|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 24 March 2011 11:37|
Teso sub region which was once peaceful, well governed and prosperous with high agricultural productivity both in the areas of food crops and cash crops, cattle and fruits. Educations standards were among the best in the country. However it is now rated as one of the poorest regions of Uganda.
This document details the ten (10) calamities that befell this sub region in the last 25 years that have plagued peace and development in this part of Eastern Uganda. It outlines the characteristics of each of these calamities and the debilitating effects they have had on the lives of whole communities. It also outlines government’s initiatives in the recovery and development programmes that to some extent helped to alleviate the socio-economic consequences of these calamities but goes ahead to call for more work on the part of government and other stakeholders based on what has been done for other regions such as the Luwero Triangle, Northern Uganda and Karamoja; regions that have faced problems of similar magnitude to Teso.
The document concludes with some key recommendations and possible action areas to help improve the current situation in Teso. These are (i) Creating a Government Coordinating Mechanism for the Teso Region as in other similarly affected regions (ii) Establish a dedicated program under the Coordinating Mechanism to address Teso specific issues including restocking and reparations for losses that was started but not completed in the past.
Teso sub region comprises the districts of Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Amuria, Kumi, Bukedea and Soroti and additionally; the new districts of Serere and Ngora and Pallisa. The sub-region is home to an estimated 2.5 million people of Iteso and Kumam ethnicities. This region has experienced a unique and prolonged period of intermittent armed conflict and human rights abuses compared to other areas of Uganda. Some conflicts date way back to the 1950’s with different key players with equally varying intentions, missions and expectations. For the purposes of this document, conflicts occurring in the last 25 years are discussed and include among others the following:
1. The historical Karamojong cattle rustlers/warriors whose interest was and is still cattle rustling and looting property, with the raping of women and in the killings of some victims especially men occurring in the process;
2. The Alice Lakwena spiritual/political rebellion against the National Resistance Army (NRA) government of 1987-1988, which swept a greater part of northern Uganda and spread to Teso, Tororo and only got stopped in Busoga after being effectively neutralized by government forces;
3. The loose coalition of indigenous Iteso fighting groups who with time emerged to form the Uganda People’s Army (UPA) with the intention of overthrowing the then new government of NRA under President Museveni; this had and negative impact as average number of children and male adults had declined due to deaths, abductions, in migration and departure for military/rebel service.
4. Some undisciplined elements within the NRA government troops who partly committed atrocities (The 1989 Mukura massacre) as they aimed to crack down the then UPA rebellion in Teso;
5. The emergence of different and widely spread groups of thugs locally known as “Lu’osupulia” who took advantage of the total break down of law and order and whose agenda was bent on looting property, rape women and cause fear and
confusion up to the early 1990’s when the NRM/A government restored the
much needed order.
6. The intrusion in 2003 into the then relatively peaceful Teso region of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under the command of Joseph Kony that had brought untold suffering to the people of northern Uganda by killing, maiming, abducting children, raping women and mutilating victims leading to the confinement of hundreds of thousands of people in Internally Displaced People’s camps with the attendant consequences. This same group spread their horrendous and diabolic activities to Teso;
7. The outbreak of floods due to climatic changes in 2007 that led to the destruction of food crops, housing, road and other infrastructure and the disruption of social and economic life of the people of this region that had just returned from internal displacement in camps under the LRA. An estimated 8,500 acres of crop were affected and Ugandan government in Sept 19, 2007 declared state of emergency in flood-hit northern and eastern region where severe floods had killed nearly 30 people and cut off 25 districts from the rest of the country and schools stayed closed as floods ravaged especially in the districts of Amuria, Katakwi and Bukedea.
8. The subsequent outbreak of famine in 2008 due to lack of food whose root was the outbreak of floods that had washed away food in the gardens. This brought immense and unquantifiable levels of suffering to the people. However, the government together with the civil society, the international community and well wishers came to the rescue of the people through provision of food, social services and the rebuilding of the infrastructure.
9. The subsequent occurrence of a prolonged drought in 2009 that was a result of global climatic changes. Teso’s long exposure to irregular climate patterns has led to chronic food insecurity. A dry spell that began in April 2009 withered fields of cassava, maize, millet, beans and groundnuts, and precipitated a food crisis in an already malnourished population. Affected communities initially uprooted half-matured crops for food, then resorted to eating mangoes and wild
fruits, turned to eating swamp weeds and leaves, and even recycling the dregs
of millet-beer (adakai) into an unwholesome porridge.
