Pr. Alfred Komagum, the Provincial Overseer of NFBPC in East Acholi said their number one concern is that the trade show deviated from its theme of digitizing the economy and is instead focusing on entertainment and the negative acts that come with it.
A section of religious leaders in Kitgum has called
for the review of the agenda of the annual trade show in the district, saying it is mainly corrupting the morals of the young. The exhibition, which is organized by Kitgum Business Leaders
Forum was initiated in 2012, with the aim of sharing experiences and learning
new methods of doing business.
However, in the past few years, there have been complaints
from both leaders and sections of the community that the trade show is losing
its meaning. They argue that the trade fair has become an avenue for underage children to involve
in immorality and for thugs to commit crimes.
This year’s trade show started on January 13 and was
scheduled to end on January 22, 2023, under the theme "Enhancing Business growth
through digitization.” However, the trade fair was extended following complaints from the exhibitors, saying they had not made sufficient sales. On Tuesday, leaders from
the National Fellowship of Born Again and Pentecostal Churches-NFBPC aired
their concerns at the press briefing where they asked the district leaders to act immediately before more
children are misled.
Pr. Alfred Komagum, the Provincial Overseer of NFBPC in East
Acholi said their number one concern is that the trade show deviated from its
theme of digitizing the economy and is instead focusing on entertainment and
the negative acts that come with it.
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Pr. Komagum said the community is raising complaints about
how the trade show is being held, saying a number of cases of rape and attacks
have been registered on children who are allowed at the trade show at
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Pr. Norman Okot, the Overseer of Kitgum District under NFBPC
questioned why the component of dancing was included in an event that was meant
to boost trade.
He said they decided to voice their concerns because
they are messengers of God’s message and is imperative that they step in when
things are not being done the right way.
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Pr. Okot suggested that religious leaders should be included in the preparations of the trade show so that they help in planning how it
should be run. He noted that right now the trade show is only benefiting the
organizers and asked them to assess the impact the trade show has had since
inception and judge if it is worth continuing with.
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Bishop David Otto Idrifua, the National Elder representing
Acholi Sub-Region at NFBPC said the trade show in its initial stages was a glory,
an eye-opener, and an avenue for exposure to the business world. He, however, says that currently, it is fueling crime in the municipality.
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Pastor Vincent Odokonyero of Voice of Salvation and Healing
Church blamed parents for leaving their children to move at night and engage
in all sorts of activities that corrupt their morals.
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Pr. Odokonyero also appealed to the youth to guard their lives,
knowing how they turn up in the future largely lies in their behavior now.
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A trader who traveled from Kampala who spoke on condition of
anonymity acknowledged that the trade show registers more people who go to
drink beer than buy goods.
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Atek, the organizer of the trade show, refuted allegations that the trade show
is promoting immorality.
she has heard complaints that some people have died because of the trade show,
but she is yet to receive an official report on such claims and has not seen a dead
body in that regard.
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of the meetings prior to the trade show, leaders in Kitgum advised the organizers to incorporate creative ways of making the tradeshow profitable, saying it is
more of a concert. This was after the organizers reported that they
registered a loss of 14 million Shillings after hosting up to 98 exhibitors of
beverages and food out of the 154 exhibitors, followed by entertainment, which
had twelve exhibitors in the April 2022 exhibition.