Karamoja: The NRM got money for the army, but not for the starving…

The recent surge in cattle theft and cross-border conflicts in Minister Kasiaja: Karamoja sub-region issues will continue to be addressed. In a recent supplementary budget, Government provided Shs.112.5 Billions to facilitate the UPDF to carry out operations” (91.2 Crooze FM, 14.06.2022).

More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja – Report” (…) “A new report indicates that the Karamoja region is undergoing a crisis of food insecurity and may slump into famine if there are no measures to reverse the situation immediately. The report on integrated food security phase classification also shows that Moroto and Kaabong districts are in a critical phase of acute malnutrition. While receiving the report, the government committed to implementing some of the short-term recommendations” (NTV Uganda, 14.06.2022).

We know that the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) launched Operation Usalama Kwa Wote in July 2021 and they have continued ever since. The UPDF and the authorities have burned villages and killed civilians in their manhunt for cattle-rustlers. However, there been no oversight or proof of their operation really stopping violence or the murders for cattle in the region.

The only thing that has been shown is that the government has killed around 700 civilians and there is no direct justification or proof of the need to do so. There is no direct proof of the use of firearm or report on the use of the weapon. People are just killed and dying because the UPDF said so.

In this regard… the budget priorities are very clear. As the Karamoja is getting funds for the operations of the UPDF in the region. However, there is nothing scheduled or funds to cover or help the people in need. Karamoja is possibly getting into famine and people are now going hungry. That is a sign that the government has failed this people. They are now in the hands of the government.

The UPDF seems to be more important than the civilians it is defending. Since, it has funds and operational means, but the public don’t have what they need. Neither does the state has the mechanisms or the institutions to help them. That’s why they are starving and not getting help. This shortfall has to be covered by either a UN Organizations, CSOs or NGOs. Because, they have ability and funds to come to their aide. Since, the state don’t pay it no mind and would only care if it was profitable.

Karamoja have been targeted and the army has intervened as it has… because the minerals and mining operations needs land. The villages and the people have to flee lands and the use of former methods is to shield their operation. Now it is even more evident as Karamoja is getting money for the army, but not the people in need. This has been forecasted by FEWSNET and others. It isn’t like it happened without any forewarning.

Karamoja was in a danger-zone and the army operations there wouldn’t make it any better. No, the state has addressed its own needs, but the needs of the population. The region has burned because of the army and the soldiers haven’t helped the farmers or the cattle-keepers. Instead it has possibly worsened it and created more internally displaced people. Therefore, it is striking that the UPDF gets funds, as a reported half a million will live in food insecurity and live in hunger.

I don’t see the state doing much or taking action about it. This will most likely spiral into a famine. Because, the state doesn’t have mechanisms or the willpower to do what is necessary now. That’s because the ministries and the institutions haven’t been invested into and neither is there a working protocol for cases like these. That’s for the simple reason: The International Community and their aid organizations are the shortfall for the inept and corrupt elites of Kampala.

That’s why the Minister of Karamoja will do nothing and neither will anyone associated with it. They are awaiting orders from the Office of the Prime Minister and the State House. Which will wait and we shouldn’t expect any miracles. The army is stationed here and they will not bring hope to a troubled region. A region that has burned and now it’s soon starving too. It doesn’t get a minute of peace or hope. Peace.

Uganda: FEWS NET projected food security levels as stressed in the Greater Northern Region and a crisis in Karamoja

Staple food prices have continued to increase in recent months and are higher than prices recorded last year and five-year average levels across most of Uganda. Prices of staple sorghum and maize are now significantly above average in several key reference markets across the country. In Karamoja, terms of trade for sorghum against firewood, charcoal, and goats are below average and worse than last year, significantly restricting food access for poor households. After the first season bimodal harvest in June/July, food prices are expected to decline but are now expected to remain above average given expectations for below-average production, increased net exports, and impacts of the war in Ukraine on global supply chains and prices” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

The Cassava Republic is getting hit hard by not only the rising commodity prices, but the weather. The agricultural production will be slowed down and that will hurt the farmers of the regions in the Northern Uganda and in the Karamoja sub-region. That is very evident and FEWS NET together with the World Food Programme is clearly having an oversight here. This here should worry the state, as it has targeted and had a military operation in Karamoja. Which is not mentioned here, but the burning region of Karamoja isn’t having a better times ahead of it. To the contrary things are only getting worse.

The Cassava Republic is also hit with an impactful war, which is not only hitting the exports of wheat, but in general. That’s why prices of commodities will go up and has gone up over the last year. Things are not getting better there either. Just read the quote below, which is a continuation of the first quote from FEWS NET on the matter.

