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Kotido Leaders Denounce Morutit Resolution

Morutit, like Nabilatuk Resolution was put in place in 2013 to deter locals from stealing cattle. Under the Morutit and Nabilatuk Resolutions, cattle thieves pay twice the number of livestock stolen to the owner and, additional animal for elders and members of the Peace Committee.

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Several leaders in Kotido district have denounced the Morutit Resolution aimed at curbing cattle thefts in Karamoja Sub Region. 

Morutit, like Nabilatuk Resolution, was put in place in 2013 to deter residents from stealing cattle. Under the Morutit and Nabilatuk Resolutions, cattle thieves pay twice the number of livestock stolen to the owner and, additional animal for elders and members of the Peace Committee.

The resolutions also allow the army to impound all animals in a Kraal where stolen animals have been cited. It also extends the burden of compensation for stolen animals to the relatives or immediate neighbours in case the suspect doesn’t have the required animals.

Now, the leaders in Kotido and Abim districts want the resolution scrapped.

Peter Abrahams Lokii, the Kotido Municipality Member of Parliament has described the resolutions as an obsolete tool used in the absence of justice in Karamoja. He wants all thieves handled through the established justice system in the country.

Lokii explains that the resolution is irrelevant because of the prevailing formal justice system where suspects can be tried in the courts of law and punished for their crime.

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Early this year, elders under their umbrella body, Kotido Cultural Elders’ Council, denounced Morutit resolution and threatened to pull out saying it condones theft.

The Abim District Chairperson Jimmy Ochero maintains that his district will not consent to the resolution since they are not pastoral communities. 

Even in Kotido district, where cattle thefts are still common, Ambrose Lotukei, the LC5 Chairperson wants the resolution reviewed on grounds that it is punishing innocent people.

In his last visit to Kotido, Justice David Wangutusi, the head of the JLOS Integrity Committee, noted that the resolutions were illegal and contravening the constitution. He observed that the traditional justice system applied in the Morutit and Nabilatuk resolutions was promoting double jeopardy because the culprits were subjected to fines and imprisonment simultaneously.

Morutit and Nabilatuk Resolutions came to severe scrutiny in 2016 when human rights defenders observed that it was an illegal instrument.

However, security agencies say the resolutions have facilitated quick recovery of stolen animals and eliminated impunity and lawlessness among notorious Karimojong thieves.

Romano Longoli, the Coordinator Kotido Peace Initiative, who is one of architects of the resolution, recently, told our reporter that the resolution is still an effective instrument in stemming cattle thefts in Karamoja.