10. And as if to add “insult to the injury” some areas like Kumi and Bukedea have again in the first half of 2010 experienced some level of flooding although not comparable to that of 2006, but its effects on livelihood, especially food security will not go unnoticed.
Impact of the Karamojong Raids on Teso
It is paramount to state that while the 1987-1992 Iteso rebel activities and the Alice Lakwena were subsequently crushed, the Karamojong warriors continued with their cattle rustling and attendant atrocities up to the early parts of 2001-2003 although this has drastically reduced when government came with the comprehensive disarmament program for Karamoja and the sealing of the porous borders of Kenya and Southern Sudan which used to be routes for gun illegal arms proliferation in the region.
The horrific and prolonged consequences of this conflict devastated the society – a society that at one time was reduced to loss of livelihood, loss of cows, loss of life and in some areas, concentration in displaced camps where people languished without adequate assistance and protection. The conflict also destroyed the culture and social fabric of the Iteso leading to large numbers of orphans, who fend for themselves: The chronic civil conflict that characterised the region led to severe suffering of the people with numerous lives being lost, with men, women and children who then lived in Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDP) which became breeding grounds for malnutrition and deaths resulting from cholera, measles, and preventable diseases.
The destruction of the centuries-old Iteso economic way of life with the wiping away of the entire region’s herds of cattle, destruction of infrastructure and that to the continuous decline in socio-economic growth that makes Teso lag behind in terms of development compared to other regions of Uganda. For example Teso does not have any substantial industry since the collapse of the Soroti Meat Parkers, once the
Africa’s second biggest meat parking industry, only second to the one in Durban, South Africa, which was a major source of employment in the region.
A number of the population was also subjected to multiple physical and psychological tortures and massive violations of the rights of people by armed groups of Karamojong including rape and defilement of women and girls, the prevalence of a general atmosphere of fear and disenchantment amongst the Iteso. The population of Teso was exposed to circumstances that disfigured some of the survivors i.e. the effect of gunshots during Karamojong incursions. As a result of roles of women, in a situation of conflict, they often endured much of the suffering and pain of conflicts. As most men and male youth were annihilated in war, women and children became the traumatised survivors. They suffered physical illnesses of torture (gynaecological and surgical) but even more commonly they suffered from psychological disorders (Mirembe et al, 1999; Musisi et al, 1999, Musisi et al, 2000; Mirembe et al, 2001; Beyeza et al, 2001 and Kinyanda and Musisi, 2001).
Sexual abuse was widespread in war situations and women bore the brunt. The common forms of torture faced by women in both conflicts included; gunshot injuries, beatings and kickings, tying kandoya, having close family members killed sexual torture and loss of property and livestock. Women and children have faced the most gruesome experiences for their vulnerability and expectations of society in times of conflict.
The period of insurgency also led to the breakdown of education and health care delivery systems, high level of poverty and destitution among the affected communities, and some Iteso have continued to suffer the effects of chronic wounds, scars and various forms of disfigurement and disability up to date.
Traumatization caused by insurgency has chronically plagued the Teso region and led to a considerable amount of psychiatric and physical morbidity as well as impairment of function for a section of the Teso population. In the recently undertaken studies in the Teso region in Uganda entitled, “Documentation of women’s experience in armed conflict, Teso experience 1987-2001” and “The report of the emergency intervention in Katakwi IDP” camps, reported a multitude of psychological problems including chronic
alcoholism, suicide, madness (psychosis) and chronic fear. (Walugembe, Tumushabe, and Sauerborn August 2002).
Young children were often faced with major problems such trauma of loosing one or both parents. These were major problems especially in the camps. This resulted into behavioural problems such as stealing; aggression and antisocial behaviour among the children in these camps.
The major problem that emerged was the complete breakdown of cultural values and the Teso culture itself. The desperate situation in the camps combined with the restricted support to handing out relief items created a culture of dependency and selfishness.
Prolonged war affected the demographic and social characteristics of a population. The different gender is also differentially affected by war on some of the socio-demographic characteristics. Studies previously undertaken by Isis-WICCE (Tumushabe, 2001), in war affected Teso noted that the average number of children and male adults had declined due to deaths, abductions, immigration and departure for military/rebel service. It was also noted in that study that the absence of men in homes affected the family dynamics placing more responsibilities on women.
