12 September 2012

Uganda: IGAD Can Learn From Karamoja


Kampala, last week, hosted the the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) conference to launch a regional strategy on Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN).

The conference was presided over by Uganda's First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mrs. Janet Museveni.

IGAD's headquarters are in Djibouti and has a land size bigger than that of the European Union and a population of about 188 million people.

The regional body, whose members include Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda has many challenges.

Recurring and severe droughts, natural disasters, widespread famine and hunger, ecological degradation and economic hardships.

This is coupled with land and border disputes, conflicts driven by natural resource competition, food insecurity, climate change, religious and ethnic conflicts, systemic political conflicts among other issues.

The Kampala meeting largely sought to find a solution on cross-border conflicts, with the launch of CEWARN.

Delegates and "experts" gave lengthy "treatise" on the diagnostics and rather 'academic and intellectual' solutions to this region's problems.

It was very interesting to see Mrs. Museveni give a passionate lecture on many practical things she and the government has done in Uganda's Karamoja region which has suffered from decades of problems described earlier.

Karamoja region, which is about 10% of Uganda's land size (Roughly the size of Rwanda or Burundi), has gone through major catastrophes. The region is now producing its own food, cattle rustling is at its least, the migrant pastoralist communities have new solutions, there is less conflict and the population has been rallied to production and development.

In the conference, Mrs. Museveni told IGAD delegates that "Instead of using these funds for seminars on 'conflict analysis and facilitation' we should just use those same resources to provide our people with food production means."

She was right. There should be more action than talk. IGAD should go to Karamoja and see firsthand what the people with the right strategies can do to chase away conflict and confusion. That is not just an early warning strategy. That is a strategy that works has lasting impact!

Copyright © 2012 East African Business Week. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.