Karamoja Leaders to Petition Parliament Over Boundary

1964 Views Napak, Uganda

In short
In an emergency meeting held at Napak district headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, the legislators together with the Napak district leaders agreed to deliver their petition to the speaker on Thursday. The Karamoja leaders dispute the recently opened boundary between the two districts.

Members of Parliament from Karamoja sub region have resolved to petition the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga over the Napak- Katakwi border dispute. Napak authorities claim that more than 43, 000 hectares of land have been taken away from them. 


In an emergency meeting held at Napak district headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, the legislators together with the Napak district leaders agreed to deliver their petition to the speaker on Thursday. The Karamoja leaders dispute the recently opened boundary between the two districts. 


They claim that no consultations were done with the Napak team when findings of the border were established; the maps of 1962 were altered by the then regional administration minister, Cuthbert Obwangor whom they claim had personal interest on the contested land and that the Minister of Local Government, Tom Buitime, didn't involve them when opening the border. 


The State Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo accuses his colleague, Butime for declaring the boundary without involving locals from both sides. Fr. Lokodo wants the Ministries of Local Government and Lands to give legal basis for declaring the border. 


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The new development follows findings by private consultants on the boundary which has been under dispute for decades. According to Dr. Mark Ilukol, one of the consultants who have been following up the Napak- Katakwi border issue, the coordinates of the 1958 maps were altered and shifted towards Karamoja in the 1960s during the post-colonial government. 



Dr. Ilukol wants the Directorate of Land and Surveys in the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development to explain why there are variances in the pre and post- colonial maps. He wants government to take interest in the directorate of land and surveys and investigate their work.


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The Minister for Local Government, Tom Butime, last week declared that the contested villages of Alekilek and Kodike belonged to Katakwi district while Kaithelem Market belonged to Napak district. The two villages are under Iriiri Sub County while the market is in the newly created Poron sub county that was curved out of Iriiri last financial year. 


But Butime said that the conclusion on opening the boundary was reached after a study of the 1962 Constitution and the transfer of coordinates to a map, which showed the boundaries of both districts.



Information obtained by URN indicates that attempts to open the Napak- Katakwi border first failed in 2009 when Moroto, the, then mother district of Napak rejected the boundary marks by the directorate of land and survey. 



In 2016, another attempt by government to open the administrative boundary between the two districts hit a snag when the Napak rejected findings from the survey done by Mutiland Company Limited in 2015.