It is also worth noting that even in areas where people were confined in camps like Aketa, Magoro and Ngariam, the Karamojong warriors even went further to attack them even where some level security was provided by government through the Anti Stock Theft Units (ASTU) and other security departments. In the year 2001, between the months of February and August, there were approximately 55 attacks in Katakwi by Karamojong raids. More than 73 people were reported killed from February to August 2001 and 3000 cattle had been rustled (Hurinet, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 2 Issue 5, May-August, 2001).
The effects of the LRA War on Teso
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under the command of Joseph Kony which had brought untold suffering to the people of northern Uganda spread to Teso sub region in 2003. It is difficult to estimate the impact the LRA conflict had on the people of Teso sub region. Indeed, there was substantial suffering and loss of lives of people in this war as atrocities of mass killings, maiming, and arson were done by the rebels along with human rights abuses. Children were abducted and forced to kill as girls were raped and defiled by commanders of the LRA. Those who escaped spoke of the horrific prevalence of rape and defilement in under the LRA. Some could not walk properly because of the wounds in their private parts. These showed the brutality inflicted upon those who are abducted, many of whom become the same individuals who were then forced to carry out atrocities. The shocking, brutal reality of this war was that those who were forcibly recruited, and those who are killed, raped, or themselves abducted, all came from the same communities. There is tangible horror of still lingering in Teso. A vivid example this was the demise of the Late Mr. George William Epel of Katakwi, a senior educationist who was killed in a landmine during his full-hearted and patriotic service of the people.
Poverty was a direct consequence of the war that led to the looting and/or destruction of people’s property and especially food. It was evident that the LRA attacked Teso in June 2003, a season of near harvest and stole/destroyed food as people scampered to live in the camps.
Widespread displacement was perhaps the most visible impact of the conflict and served as a physical reminder of the consequences of war on the everyday lives of thousands of civilians as thousands were displaced and confined to camps in the districts of Soroti, Katakwi, Amurai and Kaberamaido with a spill over effect to other districts of Teso.
Even as camps became the safe havens for people, the living conditions there became extremely poor. There was hunger, disease, insecurity, malnutrition and the death of many, especially children due to disease outbreaks. Women and children in the camps are the ones that suffer the most. The lack of food led them to risk going to
the farms every day to look for food to feed the children. Women are raped by both rebels and sometimes by criminals.
The impact of displacement should not be interpreted solely in economic terms: it should also be seen as having eroded the very roots of Iteso culture as community laws were no longer applicable to situations on the ground leading to social and family break-ups. Cultural taboos were being broken by families having to live close together, and social support networks within the society got eroded as life become “survival for the fittest and everyone for themselves”. Community social cohesion was destroyed as there was no privacy, no morality in the camps. There were so many burials in mass graves, something that is totally against the wish of the dead people.
The increase in the number of “night commuters” to the streets of Soroti town and other urban centres in Teso further highlighted the disruption within families and communities. Every night, as many as 5000 people, mainly children, walked into towns to sleep on verandas out of fear of LRA attacks during the night.
Thus, the many negative consequences of displacement led people to feel economically and politically disempowered. Such perceptions, in turn, have come to be seen as ongoing causes of frustration and alcoholism. Indeed, it is with reference to this issue of frustration that many people were blamed for laziness when hunger stuck in 2008.
The results of these conflicts was a massive disruption of the social, economic and political and especially health delivery systems, education and the enormous violation of the rights of the entire Iteso population.
Although the 25 or so years of armed conflict on Teso have had both short and long term impact on the population. Conflict and/or war is usually perpetuated by men who get actively engaged in armed combat while women and children become the victims of atrocities due to their vulnerability. The destruction of lives, property, infrastructure and the disruption of way of life of the people are the subsequent effects of conflict that require post conflict rehabilitation and restoration of normalcy.
Natural disasters that affect/ed Teso Sub Region
In 2008, Teso in Uganda was one of the worst affected areas in the 17 countries throughout Africa with the destruction of homes, crops, food, livestock and infrastructure. North-eastern Uganda with a flood zone stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea has subsequently been identified as one of the flood areas in Africa (Elizabeth Byrs from the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and so predisposing the people in these areas to vulnerability.
