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Govt to borrow UGX83b to map Karamoja

Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija appearing before the House recently (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija is set to table a motion seeking Parliament’s approval to borrow Euros 20,622,435 which is equivalent to UGX 83.593Bn for mapping Karamoja.

The money is set to be obtained from Spain through the European country’s Corporate Internalisation Fund geared towards implementation of the project airborne geophysical survey and geological mapping of Karamoja.

This follows the development in 2018 when Government sent a delegation to the United Kingdom for a colonial map to establish the actual boundary of Tororo Municipality following a long-standing conflict between the Iteso and Jopadhola communities over it’s ownership.

The 10-member delegation was led by Betty Amongi, Minister of Lands, whose main mission was to verify with colonial maps the exact location of the municipality and its boundaries following orders of President Museveni.

The tensions between the two communities started before independence in 1962 and led to the demarcations that separated West Budama for Jopadhola from Tororo County for Iteso, but the separation, escalated the tensions after residents of Tororo County requested the President for their own district.

Although the Government agreed to grant Tororo County a district status, the location of Tororo Municipality remained a matter of contention as each group claimed it.

However, in August 2019, when MPs tasked Minister Amongi to table report of findings of her trip to the United Kingdom, she admitted that the delegation hasn’t in position to meet with the President on findings since June 2018 before Parliament gets chance to get hands-on the report.

The Minister said, “Upon their return, the team reviewed the report and I asked the members to give me time to forward the preliminary report to the President for further guidance before we can bring it to this House.”

However, a section of lawmakers protested Amongi’s explanation saying delays by the team to table report findings will likely escalate the tension with calls to have the issue resolved promptly.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed Amongi to present a report on the border dispute within two weeks and went on to cite Article 190 of the Constitution that gives Parliament the power of the High Court to compel Government on the production of documents.

She said, “We should have respect for the people of Uganda. How can you keep people in suspense for 20 years? You went and collected maps that are not going to change. Why don’t you tell them what it is? We are giving you a fortnight and if you fail, the Committee on Public Service will compel you to produce those documents.”

However, to date, the Government hasn’t produced report on the UK team’s report regarding the Tororo boundary map.

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