Kotido, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 523 reformed warriors in Kotido district received iron sheets from the ongoing distribution campaign by the Office of the Prime Minister across Karamoja sub region.
Kotido district received a consignment of 17,316 pieces of iron sheets to be given out to 523 beneficiaries who are both reformed warriors and vulnerable members who are peace activists.
The iron sheets are part of the reward from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to the Karamojong warriors who voluntarily embrace peace and surrender guns in their possession to security forces.
Sabina Adong, one of the selected vulnerable beneficiaries from Panyangara Sub County confirmed receipt of 26 iron sheets for constructing a house and a toilet. Adong said that she used to move over 10 kilometers away from home in search of grass for thatching huts. She noted that the situation was made worse this season because all the grass has been burnt down by herdsmen so that they get fresh grass for animals.
She noted that women have been raped by cattle rustlers in the bush while others killed by wild animals as they look for grass for building.
Apalopus Logira, a reformed warrior from Lokitelebu Sub County said that the iron sheets have come at the right time when he as preparing his site to start laying bricks. He said that he plans to build a commercial house at the trading center so he can get money from the rent.
‘’I’m majorly looking at something that can sustain me economically without going back to wilderness, it’s a reason I want to build in the trading center,” explained Logira.
Logira vowed to persuade some of his colleagues who are still hiding with illegal guns to consider surrendering them to the security forces so that they can also benefit from the government programs.
Gabriel Lomuria, another reformed warrior expressed his joy asserting that it is the first time he is getting such a big reward from the government. He noted that most of the government relief items have not been reaching them and sometimes go to the relatives of the people in charge of distribution.
He vowed to sell his two bulls to facilitate the construction processes and also get some starting capital for the business.
Rose Lilly Akello, the state minister for Ethics and Integrity who was presiding over the distribution launch on Wednesday warned the beneficiaries against selling the iron sheets. Akello said that they are going to use the records for tracking the beneficiaries and those who will sell their donation will face the law.
She urged the beneficiaries to use the iron sheet to build better houses so as to upgrade their living conditions.
Ambrose Onoria, the Kotido Resident District Commissioner revealed that they are going to use the first list which has a total of 523 beneficiaries earmarked to benefit from the first distribution exercise.
Onoria further appreciated that more Karachunas had continued to surrender guns with the intent of benefiting from the government incentives. He observed that the iron sheets are not enough and some people who recently handed over their guns are complaining.
Margret Aleper, the Kotido district woman Member of Parliament observed that the donation has been long overdue and urged the beneficiaries not to misuse the iron sheets. Aleper said that the beneficiaries should do everything possible to construct the houses so that value for money can be realized.
She urged the local leaders to monitor and ensure that the project moves on smoothly by guiding the beneficiaries where necessary to avoid mismanagement of the iron sheets.
The government is distributing the first consignment of 97,552 iron sheets to 3,752 beneficiaries across all the nine districts of Karamoja.