Botched Iron Sheets Deal Lands Karamoja Minister in Trouble

February 16, Thursday 2023

Mr. Paul Lokol, LC5 Nabilatuk district

By Timothy Eodu & Edward Akaki-Karamoja

A deal gone wrong between Karamoja leaders and Minister for Karamoja affairs, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu has landed the latter in trouble after the Internal Security Organisation-ISO arrested her Mother and brother for allegedly possessing government iron sheets meant for Karamoja’s reformed Karacunas.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister dated 19th October 2022 seen by Karamoja News, Karamoja District Chairpersons and Mayors warned that any diversion from the original list of beneficiaries that was generated by grassroots leaders would be more disastrous to them as leaders and government or even hamper the current disarmament exercise since the Karacunas who handed over guns voluntarily are the target beneficiaries.

“The purpose of this letter therefore Rt. Hon. Prime Minister is to request you to use your office to maintain the original position of government of distributing 16 goats to 15 Karacunas and 26 iron sheets to 7 others per parish. This is because the beneficiaries were competently identified, verified and approved through an elaborate process as guided by OPM,” reads the letter in part.

However, the LC5 chairpersons have since revealed that the OPM leadership convened a meeting with some of their area members of parliament in Kampala and agreed that each Member of Parliament be given 1500 iron sheets and LC5s be given 500 pieces of iron sheets each.

Mr. Paul Komol Lotee, LC5 Kotido district

Mr. Paul Komol Lotee the LC5 Chairperson Kotido district said as soon as they learned of a controversial meeting between the Mister for Karamoja affairs and area MPs, they had to travel to Kampala to lodge complaints deterring OPM from any diversion from the original list.

Komol demanded that the Ministry for Karamoja affairs should come out clear about the distribution of the gala goats since other people in areas such as Moroto Municipality, Central Division Kotido Municipality and other Sub Counties have since not benefitted.

He also says the over 100, 000 iron sheets must be delivered to the 11 local governments in the region in order to transform the livelihoods of the transformed Karacunas while distancing from a possible “bribe” of 500 iron sheets for them as chairpersons and mayors.

Meanwhile Mr. Paul Lokol the LC5 Nabilatuk said they as Karamoja chairpersons and Mayors distance themselves from such a dubious deal between the Minister and her close allies. He tasked the Minister to make public who she struck the deal with to take iron sheets to Manafwa but also demanding that she resigns.

Mr. Lokol called for the immediate arrest of the Minister and her collaborators for proper investigation since it may not be clear whether it is her first time doing the same. He said as area leaders, they were aware of a deal to deny youths the iron sheets by bribing leaders.

The Mayor Moroto Municipality, Mr. Ismail Muhammed said that since the day Hon. Kitutu was appointed Minister for Karamoja Affairs, she has been too arrogant to them and not willing to listen or even work with them but would rather impose her own work methods that do not benefit the region.

Mayor Moroto Municipality, Mr. Ismail Muhammed

Mr. Ismail challenged other Ministries, Departments and Agencies to come clear on what strategies they have laid in place to transform the region as it seems most people are taking advantage of the region to benefit other areas or themselves.

John Paul Kodet the LC5 Napak district said the Minister has abused the NRM principal of patriotism and for social economic transformation which intend to change the region and the country at large, the over 1.4 million people of Karamoja, the area leaders and her office and as such she has to resign.

 

Kodet said the selection procedure had guidelines sent from OPM and the whole process was in order with everyone represented in the selection, vetting and verification committees right from village to district level but it’s unfortunate that some people decided to include their relatives in the lists as alleged by the Minister.

 

He called upon other MDAs to learn a lesson out of the current mess so that they do not use Karamoja as a conduit to develop other places instead; they should be able to deliver what belongs to Karamoja for its development like other places.

Nangole Joseph Lobot the Amudat LC5 said as leaders, they were very much aware of what their communities were to receive but if all leaders in the region were also to benefit, mathematically the threshold of the over 100.000 iron sheets meant for the target groups would have not been met.

Nangole noted that in any project implementation, any delay signifies some kind of fraud and as such the chairpersons in the region reached out to OPM through a letter after realizing the difference between time of distribution of goats and iron sheets.

Nangole faulted the Minister for masterminding division among the Karamoja leadership especially after leaders tried to halt distribution of gala goats until the region stabilizes from the insecurity but the minister said she had spoken with chairpersons and yet she had not.

Through the joint presser held in Moroto district, the region’s lc5 chairpersons and mayors unanimously denounced any involvement in the iron sheets deal but also called for the resignation and arrest of the Minister with all her dealers within and those outside the region to serve justice to the Karimojong people.

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