The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) has made robust deployments by enhancing troop levels in each district of the Karamoja sub-region to curb cattle rustling.
This follows a resolution of Parliament urging government to immediately stop cattle rustling and restore peace, security and stability in the sub-regions of Teso, Lango, Acholi, Karamoja, Bugisu and Sebei.
According to the State Minister for Defence, Hon. Jacob Oboth, the UPDF trained and passed out 11,449 Local Defence Forces between April and June 2022, who are deployed in Karamoja and neighbouring affected districts.
He said this during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 24 November 2022 chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.
“With the re-launch of Usalama kwa wote operations in July 2021, a total of 631 guns were recovered by May 2022 and the operation is ongoing,” Oboth said.
He added that the governments of Uganda and Kenya on 06 April 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to combat cross-border animal rustling and small arms proliferation.
The resolution also tasked government to verify and pay compensation to Ugandans who have lost lives, livestock and property to cattle rustlers.
The Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, told Parliament that government is in the process of compensating for the cattle lost in Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions.
He said that 17,687 persons have so far been paid a total of Shs49.34 billion, with Shs654.29 million remaining unspent due to bounced payments.
In the Acholi sub-region, seven out of eight districts received compensation payments, except Omoro District; and in Teso sub-region, 11 out 12 districts received compensation payments, except Kumi District.
Kumi Municipality MP, Hon. Silas Aogon, asked why the district had not received any compensation.
“In the districts of Kumi and Omoro, we sent them cards where they were to put their details but they came back totally messed up. So we have sent them a new bundle and the money that was allocated was sent to districts that had completed registration,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
Parliament also resolved that a law be enacted to adequately and specifically criminalise and make raiding a very expensive venture.
The Attorney General said government is reviewing the Penal Code Act in that regard.
The State Minister for Agriculture Hon. Fred Kyakulaga said the ministry in collaboration with Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) to address cattle rustling, theft and animal health.
“Government is formulating a law on the LITS application that will make it mandatory for all livestock to be registered, tagged and reflected on A National Livestock Database,” Kyakulaga added.
Parliament also resolved that government provides free compulsory primary and secondary education to Karamoja for 10 years, as a mindset change strategy against the culture of cattle rustling.
State Minister for Higher Education, Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo, said his ministry is implementing a policy of free universal primary and secondary education in all parts of the country, including Karamoja.
The Deputy Speaker deferred the debate on the responses by the ministers to Tuesday, 29 November 2022.