Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The situation of rob or beg prevailing in Karamoja is blinding the people to the more acceptable option of working for a living, their elders say.
The Karamoja Elders Association has heaped the problems of hunger in their sub region on the locals for failing to exploit the advantages of work.
In Karamoja, the cow is the main resource, but with the current situation of insecurity, many have been lost to raiders, forcing the locals to resort to begging as the only means of survival.
Simon Nangiro, the chairperson Karamoja Elders Association attributed the current hunger to laziness of people and developing attitude of beggars.
Nangiro says Karamoja has the potential to tackle the issues of poverty but unfortunately, people are lazy and they are unable to perform as they want to depend on free things.
Sabina Lokawa, a mother of four children and a resident of Nawonokitoi village in Loputuk sub county of Moroto district says they find life better in town because she is assured of something to eat unlike the village which is totally dry.
“We live a hard life, sometimes we come to town looking for casual labour but we end up being harassed whereas other bosses use us without pay, we suffer a lot but we endure because here is better than the village,’’ Lokawa said.
Josephine Lochoro, another mother residing in Kidepo village in Lotisan sub county of Moroto district said she left her village because of extreme hunger and the escalating insecurity.
Moses Nangiro, the LC1 chairperson of Nawonokitoi village in Loputuk sub county of Moroto district, disputed the statement that people are lazy but he instead attributed begging in town to the ongoing raiding which has rendered them vulnerable.
John Robert Adupa, the LC3 chairperson of Lotisan sub county, Moroto district says Karamoja is very dry and there is nothing much the community can do to get out of poverty unless government brings more projects to support the locals at the grass roots.
“There are talks that Karamoja people like free things but for sure when you look, Karamoja is totally dry and there’s no source of income, so it would be better for government to support its people as we also as leaders spread gospel for parents to take their children to school so we can have a better tomorrow,’’ Adupa said.
But Rose Mary Natee, a former Moroto District MP contestant blamed a section of leaders who are not willing to share the prosperity ideas with the community instead they want to gain alone.
She argues that there’s a need to show the community how they should generate income to support their households instead of giving them handouts.
Agencies like World Food Program (WFP) sometimes supply food items to the local community in the villages but they instead sell off the food to buy alcohol or just exchange it for booze with the people living in the trading centers.
According to statistics from UNFPA, Karamoja is classified as one of the world’s poorest areas, with high rates of malnutrition and disproportionate number of 61% of its 1.2 million people living in absolute poverty.