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Pastoralists Given 2-Day Ultimatum to Leave Kitgum District

Mark Rubangakene, the Labongo Akwang Sub-County Chairperson says that the pastoralists illegally entered the sub-county.
The long horned Ankole cattle belonging to nomadic pastoralists grazing in Pinymunu village in Pajimo Parish, Kitgum District.

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Labongo Akwang Sub-county leaders in Kitgum District have issued a two-day ultimatum to pastoralists to vacate their area.

The directive follows the entry of two balalo herdsmen with 35 head of long-horned Ankole cattle on Sunday morning in Pinymunu village in Pajimo Parish. The herdsmen reportedly ferried the cattle in two Fuso trucks from Ngora District in Teso Sub-region.

Mark Rubangakene, the Labongo Akwang Sub-County Chairperson says that the pastoralists illegally entered the sub-county.

He notes that the pastoralists had no animal travel documents from officials in Ngora district where they ferried the animals from and in Kitgum District.  Rubangakene says the pastoralists have been given until Friday noon to relocate their animals claiming the district had banned the activities of balalo pastoralists.

Luo

//cue in: “Malube ki kacoke…

Cue out:… ao ki kany.”//

English byte

//cue in: “It’s today that…

Cue out:…not endorsed anything.”//

Franco Olweny, the Pajimo Parish LCV Councilor says evicting the pastoralists will help to reduce the risk of land conflicts among members of the community arising from hiring of communal land to the herdsmen.

Philip Michael Okot, the Labongo Akwang Sub-County Health Assistant says the illegal entry of the pastoralists poses great health risks to locals and livestock in the area. He says they will conduct tests on the cattle brought by the pastoralists to ascertain whether they are free from highly contagious livestock diseases especially Foot and mouth disease.

Okot however warned locals against any attempts to purchase animals from the pastoralists before assurances from the district and sub-county veterinary officials.

Earlier on Sunday, residents backed by their local leaders intercepted the cattle and drove them to the Sub-County Headquarters on grounds that they were never informed of the entry of the herdsmen. The cattle were however released back into the community on Wednesday.

The pastoralists however say they didn’t break any rules since they followed the necessary processes including getting consensus from some of the family members and local leaders in the area before transporting their animals. 

Benon Eric Kizza, one of the pastoralists says he was initially approached by one of the clan members, Livingstone Oketa to help him look for a Munyakole herdsman to look after his cattle.

Kizza notes that he told Oketa he was best suited for the job but gave him conditions that should also allow him to bring in his (Kizza’s) cattle from Teso to which he (Oketa) accepted.

He, however, says even after finalizing an agreement with Oketta in the presence of the area LCI chairperson, was surprised that his animals were intercepted on Sunday morning shortly after arrival.

Luo byte

//Cue in: “Mzee Oketa owaco…

Cue out:…de dong urwinyu.”//

Kizza has faulted some of the political leaders in the area for spreading false information that their presence will lead to land grabbing arguing that he only intends to fatten his animals for business.

//cue in: “I requested to…

Cue out:…me his boundary.”//

Charles Odano 70, a resident of Pinymunu village says that one of the herdsmen had reached an agreement with his younger brother Livingstone Oketta on looking after his animals. He however says his brother failed to inform them and other clan members on the nature of the agreement that it would involve the herdsman bringing in his animals to graze on their land. 

Luo byte

//cue in: “Lok obedo ikin…

Cue out:…dong pe otime.”//

Odano says they later reached an agreement as a family to give the herdsmen two months to fatten their animals and vacate their land since they found out their brother had made the mistake of inviting them.

Cue in: “Gin gi okok…

Cue out:…gwoko ne iye.”//

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