KOTIDO – The minister for Karamoja affairs John Byabagambi has warned political leaders in the sub-region to stop a mentality of protecting cattle thieves in a bid to get votes.
This, he said was making it hard for the government to get rid of a few remaining cattle rustlers in Karamoja.
Mr. Byabagambi sounded the warning on Monday last week during the cross border security meeting attended by Kenyan Turkanas and Karamoja leaders held in Kotido district.
According to Mr. Byabagambi, the cattle rustlers are well known to the political leaders but the leaders don’t reveal their identity to the security officials making it hard to end cattle rustling.
“You political leaders know these thieves but you don’t want to disclose their identity to the security because of your own reasons and this will not help us to eliminate cattle rustling,” he said.
Mr. Byabagmabi further warned the Karimojong to stop exaggerating the number of animals raided.
He noted that in most cases whenever the raider’s raid may be two cows the owner of the raided cows increases the number and claims to be 200 cows raided.
“Our people don’t tell the truth when their animals are raided, we have learnt that when the raiders steal one cow from a kraal, the kraal leaders exaggerate the numbers of the raided cows from one to 100 heads of cows making it very difficult for the army to trace and this must stop,” he said.
The meeting was called following the persisting clashes between the Karamojong and the Turkana over resources.
Over the last one month the two pastoralist’s communities Karamojong and Turkana have been clashing with the Turkana who are still armed forced hundreds of the Karamojong pastoralists to flee their grazing areas.
The clash has happened barely three months after President Museveni and Huru Kenyatta of Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint cross border development between the Karamojong, Turkana and the West Pokots. The function was held on September 12 in Moroto District in the Karamoja sub-region.