soldiers had been deployed.
John Byabagambi, Minister in Charge of Karamoja Affairs admitted that the Karamojong are still harming their neighbours and blamed the political leaders from the region for glossing over the atrocities of their people arguing; “Some leaders from Karamoja don’t want to accept the reality that we trace pass and cause harm to our neighbours. Some are overlooked. When we come to Kampala and start covering up, that is the problem.”
Sam Engola, State Minister for Defence told Parliament that the number of soldiers deployed in an area is determined by the threats there, and if the threat is more than the soldiers, then the number of troops will be added in Kitgum.