The consequences of floods were:
Economic loss: The flooding in Teso caused great damage to the livelihoods of a number of people as any houses (although most were made of mud and wattle) got destroyed leaving a majority of people homeless and having to start afresh with rebuilding huts for settlements at a period when acquiring the local building materials used in reconstruction competed with the desire for food.
Destruction of the Environment the farm land: The flooding also led to the damage of roads, collapse or weakening of bridges or traffic which affected the daily and subsequent operations. For example, the main road to Soroti was impassable due to flooding at Awoja. This meant that the only route to Soroti was the much longer route through Ngora, Agu and Brookes Corner, a bad murram road which also passes over a bridge over the swamp, although this road has been worked on, a number of others that were affected in other areas need to be worked on.
Flooding brought too much water which will caused damage to farmland and hence affected agricultural activity which is the back born of the Iteso with an estimated 8,500 acres of crop having were destroyed
Diseases and death: Flooding brought infectious diseases that affect both human and animals. The big problem for humans was the escalation of malaria while animals died due to occurance of strange diseases associated with flood waters. Flooding in some cases caused death and injuries
Water as one of the most essential commodities for human survival, second only to breathable air is very essential. So when there was drought in Teso, it meant having too little water to meet current demands, a condition that became difficult or for animals and humans resulting in serious health, social, economic impacts with far-reaching consequences.
GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO REVIVE AND DEVELOP TESO
It is worth noting that even as Teso sub region withered the atrocities committed on it by different actors, the government was always its partner together with other civil society actors. The government of Uganda, through the able leadership of President Yoweri Museveni and the vision of his popular NRM party, together other national and international stakeholders have in the previous years drawn various programmes to address the impact of conflict on populations as well as triggering economic growth and independence among Ugandans in general.
The creation of such programmes and institutions like the Presidential Commission for Teso (PCT), Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Program (NURP) phase I &2, The Cattle Restocking Program (Under the National Livestock Productivity Improvement Project (NLPIP) funded by the African Development Bank (ADB), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) implemented a re-stocking programme in a number of Teso districts including: Bukedea, Katakwi, Kumi, Pallisa and Soroti), The “Etandikwa” scheme, The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), Decentralization, Plan for the Modernization of Agriculture (PMA), The Poverty Eradication Program, the Universal Primary Education (UPE), Universal Secondary Education (USE), The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), The Prosperity for All (Bona Bagaggawale), supporting the creation of SACCOs and others have or partly addresses the question conflict rehabilitation and restoration of normalcy, poverty eradication and development
PERSISTENT NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES
Migration or relocation
Faced with the other impacts of drought, conflict and famine, many able bodied and educated people of Teso flee to other areas of Uganda in search of a new homes with security, a better supply of water, enough food, and without the disease and conflict that were or are present in the place they are long lived. This mass exodus to other areas such as Buganda and Busoga led to the displacement and loss of intellectual capital to other areas. People with potential to provide strategic and visionary leadership to the post conflict and disaster prone Teso sub region moved to buy land elsewhere leaving behind an unstable leadership to confront the challenges of addressing the complex legacy and problems of war, conflicts and natural disasters. This is evident even today as many Iteso have become established in Kampala and failed to make substantial development projects in Teso as their motherland and some are discouraged by tensions generated by unnecessary conflicts between the leadership of diverse quality. This is in contrast to other regions that have developed through the efforts and investments of educated and able members who have jobs in Kampala, other towns in Uganda and abroad.
Participation in economic activity helps an individual to improve his/her well-being but even with the numerous multi-faceted and well designed rehabilitation and development programmes; Teso sub region has and is still identified to be among the poorest regions in Uganda; characterized by the largest depth of poverty inequality. It is characterized by the poor having large mean household sizes, low education, low mean household income, and low expenditure on health ggiven the fact that this region has experienced a unique and prolonged period of intermittent armed conflict and natural disasters compared to other areas of Uganda occurring in the last 25 or 30 years with subsequent effects being massive disruption of the social, economic and political and especially health delivery systems, education and the enormous violation of human rights abuses.
Evidence from the last census ranks the Iteso households as second from the bottom after the Karamojong in terms household possessions and well being! This status
reflects a significant shift for the worse compared with data from previous household surveys and calls for special and affirmative action from government as the situation has arisen during the NRM reign.
In their study: Determinants of regional poverty in Uganda 2002; Francis Nathan Okurut, Jonathan J.A.O. Odwee and Asaf Adebua identified the educational level of household head, household size and displacement to be significant determinants of poverty at multivariate levels with the north and east being highly affected by these factors. It worth stating that while a majority of Teso households may be relatively better off according to the national poverty line, but the region is actually be poor given the circumstances that have befallen this region which is characterized by the poor having large mean household sizes, low education, low mean household income, low expenditure on health and low chance of child survival, as well as the high concentration of the poor in rural areas. The poor households in Teso region have older household heads, while the mean remittances are lowest. At the multivariate level, education of household head, household size, region of residence and displacement are found to be significant in determining household poverty status in Uganda.
Low standards of Education:
Education standards in Teso have fallen terribly in the last 15 years yet education is vital for boosting the productivity of the human factor and making people more aware of opportunities for earning a living. It has been found that a one-year increase in the average length of schooling could push up GDP by 3% (Grootaert, 1997). It is then right to conclude that a certain minimum level of education is essential for increasing household productivity and income earning potential which due to interruptions caused by conflicts and disasters in Teso, the majority of households whose heads have no education will continue to be poor.
A study “Performance in Primary Education in the Teso Region” by Silas Oluka, PhD and Charles Opolot-Okurut PhD, submitted to the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO in July 2008 noted consistent poor performance of pupils in all the districts of the Teso region, comprising of the districts of Amuria, Bukedea, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kumi and Soroti.
Uganda National Examinations Board (UNED) 2007 figures indicate that in the past eleven years, the Teso region had less than 100 pupils who scored aggregate 4-12. In the years 2001and 2000, the whole of Teso region had only 28 out of 1250 and 20 out of 1525 candidates respectively, in Division 1. The bulk of candidates have performance in Division 2 (i.e. aggregate 13-20). For a country committed to quality education, this level of passing is appalling. The completion of primary school has been associated not only with large economic returns but also with many social returns, including, in the case of women, lower fertility, lower infant and child mortality, better child health and education, reductions in gender inequality within the family, and later ages of marriage (Summers, 1994) as key tools to social and economic transformation.
This report also revealed that the surge in primary school enrolment has not been matched by quality performance, particularly in the north and north eastern districts of Uganda compared to the relatively more peaceful parts of the country, such as Kampala, Mukono, Kabale, Mbale, Mbarara, Jinja, Iganga, Tororo and Masaka, the relative failure rate (ratio of failures to total enrolment) is noticeably much smaller.
A graphic illustration of PLE Div 1 Performance between Teso and Busoga sub-regions
Despite the notable improvement in enrolment since the onset of UPE, Teso region has fielded very poor results at the annual national Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) for a larger part of the last twenty years. The impact of insurgency, cattle rustling, and a spate of natural disasters such as the 1998 and 2007 floods have created significant and long-standing social dislocation and deprivation that have combined to entrench people in the region into perpetual trauma for the last twenty-one years.
Clock wise: 1: Lessons in progress in two “separate” classrooms. 2: pupils in a crowded classroom. 3. The state of a school’s toilet. 4: A pupil in her un cemented classroom. All photos courtesy of CEREDO and GIU during their rapid assessment of the factors for low performance in Bukedea District 2010.
A similar or even worst situation is likely to be found if a research on the performance in post primary education (secondary and vocational studies) is carried out in the Teso Sub region.
Annual household income: As expected, poor households earn much less annual income than non-poor households. Compared to other regions of the country, even those that faced similar conflicts like the Luwero Triangle, there is a significant difference in the mean incomes of poor and non-poor households between and within regions. The income differentials between regions may be explained by the location of major industries and the capital city effect, which render high paid employment opportunities to those nearest.
In a survey compiled by “the independent think tank Fanaka Kwa Wote”, whose focus is on prosperity, peace and progress in the Great Lakes, the report exposes stark and skewed levels of wealth and poverty among different tribes/ethnic groups.
The Fanaka report is based on analysis of data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Census 1991 and 2002, and the 2008 UBOS study, “Spatial Trends of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda: 2002-2005”. It focuses on the 21 most populous ethnic groups that comprise 94% of the population of Uganda based on the 2002 National Census. It ranks according to nine indicators of economic well-being. It does not explain why some groups are better off than others, although one can infer to some extent that Teso and other regions really trail far behind others.
The report has a “composite index” that ranks ethnic groups by their level of consumption of basic necessities like sugar, soap and blankets, employment in jobs other than subsistence farming, ownership of property like permanent houses and radios, health and education. The Baganda lead the well-off list followed by Banyoro, Batoro, Banyankole, and Bahororo. On the other hand, 10 of the worst-off ethnic groups are from northern and eastern Uganda. Of these 50% are from northern Uganda. The Karamojong are the worst-off among the worst followed from below by the Iteso, Acholi, Langi and Madi.
According to the report, the Karamojong and Iteso have the worst education levels, worst consumption of sugar and soap, worst level of toilet usage, worst permanent house ownership, and use virtually no electricity.
Large household size: There is a link between poverty and household size and so the larger the household, the higher the dependency ratio and its tendency to perpetuate poverty in the long run. In the case of the Teso subsistence economy, the large household (average of 5 per Household according to the 2002 Uganda Population and Housing Census), has tended to increase competition for land resource use between food crops and cash crops, which is coupled with declining soil productivity. This has resulted in low output, low household income and the situation
has often even been made worse with the advent of the results of global climatic changes such as long drought spells and floods that hit the region hard in the recent past.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN OTHER REGIONS
1. Ministry for Luwero Triangle
The area where the guerrilla war waged between 1981 and 1986 in Uganda by the National Resistance Army (NRA) against bad regimes of Milton Obote, and later that of Tito Okello where many died under government forces (Obote and Okello governments). The NRA government under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni that disposed these dictatorships later established a department/ministry to respond to the needs of this post conflict region. The department is currently under the political leadership of Hon. Nyombi Thembo, State Minister for Luwero Triangle with the following core responsibilities:
· Ensuring effective implementation of Government funded projects and activities in the regions of Luwero Triangle.
· To initiate, design and coordinate special programmes and projects for troubled and disadvantaged areas in the Triangle.
· Ensuring fulfilment of Presidential pledge to war victims and general rehabilitation of the war affected regions.
· Operationalizing the Luwero Triangle Development Plan;
· Sensitizing the communities in Luwero Triangle to improve Household Incomes.
· Ensuring that all pending war debts are cleared;
· Coordinating and monitoring the Luwero Triangle Development Programme activities.
2. Ministry for Northern Uganda
In response to the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in Northern Uganda, the government of Uganda set up this department under the political leadership of Hon. David Wakikona largely to champion Pacification and Development programmes which comprise among others, the Northern Uganda rehabilitation.
The department is mainly in charge of the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) framework, Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Programme (NUREP) and the Northern Uganda Data Center (NUDC).
Its Strategic Objectives are:
· Consolidation of State authority;
· Rebuilding and empowering communities;
· Peace building and reconciliation
· Transformation of Northern Uganda′s economy through increased investments in infrastructure and industrialization.
4. Ministry for Karamoja Affairs
The department is part of the Pacification and Development programmes under the
political leadership of Hon Janet Museveni (Minister of State for Karamoja).
Its core activities are;-
· Contribute to human security and promote conditions for development in Karamoja.
· Develop and implement comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable disarmament programmes to enhance peace building and development in Karamoja.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR TESO
1. The Creation of a Coordinating Government Entity
Borrowing a leaf from other regions like Luwero Triangle, Northern Uganda and Karamoja that faced similar or magnitude of conflicts, the government of Uganda has been able, through the Office of the Prime Minister, to create line ministries with special budgetary allocations specifically targeted at mitigating the impacts of conflicts in those regions. It is in the same vein that a special government coordinating entity for Teso is called for. Although government once created a Presidential Commission for Teso in the 90’s, its impact was much more on working to end the internal revolts in Teso and a little on post conflict rehabilitation and development. It is evident that this Commission was closed down prematurely.
Although some may argue that a lot has already been done and people have benefited from the multidisciplinary and integrated approaches that the Government and the civil society have used in managing the various problems faced by the people. There is still a lot more to be done towards alleviation of these problems through this coordinating entity as opposed to the local government units working alone and disparately. The Teso problem is comprehensive and some local districts can not afford to deal with the problems independently. This coordinating entity will address the impact of past conflicts among others;
· Undertake critical coordination among the districts and government departments. Design well coordinated rehabilitation programmes geared to restoration confidence, better governance and leadership and the rule of law in the region.
