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Police struggles to enforce ban on crude waragi in Karamoja

Impounded crude waragi in jerrycans. File Photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police is struggling to contain the entry of crude waragi from other regions into Karamoja despite the check points manned by security personnel along the highways.

In the last few years, the type of alcohol consumed by Karimojong has changed from local brew known as kwete to the wide spread consumption of crude waragi.

Local governments in Karamoja all banned the consumption and sale of crude waragi in a bid to prevent its harmful effects on human health.

This waragi is believed to have originated from areas of Jinja and it passes through several check points with the main one situated at Iriiri trading centre bordering Teso and Napak district fully manned by police.

Michael Longole, the police spokesperson for Mt. Moroto region says they are grappling with the fight against crude waragi in the community as consumers connive with the sellers to conceal the information from police.

Police acknowledged that waragi intake is quite rampant but their effort to curb the consumption has been frustrated by the locals who don’t share the information with them.

Longole added that police will continue impounding waragi and arrest the dealers and prosecute them but urged the community to cooperate with police to report those involved in the business.

Modan Lomuria, the LC1 chairperson of Katanga village in North division, Moroto municipality faulted police for failing to man waragi entry points into Karamoja which could be the first step to curb the business.

Judith Adia, a trader in Moroto town says that crude waragi is the only source of income that can alleviate poverty and enable her pay school fees.

Meanwhile, the Turkana pastoral community living in Moroto have also accused the Karimojong warriors of using crude waragi as a trick to make them drunk and later make off with their cattle.

Mana Lopor, a resident of Naput village in Rupa sub county, Moroto district raised fears that if this waragi business is not stopped, they shall continue losing animals because the looters always target them when they are drunk and they cannot do anything to stop the raiders.

Regarding the health related problems, the statistics obtained from St. Kizito Matany in Napak district indicates that the number of patients who report to the facility with alcohol abuse related cases are increasing from 4,109 in 2017 to 6,103 in 2018 with many of them associated with liver problems.

However with a 54.5% of the people being alcohol consumers, the sub region of Karamoja ranks gloomily number one in the country where the national average is 14.6% as reported from the Uganda national household survey of 2017.

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