In general, prices of food and non-food commodities have increased notably since late 2021. The main driving factors include rising transportation costs due to increasing fuel prices, seasonally declining market stocks, and reduced production prospects from the upcoming first season harvest following below average rainfall. More recently, impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis have driven further fuel price increases and increased the rate of general inflation of food and non-food commodities, further reducing household purchasing power. In March, retail prices of maize grain and sorghum increased farther above five-year average levels. Retail prices of beans and cassava generally remained below average in March, though prices of beans increased by 9-20 percent across monitored markets from February to March” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

Here is the worrying statement:

However, rising food prices will likely result in some higher selling prices for famers, increasing access to income for those with near average production. For pastoralist households, pasture and water availability is expected to improve in May given the forecast of above-average rainfall. Overall, most households in bimodal areas are expected to access sufficient food and income to meet their essential food and non-food needs, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes expected to persist at the area level throughout the projection period. However, given revised expectations for a third consecutive below-average production season as well as rising prices of food and non-food commodities including fuel, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are now expected to persist throughout much of northern Uganda for the majority of the projection period. In Karamoja, availability of food and income is expected to remain seasonally limited as the lean season progresses. Given delays in the agricultural season, the lean season is now expected to last through July, longer than usual by about three weeks. During this time, insecurity is likely to continue constraining limiting income-earning, including from livestock production and sales. When schools reopen for the new term in early May, households will likely experience some improved food consumption due to WFP’s food and nutrition programming for school children, including school meals, take-home rations, and supplementary food for households with malnourished children. However, food prices are expected to continue increasing through around June until the harvest from bimodal areas begins to boost market supplies, with an increasing number of poor households likely to face consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during this time. Though some seasonal price declines are expected following this, prices are expected to remain above average. For many poor Karamoja households, below-average purchasing power will continue constraining access to food from market purchases. Around August/September, the start of harvesting in Karamoja is expected to support improved access to food from own consumption and income from crop sales and reduce the number of households facing consumption gaps, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist at the area level even during the post-harvest period. Overall, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are now expected to persist through at least September, with worst-affected households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes” (FEWS NET, 06.04.2022).

We are seeing changes and the next coming months will be impactful to say the least. As the farmers and everyone else will struggle. There will be lack of food and a distress in some parts of the Republic, but it can become really dire in Karamoja. The Karamoja where the army has attacked, burned villages and gone after the citizens. That’s where things are getting worse and where they will have a terrible food insecurity to the levels of crisis. They can possibly get into Emergency, which should worry anyone. This just really speaks of how the state is failing its citizens and things are not getting any better.

The state should act upon this and think of safeguards. Nevertheless, don’t think they will. They rather send more soldiers and have more birthday bashes for Muhoozi. Than being concerned with the lack of food or ability to plough their fields. No, the state is more busy scheming and enterprising for their own. That’s why this sort of news needs to be spread. Because, the citizens of Karamoja and the Greater North will be hurt by this. That is the message from FEWS NET and it should be heard. Peace.

Opinion: When a soldier tortures a toddler, then the army can violate anyone…

Residents of Buvuma islands are living under fear after a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldier only known as Robert brutally assaulted a 4-year-old boy for allegedly laughing at him while he was mastering how to ride a bicycle. Robert, who is attached to a detach in Nandala forest, Nairambi sub-county allegedly brutally beat a toddler identified as Najib Iguru, claiming that the boy had stoned him near his home. According to the boy’s mother, Aisha Namugaya, after the battering, the boy lost his body balance, his right leg started swelling while also struggling to breath” (URN – ‘Soldier tortures boy for mocking him, holds Buvuma village at gunpoint’ The Observer Uganda, 01.05.2022).

As long as I can remember and at every given moment, the President, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Musveni has told the wonders of how disciplined his army is. He has spoken about the greatness and how he achieved peace. The President has spoken about how he came with fundamental change and how he revolutionized the Republic. However, things are not how it seems…

To the contrary, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and various agencies connected is as vicious, brutal and lacks order like the predecessors. The acts of torture and extra judicial killings is still rampant. The kidnappings and keeping civilians incommunicado persists. The acts of injustice and impunity is never far from sight. There more stories about these vicious acts than what we know. As either people are not allowed to tell, people are bruised or scared for life and many who fears to speak.

We have heard the stories of activists, political candidates and bystanders to campaigns. Now it is happening to kids or toddlers who is not fully grown. Neither should there be any sort of reaction to an action of a toddler. If the soldier felt mocked and hurt by the act of toddler. He should have spoken to the mother and the parents should have punished the toddler they saw fit. The soldier shouldn’t act as the judge, the jury and the executioner. The soldier did take it further and held the whole village at gun-point. Striking fear and avenging everyone know the toddler. That shows what sort of power and what the soldiers believes they are able to do.

