Leaders in Karamoja sub-region have protested the move by Agago to ban Karimojong pastoralists from grazing animals in the district.
The Karimojong often cross to the neighbouring Agago and other districts in Acholi sub-region in search for pasture during the dry season.
However, Agago leaders, while announcing the ban last week, said some Karimojong pastoralists have in the past killed area residents, raped women and stolen livestock. The district chairperson, Mr Leonard Ojok, said the ban is aimed at ensuring harmony between the two communities.
But leaders in Karamoja said they have not received any crime reports involving their herdsmen and described the ban as unfortunate.
Napak District chairperson Joseph Lomonyang said Agago leaders should prosecute individual pastoralists alleged to have committed the crimes instead of depriving the entire Karimojong community of access to pasture.
“I don’t think my brothers and the colleagues of Agago have taken a right decision by banning the Karimojong from grazing in their district because we are one people,” Mr Lomonyang said.
He urged Agago District leaders to instead work with Karamoja leaders to identify and apprehend the errant pastoralists.
“It is not by design that the Karimojong wanted to be in a dry area such as Karamoja. Our colleagues [in Agago] should understand the situation that our people go through,” he said.
Amudat District chairperson Francis Kiyonga said Agago and leaders in Acholi sub-region should understand that “pastoralism has no boundaries”.
He appealed for peaceful co-existence and called for regular engagement among leaders to solve issues that may arise from grazing trips by Karimojong.
Jie County MP Billiard Adome said he has started engaging Agago leaders over the matter.
“I know there might be some Karimojong who misbehaved in Agago but my brothers from Agago should not generalise the matter,” Mr Adome said.
He blamed the conflict on failure by government to establish enough water dams in Karamoja, adding that the pastoralists cross borders most in search for water in the dry season