Police Order Karimojong To Dress Up Or Face Arrest

2782 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
The Police in Moroto have embarked on an exercise that will see all Karimojong dress and also abandon the culture of walking with sticks in urban areas.

The Police in Moroto district have embarked on an exercise that will force all Karimojong to dress up and also abandon walking with sticks in all urban areas. The exercise came into force last week during celebrations to mark 50 years of Independence.

Richard Anyama, the District Police Commander Moroto, tells Uganda Radio Network (URN) that it is now enshrined in the law that Karimojong should be disarmed of sticks. He says the police have realized that the sticks are dangerous. He says it’s a measure to ensure that the sticks are not used during fights.

Similarly, Anyama advises the Karimojong coming to town to dress decently or else risk being arrested. He explains that it is no longer acceptable for Karimojong to come to town draped in sheets.
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Joyce Napeyok, a resident of Rupa village, does not agree with the move taken by police to disarm the Karimojong of their walking sticks and draping themselves in sheets. She explains that the sticks are for self defense and more so the Karimojong know about cows not 50 years of Uganda independence. She appeals to the police to respect the culture of the Karimojong.
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John Longora, a resident of Rupa village, says the police should have convened a meeting before taking action. He explains that sticks is not only a walking aid but also a source of pride to Karimojong. He says the bed sheet, stool and a stick are an integral part of who the Karimojong are. He says that they are useful not just to the individual but also the way they relate to each other.
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The late Col. Sula Ssemakula, former UPDF 3rd Division Commander, tried to enforce the same regulations but gave up after meeting a lot of resistance.

Idi Amin Dada, former President of Uganda, in 1972 passed a decree forcing all Karimojong to dress up. At least 200 people were shot dead at Nawaikorot village in Bokora County now Napak district for resisting the decree.


About the author

Olandason Wanyama
Olandason Wanyama is the Karamoja region bureau chief. Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Abim, Kotido and Kaabong districts fall under his docket. Wanyama has been a URN staff member since 2012.

The former teacher boasts of 20 years journalism experience. Wanyama started out as a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor newspaper in 1991 in Entebbe. Wanyama also wrote for the army publication Tarehe Sita, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) magazine and The New Vision. While not on the beat, Wanyama taught child soldiers at Uganda Airforce School-Katabi.

Wanyama is very interested in conflict reporting, climate change, education, health and business reporting. He is also an avid photographic chronicler of vanishing tribal life in the East African region.