Well articulated Longpes. This is a must read for all genuine friends of Karamoja. For while the Karamoja Cattle Economy is in crisis https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/karamojas-cattle-economy-in-crisis/, our leaders instead of fixing it are planning for disruptive development https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/disruptive-development-for-pastoralists-in-karamoja-in-uganda/. How else can you define this:
“When the First Lady spoke, talking about development, with some references to the bible. She quoted the book of Ezekiel, some quote that I do not exactly remember, but that seemed to justify land grabbing, with a line like ‘I will take away your desolate lands and develop them…’ I must admit that while I have written a lot about the First Lady and the government policies she implements in Karamoja, I had never gotten that close or been part of her audience… At the front of the gigantic tent – that probably sat some 5000 people just behind the podium – hang a huge banner. I was told before that the bishops had made a strategic plan for Karamoja, for the next fifty years. It occurred to me that their strategy had been put together in a montage of pictures. One of the pictures was obviously a pullout from some top European city, say Berlin or Paris, with storey buildings, complete with highways and flyovers yet to be seen in any city in Africa. The other pictures were of water melon, sweet bananas and big dairy cattle. At the upper left of the banner was a depiction of Jesus on ascension day. And Mount Moroto at the back of it. I did muse to myself and colleagues how the conveners of the convocation were so out of touch with the Karamojong realities. All of our sweet bananas are ‘imported’ from other towns of Uganda, dairy cattle can hardly survive here in view of prevailing climatic conditions. And the skyscrapers and highways are not achievable in the next century. But it would be interesting to look at the hypocrisy underlying this image. That western concepts of development are embraced, while the conveners forgot that most of the forms of secularism and modern day idolatry have origins there. Of these I have limited space to name. They then asked Museveni to invite the white men to Karamoja, because peace is here now.”
From 18th to 21st August 2015, thousands of Christians congregated at a convocation in Moroto Town, Karamoja. What should have been a prayer event touched on some sensitive key issues. I attended part of the events and share with you why I think the convocation became a pretense and a mockery of the Karamojong culture and its people.
Not all aspects of the convocation were a facade of course. There was that moment when a Karamojong priest, Msgr. Philip Lokel addressed the president, raising some really important Karamojong issues. With my colleagues at the back of the tent, it was a relief that a few minutes were taken discussing core Karamojong issues including land, food security, infrastructure and the like.
It was quite good too, when the First Lady spoke, talking about development, with some references to the bible. She quoted the book of Ezekiel, some quote that I do…
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