KARAMOGA: Communities and their local leaders across all the districts of Karamoja have started engaging in peace talks using the caravan approach to restore order in the region. The people trek across the region to meet and discuss peace with others in the region.
The local leaders and the communities from four districts of Kotido, Napak, Moroto, and Kaabong convened on Saturday at Panyangara Seed Secondary School in Kotido district for the launch, and thereafter the team will be traversing all the districts to rally for peace and find permanent solutions for insecurity.
Mariam Ongole, a resident of Mogoth parish in Lotisan sub-county, Moroto district, says all the approaches used so far to solve insecurity have failed and their only hope is the caravan peace meetings.
Ongole said that she’s optimistic that this may work because the gatherings always involve the community, comprising youth, women, and the elderly, all of whom she believes can help to cut the chain of raids.
She said that stealing cattle was an old way of life that kept the pastoral communities from growing, and she told the men to stop doing it and work for peace.
Margret Apuun, a resident of Panyangara, said the only way to end insecurity is through conducting such dialogues that bring everyone together, including the culprits.
Apuun says that they are only pushing for everyone to accept peace, and once it is done, even the remaining perpetrators in the bush will be forced to surrender.
Lote Paul Komol, the district chairperson of Kotido, acknowledged that this is a good gesture to start the move to end cattle raids in the region.
Lote says if the local community embraces peace, there will be rapid development and transformation of people in Karamoja.
He said that they will keep working with the joint security forces to get all of the guns that are still in the hands of bad people back.
Paul Lowok, the LC3 chairperson of Napumpum sub-county in Kotido district, says that the Karamojong have gone through hardships and this is the right time for them to abandon the culture of raiding that has rendered many families vulnerable.
Lowok said they will play their part to spread the message of peace, but the government should offer the necessary support to the sub-county chairpersons in a bid to promote peace.
John Paul Kodet, the district chairperson for Napak, observed that peace is returning gradually and the community is yearning for change.
Kodet says the local community also resolved to have a joint kraal, which indicates that there is prevailing peace.
However, John Robert Adupa said that after the peace caravan, they are launching a peace walk on the 20th of May that will see all the youth marching along singing peace songs.
Adupa said they are dedicating the whole of this month to advocating for peace because a lot of time has been wasted and there’s no change.
He added that the frequent and regular peace meetings they have suggested would provide the basis for more sustainable lines of communication and dispute resolution.
Meanwhile, the artists under their umbrella, Karamoja Musicians Association (KAMA), have also teamed up to reach out to the local community, preaching the gospel of peace.
The artists are expected to move all over the nine districts, conducting peace concerts.