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Karamoja elders reject Nabilatuk Resolution, propose new measures

Karimojong pastoralists attend to their herd. The region holds 30% of Uganda’s livestock. INDEPENDENT/RONALD MUSOKE

Kotido, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kotido Cultural Elder’s Council has rejected calls by the local leaders to revive the Morutit and Nabilatuk Resolution as one of the measures to stem cattle theft.

In 2013, the council of Elders in North and South Karamoja adopted the Morutit and Nabilatuk Resolution, which requires the perpetrators of livestock theft to return double the number of stolen animals and one more animal. The resolution also requires that the community that protects or hosts the perpetrators are held responsible.

However, the resolution came under scrutiny in 2016 when Human Rights defenders argued that it was unlawful. Recently, during the peace caravan meetings in the Karamoja region, residents and local leaders agreed to revive the resolution to discourage cattle rustling.

Maria Naduk a resident of Pupu parish in Lotisan sub-county in Moroto district, says that the warriors have become big-headed, which calls for strong punishment to deter them from their evil acts.

John Paul Kodet, the LC V chairperson of Napak district, says that there is a need to break the cycle of livestock-based conflict using community mechanisms that would punish and discourage animal theft.

Kodet says that they are going to register and brand the animals in order to avoid the issue of exaggeration once the resolution is passed.

However, the elder’s council has rejected the plea, saying there is no need for reverting to the resolutions, which they accuse of fueling cattle raids in the region. John Bosco Akore, the secretary of Kotido cultural Elder’s council, says that they are not bound by the resolution because it did not help in the first place.

Akore said that the system would have worked but it was messed up in the beginning and ended up affecting innocent people living the real culprits untouched. He also noted that the resolution was mobilizing people to raid because they were trying to recover what would be used for compensation.

Akore said that instead of reviving the old resolutions, they should encourage and support peace meetings to build mutual confidence and collaboration.

James Lokeris, a kraal leader in  Lopei sub-county in Napak district asked the stakeholders to find ways of enhancing support for livestock-based livelihoods rather than promoting inactive resolutions. Lokeris emphasized the security to protect their livestock from raiders as a key element in addressing inter-ethnic conflict.

‘’We are not getting enough support from the government, we have been left on our own even our leaders we elected are no longer bothered about us. Let them protect our livestock from the intruders,’’ Lokeris lamented.

He noted that in the ongoing peace caravan meetings, the warriors have been encouraged to join peace campaigns where they mobilize their colleagues in the bush to drop cattle rustling and he is optimistic that the system is more reliable.

He believes that increased resources and engagement of reformed warriors could make a strong contribution to peacebuilding and security in Karamoja. The joint security forces continue conducting cordon and search operations in the region to curb illegal guns in the region.

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