Kotido Bans Residents from Migrating in Search of Food

In the last two weeks, 200 people, mainly women, and children have been seen boarding trucks daily going to the districts of Teso, Lango, and Acholi.
Some Homes in Kanawat village where people have abandoned as they go to search for food in other districts

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Kotido district residents have been banned from migrating outside the district in search of food from Teso, Lango, and Acholi sub-region regions.

The ban follows the migration of people who were running away from hunger that hit the district. In the last two weeks, 200 people, mainly women, and children have been seen boarding trucks daily going to the districts of Teso, Lango, and Acholi.   However, the district officials have resolved to ban people from fleeing their homes in fear that it will expose government weaknesses to address the problem.

Ambrose Onoria, the Resident District Commissioner Kotido, says that the government and other development partners have distributed enough food to the communities to supplement the harvest but unfortunately they resorted to selling it.

"When they start migrating other people may assume the government has failed to address the issues affecting us here and yet there is a lot of effort put in place to rescue the situation," Onoria said.

Onoria observed that some of the residents who fled to the areas of Agago district have been rejected and returned back to Kotido, an indication that they are not wanted.

He says that he has instructed all the sub-county chairpersons to monitor the movement of people from their respective areas and stop those trying to flee their homes.

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Peter Lopeyok, a peace activist in Kotido District supported the move saying it is very bad to see people fleeing their homes, and yet the season for cultivation is about to start.  Lopeyok said it is better for the community to remain calm as their leaders work hard to lobby for food aid from the well-wishers.

"This is the time for them to prepare their gardens, why are they abandoning their homes, and you realized that only elders have been left to die in the houses" Lopeyok lamented.

Paul Komol Lote, the LCV Chairperson for Kotido said it is sad to see mothers going to work in people's gardens from outside the region in exchange for food.

"It is a shame to us leaders seeing our people suffering in other parts of the country, being treated like slaves, not good at all. Let them stay home as we try our best to lobby for them some support’’ Komol said.

Komol also supported the move to ban people from migrating saying that they should stay around so that the government can think about their welfare.

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Emmanuel Lodio, the District Speaker for Kotido opposed the idea of stopping people from migrating in search of food.  Lodio says that residents should be allowed to go and look for their own food since the government has failed to provide enough relief.

"It's useless to stop people from migrating because what will they eat if you stopped them, we need to understand each other," He said.

Lodio appealed to the government to consider supporting Karamojong the same way they are supporting refugees in Uganda because the climate in the region is not predictable and cannot support agriculture.

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Rose Nachap, a resident of Kanawat village, West Division Kotido Municipality says they do not wish to leave their homes but they are forced to do so due to hunger.