Inter-Ministerial Meeting Discusses Katakwi/Napak Border Conflict

An inter-ministerial meeting to discuss and resolve the Katakwi/Napak border conflict has agreed that another meeting will be arranged shortly to conclude this issue.

During the meeting, a team of three people from each of the two Districts was constituted to team up with the technical people in the Lands Ministry led by the Commissioner Surveys and Mapping Moddy Kajumbula to study the 1962 Constitution and transfer the coordinates to a map which will show the boundaries of Napak and Katakwi. It was decided that this should be done expeditiously and the outcome in a short time must be respected by both Districts to put the matter to rest.

The meeting held at Iriri Sub county Headquarters in Napak District on Monday 7/05/2012 was initiated by the First Lady and Karamoja Affairs Minister Janet Museveni to enable stakeholders to interact with line Ministers and come up with an amicable and lasting solution to the Katakwi/Napak border conflict which has for many years deterred service delivery and development in the area.

It was attended by Ministers Janet Museveni for Karamoja Affairs, Daudi Migereko of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Adolf Mwesigye for Local Government, Jessica Alupo of Education and Sports and Christine Aporu for Teso Affairs plus the MPs ,local leaders and elders from Napak and Katakwi.

After their meeting the Ministers and MPs addressed the local people from Katakwi and Napak who converged at Alekilek Primary School in Napak District and advised them to be a little more patient because Government was in the process of solving their problem once and for all.

Janet Museveni said it was important that the Katakwi/Napak border quarrels end now for the future generations to live in total peace. “The peace we have been working for must be comprehensive. We cannot end disarmament and cattle rustling and then let border fights continue,” she said.

She said it is absurd to see people who speak the same language fight about borders endlessly. She requested the people of Katakwi and Napak to borrow a leaf from other Districts where borders are only identified by sign posts and the people always live together in harmony.

All the five Ministers counselled the Katakwi and Napak people that the most critical issue at this time was peaceful co-existence and harmonious living with each other as brothers instead of fighting about borders which are only for administrative purposes.

Lands Minister Migereko explained to the people that the Presidents of the East African Community Countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) are working hard to remove boundaries between their countries to enable free movement and trade by their people. Therefore even when the Katakwi/Napak border is demarcated, it should not be a roadblock for the people from the two Districts to live and do business with each other.

Minister Adolf Mwesigye of Local Government said that by creating Katakwi and Napak Districts, Government wanted to bring services nearer to the people and not to create border disputes and therefore it will continue to ensure that the Districts are meaningful to the people through services like improved production, social services and infrastructure development.

The Education Minister Jessica Alupo who is also Woman MP Katakwi appealed to parents to take their children to the schools that Government has constructed so that they leave no room for the children to turn into thieves and cattle rustlers in future.

Teso Affairs Minister Christine Aporu said so many years have been lost in disputes and implored the people of Katakwi and Napak to unite and focus on building a better future.

Napak District Chairman Joseph Lomonyang and Katakwi’s District Chairman Robert Ekongot pledged to mobilise their people to bury the hatchet and never to allow the repeat of the terrible incidents and atrocities between their people and instead focus on poverty alleviation and development.

MPs Terrence Achia for Bokora , Stella Namoe Napak and Amodoi Cyrus for Toroma County in Katakwi also called for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence between the Karimojong and Iteso.

In the Katakwi/Napak border dispute the Karimojong of Napak accuse the Teso people of Katakwi of having altered the border line in their favour in the 1960s, when Curthbeth Obwongor from Teso was minister of local government. In 1966, the altering of the border caused heated disagreements in the area. The Karimojong petitioned then President Milton Obote, who subsequently cancelled the alteration and dismissed Obwongor from parliament. The dispute, however, flared up again in 2004 when then LC5 of Moroto, Terence Achia, locked horns with his Katakwi counterpart, Steven Okure Ilemukorit, over parts of Napak, Kodike and Alekilek which the latter claimed belonged to Katakwi.