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Peace, Disarmament Shape Campaign Issues in Karamoja

The region was a no-go zone a few years ago when insecurity took a toll with several ambushes waged by the warriors reported each day. Lives were lost, among them Missionaries, civilians and security personnel.
18 Nov 2020 11:48
How Museveni won in Karamoja

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Voters from Karamoja sub-region have singled out peace after the forceful disarmament of the Karimojong warriors in the 1990s and social-economic transformation as the reason why they vote Museveni.

The region was a no-go zone a few years ago when insecurity took a toll with several ambushes waged by the warriors reported each day. Lives were lost, among them Missionaries, civilians and security personnel.

The residents now say that the situation has greatly improved since the disarmament program was enforced slightly more than a decade ago, ushering in development with more investors coming to the marble city. Also business is booming due to the relative peace that followed the disarmament.

It is for this reason that voters across the region are applauding the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, President Yoweri Museveni, for pacifying the region. Albert Lokeris Kidon, 22, a student of Moroto High School says that the prevailing peace in Karamoja is a matter of life and death and a key campaign issue for the region.

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Moses Bate Lomongin, a resident of Moroto town says the development of industries and availability of other services such as electricity and tarmac roads have been key in winning support for President Museveni.

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However, Mark Okello, an elder in Abim district says that NRM is getting gains from Karamoja because opposition political parties have failed to penetrate the region. He contends that the rest of the opposition is struggling to establish grassroots structures as opposed to NRM which is already grounded among the Karimojong.

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However, a section of the public is sceptical about Museveni’s victory in the region. A resident of Moroto town who identified himself only as Denis in order to speak freely questions the credibility of the Electoral Commission to conduct a free and fair election

He argues that the commission cannot properly exercise its independence under the current arrangement where commissioners are appointed by the sitting president.

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The discussion came as  President Yoweri Museveni started campaigns in Karamoja, a region that he won decisively with 80 per cent of the vote in the 2016 presidential election. NRM also won all parliamentary and LCV seats across seven districts. Museveni enjoyed a lot of support from Karamoja Sub-region scoring as high as 98 in Napak district, 97 per cent in Amudat, 94 per cent in Nakapiripirit, and 91 per cent in Kotido.

Chris Lochoto, the Kaabong NRM Chairperson says service delivery has been an important factor in winning support from Karamoja. He cited electricity and security as achievements of the ruling government.

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