Government is to relocate more than 10,000 Karamoja street children from Kampala and major towns to Lorengecora Sub County in Napak district. It follows a petition by Karamoja Members of parliament and district leaders to Ministry of Karamoja Affairs to resettle the street children. Joseph Lomonyang, Napak district LC V chairman says that they petitioned the ministry to support the resettlement of these children who are scattered in major towns.
He explains that they have identified two places in Lorengecora Sub County in Napak district as resettlement areas for these people. Lomonyang says they have tasked Terence Acia, Bokora county Member of Parliament to coordinate with leaders of the Karamoja communities in Kampala, Jinja, Tororo, Busia, Mbale and Iganga so as to register these children and submit the list to the office of the Prime Minister for attention.
//Cue in: “These ones of Kisenyi and Mbale….”
Cue out: “……about 1, 620 households.”//
In a telephone interview, Terence Aciatold URN that they registered about 1, 500 street children in Katwe and Kisenyi, their major settlement areas in Kampala, 1,000 from Jinja, 1, 300 from Mbale, 2, 500 from Busia and about 400 from Tororo. He says he is yet to receive a list from Malaba. Acia says the voluntary repatriation exercise is expected to take at least one month.
He says he has already met with officials from the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs who are positive about the development and willing to support the move. Acia says they proposed to government to support the children and their parents with supply of food ration upon their return for at least six months, provide them with temporary accommodation and other household properties and agricultural inputs so as they do not run back to the streets.
He is optimistic that the repatriation exercise will begin in the next two weeks. Acia attributes the constant return of the repatriated children to the streets to lack of information about their origins, inadequate support and attitudes of the communities who consider them rejects of the society. Pius Birgirimana, the Permanent Secretary Office of the Prime Minister confirms the development. He says Minister Janet Museveni has expressed concern over the plights of these children.
He says they are working to find a lasting solution to the challenge of the Karamojong children flooding various urban centers. Several Karamojong street children were repatriated and resettled at Nabwal settlement camp in Napak district in 2008 but most of them fled back to the streets while some of them turned into sex trade to earn a living after they accused government of abandoning them.