The ones defending it… should think that this could be their own cousin or family member. This could happen to any villager or toddler across the Republic. The innocent civilian who isn’t eligible or able to be punished by law was still touched and violated by a soldier. The soldier took the law upon himself and tortured a toddler. Just writing these lines disgust me. The thought of a child being used blunt force against. No matter what he said or did, his reasoning and mental capacity to understand isn’t there. That’s why a toddler isn’t a legal subject, but the parent would be. Therefore, the soldier just shows how he was a brute and indisciplined.

We can just wonder else the soldiers are up too. They are allowed and follows orders of destruction, contempt of law and can act with vicious operations like the ones in Karamoja sub-region. That’s why we know their violence and know they can cause massacres with their bare hands. They can kill and without consideration of the justice or righteous reason to use the firearm. However, they do and the regime applauds it.

That’s why the incident of torturing a toddler isn’t directly shocking, but shows how far the army is willing to go. There is no decency or courtesy even. Just a brutal transgression and act with violence. Doesn’t matter if it is a civilian, toddler or anyone of stature really. As a soldier it is within your rights to destroy and violate someone. That is the message of the story.

The soldier should secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic. Meaning defending the borders from invaders. Not being a tool of oppression and injustice. However, the latter is what the UPDF is known for and it shows. Peace.

Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF): Statement on Alleged Torture by CMI of one Mariwos Alexandria aka Esther (22.04.2022)

Opinion: Karamoja is burning over mineral explorations…

A total of 17,083 square kilometers of land in Karamoja is licensed for mineral exploration and extraction activities, according to official data. Twenty-six companies currently have exploratory or mining rights in the region. In 2018, Chinese mining company Sunbelt was given 3.3 square kilometers of land to set up a $13 million dollar marble mining factory in Rupa sub-county. A year later, the company expanded its operations to cover an additional 4.1 square kilometers, ostensibly after a deal with local leaders. Hundreds of families have since been pushed out of their ancestral homes, local officials say. Locals accuse Rupa Community development trust, a community trustee group created three years ago, of conniving with investors to steal their land” (Diana Taremwa Karakire – ‘Mining Rush Threatens Indigenous Peoples in Karamoja, Uganda’ 01.09.2021).

What I feared the most seems to be reason for the joint operation of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UDPF) in the Karamoja sub-region. Which is an continues operation and it is persisting. The state is even furthering it’s investments into it by deploying 6,000 Local Defence Units or LDUs in Karamjoa. Therefore, the burning and bleeding will persist for a long time.

The lack of accountability and transparency is very clear. The obvious reasons for that is the licensed land and territories given to mineral extraction corporation over the indigenous people. The people and the citizens are neglected. They are perpetrators and the unlawful one in the mind of the state, but not by their rights as people.

The Government and the Authorities are coming in as a colonial government. They are occupying and violently removing people. The state is blaming the cattle rustling, but it is obviously more too it. Because, it is not like the government would create so much and damage over some livestock. However, it would do so over the mineral extraction and possible gold-rush in Karamoja.

We know they have given this state operation the name of “Usalama Kwa Wote” to disarm and take away illegal guns, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was an alternate motive. A cash enterprise and a possible profit objective of the state. As they know the values of the land and what it possesses. When knowing that… they might find it easier to scare people away and not take ownership of land. Make them displaced and ensure their fear to return. As the mineral exploration and exploitation can start. In such a manner, that the government and the companies can start their trading.

The unfortunate families, villages and the Karimojong is just dying. While they are defending their land and we don’t have any idea about the amount of fatalities. As the GoU, the State House and UPDF doesn’t release any sort of update on their Joint Operation there. Only in the beginning and stopped when the public outcry ceased to exist.

The Karamoja sub-region continues to burn, be looted and is destroyed by government entities. While they are blaming old cultural factors and blaming the herders. That just shows their sinister motives. Because, we are not supposed to know about the vast licensing agreements and the planned mineral exploitation, which has been sanctioned without the concern of the locals or the Karimojong in general. They just have to accept the loss of land, livelihood and where they have lived for generations.

Because, that is the “steady progress” and “securing your future” means for Karamoja these days. The state don’t mind violating or destroying, as long as it has a prosperous future ahead of it. Peace.

Opinion: Karamoja is bleeding and nothing is being done…

The Karamoja Sub-Region has been burning and bleeding of late. This has been as a result of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force and Uganda Police Force, which are doing a joint-operation to stop cattle-rustlers, but clearly acting out of their means. As the 7 Karamoja districts are hurt as a result.

These districts are Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, and Amudat. All of them are touched by the state sponsored violence and savage killings. People are becoming internally displaced. Houses are being burnt and people are forced to flee. The amount of fatalities are unknown, as the UPDF have only dropped one update and the numbers from there is certainly an understatement.

The Joint Mission Update was what the authorities had done between 19th and 29th March and we are now on the 3rd April and the violence is still occurring at an uncertain rate. The verified 309 people must have add-ons as people are seeking shelters in mosques and elsewhere. Karimojong are really under fire here.

