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Karamoja Leaders Clash Over Tree Cutting

Dr. George Oming, the Kotido Natural Resources Officer, says over 200 bags of charcoal leave the district daily. A big bag of charcoal in Karamoja costs between Shillings 10,000 and 15,000, while a small bag costs between Shillings 5000-8000.
Local community selling charcoal in Campswahili market in Moroto Municipality

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Leaders in Karamoja have traded accusations over the indiscriminate cutting of trees in the region for charcoal burning. Karamoja region is endowed with the natural tree vegetation, which are targeted for charcoal burning and firewood. 

Besides charcoal burning, communities use trees for firewood and constructing fences around their homesteads. Mark Abuku, the Kaabong LC V Chairperson, accuses his colleagues in the region for not doing enough to curb the situation. 

Speaking during a meeting for the development of Lokere water catchment last week, Abuku said some leaders are responsible for the harsh climate conditions in Karamoja. He says that instead of initiating plans to restore the environment, many of them are encouraging residents to burn charcoal. 

Abuku also said none of the leaders in Karamoja has embraced tree planting to offer an example to the residents.   

//Cue in ''They don't lead…

Cue out…would follow''//

Samson Lokeris, the Dodoth East MP in Kaabong who also doubles as the chairperson Karamoja Parliamentary group acknowledged the problem, saying there is need for the leaders to lead by example. Lokeris promised to take up the challenge and plant trees when the rain starts.

//Cue in ''as a leader…

Cue out…firewood''//

However, Ester Anyakun, the Nakapiripirit Woman Member of Parliament, says there is need to create alternative sources of livelihood for the community currently dependent on charcoal burning. She observes that even if the leaders take up tree planting, it will change little as long as the community is helpless.

Pauline Peter Lokongo, the Napak District Natural Resources Officer, says that all the trees that formed the vegetation cover and attracted rains have been cut. Lokongo observes that much as they making efforts to stop massive tree cutting, rapid conservation measures should be embraced by all.

She notes that traders now pay communities in advance to cut trees for charcoal burning.  Zachary Angella, the Moroto District Forest Officer, says close to 100 bags of charcoal are sold within Moroto and other distant towns daily.

Dr. George Oming, the Kotido Natural Resources Officer, says over 200 bags of charcoal leave the district daily. A big bag of charcoal in Karamoja costs between Shillings 10,000 and 15,000, while a small bag costs between Shillings 5000-8000.

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