Karamoja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The loss of several district chairpersons in Karamoja region in the recently concluded local government elections is being attributed to the failure to recover rustled cattle.
Elected leaders in Karamoja can retain their seats for decades as long as they are able to follow and recover all stolen animals. This is what some district chairpersons who lost their seats told URN. Mark Abuku, the Kaabong District LC V Chairperson who contested for the Dodoth North parliamentary seat after serving for one term believes that he could have won the seat but three stolen goat he failed to recover made him lose the seat.
“Being an elected leader in Karamoja is not an easy thing any small thing especially failure to recover any animal when cattle rustlers raid them, the whole community will turn against you and they will not look at you as a leader anymore,” he said. Ambrose Lotuke, the Kotido LC V Chairperson who also lost after contesting for Jie county parliamentary seat, says the Karimojong community has not yet understood the role of elected leaders.
“What our people think is that when you are elected a Member of Parliament or district chairperson, you are supposed to be on the front line following the footmarks of the rustles animals until they are recovered. That is when everyone will be happy with you short of that no way,” he said.
According to Lotuke, no Karimojong pastoralists will entertain an elected leader staying in Kampala for important meetings when their rustle livestock has not been recovered. Only John Nangiro, the Nakapiripirit LC V chairperson out of the nine chairpersons in the entire region retained his seat.
Francis Kiyonga, the Amudat LC V chairperson who also lost his bid to retain his seat told URN that the involvement of security personnel’s in elections also contributed to the failure of most of the chairpersons in Karamoja. “But that’s the way to go let us see how the new leaders also will perform,” he said.