There are even a viral video clip of some soldiers in Abim district who killed an alleged cattle-rustler and burned the remains. While showing the skull in one of the hands of the soldiers as the burning fire of the remains was continuing in the back. That sort of video clip is haunting and show what sort of sinister acts that is going on.

We know that Commander of Land Forces Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerubaga has promised them “hell” and his serving that on a plate. They don’t need to wait for the after-life to be in danger or meet the devil. The forces of Muhoozi is the agents of the Hell is already there and to get away from them would be like heaven.

As before in the month. There been speculations of mineral resources, findings of petrol and wider implications of foreign investors possible getting viable land. If not there is also reports of possible heists of livestock and thieving cows from the sub-region. As well, there is also reports of poisoning of goats there.

Whatever the reasons why it’s happening now. The citizens and the ones that dies… it happens without due process and without the courts of justice. The civilians are guilty before proven innocent in Karamoja right now. This is injustice and extra judicial killings. With the murder of over 300 people. Some might easily say massacres is going on and we don’t know to what extent. Since there is little to none reporting on the actual actions going on. The fatalities is therefore totally hidden and the bloodshed is happening in darkness.

The justification for the amount of death and it’s scale should be really crucial. As these amounts of deaths would be close to war or skirmishes between enemies of a civil-war. Alas, the state is behind a huge operation, which is causing harm that will linger on in the sub-region for decades. The fatalities and the insecurity isn’t becoming better, but worse. The devastating results will linger on and the damage cannot be mended. The souls taken and the land scorned will not be viable quickly. The needs for dialogue and peace. There isn’t a need for war or more guns. It is only causing more fatalities and more death.

That seems to be the devil in Muhoozi. He comes with death and thrives on the burning region of Karamoja. That’s the devil in the details… and how it can be perceived. Peace.

The Parliament of Uganda: Press Statement on the deteriorating security situation in Karamoja (31.03.2022)

Karamoja: The Karamoja sub-region is burning and bleeding in silence…

The 1966 District Annual Report concluded on a note of surrender to circumstances; “All of us would like to see Karamoja developed as fast as possible so as to catch up with the rest of Uganda but the major problem is how to do it” (Wozei 1977; 218)

The Police Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) command in Karamoja has urged its officers to express discipline and observe human rights in the course of carrying out their duties” (97.8 Kazo FM Omushomesa, 31.03.2022).

There are unverified reports that over 309 Karimojong have been killed and we are still counting. That is only the first estimates after the reported Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) operation in the region.

The Karamjoa sub-region is now hit with state-sanctioned violence. The sub-region has 17 MPs and one State Minster for Region Agnes Nandutu who are clearly not stopping the massacre and killings of the state. Which is killing people without trial or due process. They are just turning up and killing them. Just like it is reports of poisoning of goats and such too. We have also seen pictures of burning houses too. So, everything is done to target and hurt the Karimojong.

We know that Commander of Land Forces Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerubaga has been proud of the operation and what has been happening. He has been the voice of the government that has delivered this terror to the Sub-Region. It is not like this is his first doing this or such. He participated with the Special Forces Command (SFC) in Kasese in 2016. So, this man knows blood and bloodshed.

Some are claiming this operation is happening because of either gold or petroleum, which is found in the region. The government wants to disarm the cattle-keepers and take their lands. In a manner of which they are disarmed and cannot defend their land. Therefore, this could be a ploy to take valuable land with mineral resources, which is to be given to foreign investors. This is why the authorities and army is attacking the region with such brazen means.

So, if things are so, it shouldn’t shock anyone that the state and the leaders are willing to do this. They have used vicious means in Amuru and with Apaa land to other investors there. Therefore, the UPDF could serve a favour to some oil companies or other sort of mineral extraction company, which has gotten a go from the State House. However, that is yet to be proven.

Nevertheless, this wouldn’t shock anyone and we have seen the state act out before to prove a point and get their way. This is killings without justifications and done without legal precedence. It is only done to silence and extra judicial kill the ones who defy the state. Therefore, this is showing a dangerous means to an end. We don’t even know the possible amount of fatalities, as we have only the UPDF numbers from 29th March 2022.

This is showing what the GoU is willing to do to it’s own citizens and there is no way they can defend this. This is extra judicial killings on a massive scale. People should be warned and the plights of Karamjo can easily come closer to home. The November 2020 killings in Kampala by the UPDF says it all. Everyone can be touched and lose their lives. If the state isn’t getting their way. Peace.

Uganda: Ministry of Defence & Veterans Affairs – Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) – The Situation in Karamoja is Under Control (29.03.2022)

NITA Uganda: Press Statement – Internet extended to the Karamoja Region (03.10.2019)

%d bloggers like this: