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Karamoja Aerial Survey Sensitization Flops: Only UPDF Trying

But in their sensitization, the soldiers sometimes fail to answer technical questions from the communities whose members are eager to know what the aerial survey will bring to their tables. The communities ask of their entitlements in the mining sector and why the planes are flying at lower altitude.
An aircraft for Karamoja aerial survey at Entebbe- courtesy photo.

Audio 3

Stakeholders in the potential exploitation of Karamoja's mineral wealth have left the sensitization of the communities on the ongoing aerial survey to the army.

Since the launch of the Karamoja aerial survey last month in Moroto where all stakeholders were invited to help in sensitization drives, only the army is seen on the ground. They hold radio talk shows, engage communities and their local leaders on the ongoing activities.

But in their sensitization, the soldiers sometimes fail to answer technical questions from the communities that are eager to know what the aerial survey will bring to their tables. The communities ask of their entitlements in the mining sector and why the planes are flying at lower altitude.

Maria Lokut, a resident of Nadunget sub county in Moroto district wonders how the soldiers can take lead in sensitization programs of an aerial survey when the technical people at the ministry and the district watch at a distance.

“The aerial survey is not only a security matter for soldiers to handle but would be an opportunity for the locals in the regions to understand what minerals would possibly be lying underground,” she said.

Brig. Joseph Balukudembe, the 3rd Division Commander says while they were tasked to provide security for the aerial survey, the situation on the ground has forced them to sensitize the communities.

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Emmanuel Lokii, the district male youth councilor says in Moroto says they cannot sensitize the communities without facilitation. Lokii, like the majority of the leaders wants money to be able to reach out to his community about the aerial survey.

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Gerald Eneku, the Regional Mines Inspector said that they have engaged all stakeholders to help in the sensitization of the communities about the ongoing aerial survey activities. He, however, notes that some of the stakeholders are asking for money to enable them talk to the communities.

“It’s mostly the army doing sensitization but local leaders and technical people want allowances to do the exercise”, he said.

When asked whether government put aside funds for sensitization, Eneku was reluctant to respond. 

Ambrose Lotuke, the Kotido District Chairperson says they expected to be supported by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to carry out sensitization but there is no response. He explains that whereas some of the members of the community have heard about the aerial survey, others are still in the dark.

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The plane was expected in Amudat district on Tuesday but according to Betty Chalain, the district vice chairperson, she has not seen anything. The plane has so far carried out aerial surveys in areas of Sebei, Bugisu and Bukedea in Teso Sub Region, according to Eneku.

Karamoja was left out during the country's aerial survey earlier because of insecurity at the time. In the ongoing aerial survey, parts of the neighbouring districts in Sebei, Bugisu, Teso, Lango and Acholi have been included.While in Bukedea, the plane caused anxiety among members of the community, something that halted the activity to allow sensitization of the masses.

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