· Overseeing and coordinate the delivery of social services including health care, education, promoting awareness on hygiene, sexual behaviour, family planning, and training in small-scale agricultural development. Addressing the considerable psycho-traumatisation that this region suffered and continues to suffered will required for a take-off stage;
· Collaborate with other government ministries/departments such as the ministry for Karamoja affairs to tackle the problem of cattle rustling by Karamojong warriors through the on-going disarmament program, broadening programmes geared at formal education for both Karamoja and Teso, closing gaps for the proliferation of gun-supply in Karamoja and networking with regional armies since addressing this problem will need co-operation with neighbouring tribes, countries and their governments/leaderships;
· Sensitisation of the communities on various incomes generating activities, address the common natural and disaster related problems to accelerate the development of Teso sub region. This should be targeted at the people who have been afflicted by conflict to work out the relevant programs for rehabilitation, provision of reliable water sources and creation of alternative economic activities;
· Coordinate with the different districts for improved regional planning and service delivery structures, accelerate and increase provision of health care services, including family planning services to the people of Teso, and HIV and Aids which is reported to affect certain communities excessively;
· Put in place deliberate efforts at improving the performance of educational institutions in the UPE and USE and availing wider access to higher education to the impoverished households since currently; apart from the UPE and USE households still bear the full cost of education at higher levels; for poor households that cannot meet the education cost, a loan scheme, payable on completion and attainment of gainful employment, as proposed currently would be the ideal. But this also implies that a graduate from a poor household will take several years servicing the debt, and during that time will not be able to help other members of the household and such a scenario may perpetuate poverty. We appreciate thank government for the opening of the Arapai Campus of Busitema University. In order to bring higher education nearer to the people in the region, two actions are called for: (i) accelerated development and transformation of the Arapai Campus of Busitema University into a full fledged
University , (ii) providing support to the community initiated Teso University as is the case with such other Universities in the country.
· There is need for government through this coordinating entity to design programs to address the economic situation in Teso to allocate more resources to be advanced to people. A credit delivery mechanism targeting poor households specially designed in the form of past “Etandikwa scheme and current SACCOS” be developed by and coordinated by this entity if the region is to come out of poverty as currently poor households do not have access to credit, which has great potential to assist them out of poverty;
· Lobby to increase budgetary allocations for poor districts of Teso to cater for social services for effective poverty alleviation, the planning process and the budgetary allocations should take into account the region-specific poverty lines. Generally, poor households are more predominant in Teso and engage mainly in agriculture with poor infrastructure;
· Coordinate work for the improvement of rural infrastructure like roads as this has potential benefits to enable poor households to come out of poverty (Pellekaan et al., 1995). Improved rural infrastructure would link rural areas to the rest of the market, reduce transport costs and probably increase producer prices due to increased competition.
2. Laying foundations for restoring the traditional wealth of the Iteso
(Cattle)/ Quantification and Restocking/Reparations for war and conflict
a. cattle restocking
This was one of the programmes that the government of Uganda implemented to restore wealth in Teso. The exercise was done by provision of female goats, Boer bucks, in-calf local zebu heifers and bulls. Restocking supported the future aspirations of beneficiaries such as investment in education, livestock
related business, housing and agriculture. The major beneficiaries were women hence it was a good strategy of empowering women.
It is however worth mentioning that this program did not benefit or change the situation much as it had both internal and external threats. The threats to the success of the restocking project were mainly a manner of loan repayment, few animals supplied per household, sale of livestock for payment of fees and livestock raiding.
In order to address poverty in Teso, another restocking project will need appropriate understanding of these factors prior to designing and implementation. In anticipation of the positive results of the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable disarmament programmes geared at enhancing peace and development in Karamoja and the neighbouring regions, it is prudent that a cattle restocking program be drawn for Teso.
b. Quantification and Reparations for war and conflict victims
Proper quantification and reparations of those that lost property during the period of conflicts in Teso need to be undertaken in a well coordinated manner just like the Luwero War Veterans who are being compensated for Property lost during the NRA Liberation Struggle. Through this coordinating entity, a fund to be used as bank for Teso war and conflict victims to give loans to those still alive and the surviving children of the dead ones. This Coordinating Mechanism would constitute a verification and reparations committee to oversee this unfinished work.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 12:12|