Jubilation in Karamoja region as President breaks ground for Moroto-Nakapiripit road, Warns against cutting down trees

Monday 11th November 2013

There was jubilation and merry making in Karamoja region as local leaders from seven districts and their communities descended on Naitakwae Village, Naitakwae sub county grounds in Matheniko County to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for the Moroto-Nakapiripirit road by President Yoweri Museveni.

“People used to say you can’t wait for Karamoja to develop, we thank you for waiting for Karamoja to develop. Disarmament has pacified Karamoja and now the rapid development cannot be reversed. Previous governments neglected us but now we have good roads and electricity to stimulate development,” Matheniko County MP Lokwi John Babtist told cheering crowds.

The LC1 chairperson Tomasi Dominic described President Museveni as their savior who made them see the light saying with the disarmament exercise that has ensured peace and security for Karamoja and now the electricity and tarmac road, people can meet without fear and discuss development.

“Thank you for removing the guns from Karamoja and returning them to the barracks,” he said as an entertainment group made up of former warriors – Moroto reformed warriors staged various merry making performances.

President Yoweri Museveni, accompanied by his wife who is also Minister for Karamoja Affairs Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni today performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Moroto-Nakapiripirit, 93.3km road that will cost government Shs 184billion and is expected to take 36months to complete and another 12months of maintenance. Construction works are being carried out by China Road and Brideg Corporation (CRBC).

“We are celebrating twins today; electricity and roads. If we add the water dams, it is triplets and with the peace and security we have quadruplets. Now that we have all these things there are three things we need to do; my job is to bring factories here. Am trying to bring a cement factory and a marble factory; I have also been trying to bring a factory for Gum Arabic but it has taken time. Unfortunately, you are starting to sell charcoal and are cutting down very important trees. Karamoja already has no trees, now if you cut the few which are there it is a disaster. You should stop this,” he said.

The President said he wants to promote milk production in the region which already has cattle for beef saying the cows can be good for beef, milk, leather and that they just need to be properly selected and bred.

“Your jobs are two; make sure to use the peace to produce food and cash crops for an income. However much I love you, I can’t grow food for you. You must also keep healthy and maintain the low HIV rates in your region. With the new developments, we shall be able to do trade with neighbouring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan,” he said.

The President urged leaders to sensitize the people on the economy and government taxes saying you do not use magic to make roads and other infrastructure but rather get money from taxes, which taxes come from factories and consumers. He said it is only when tax collections by government improved that government has been able to implement UPE, USE, pay salaries and also maintain the soldiers to keep peace and security in the country.

The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Development Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni described the ceremony as truly a day for Karamoja and thanked God for what is happening.

“Karamoja is now at peace with itself and its neighbours. We want to see a lot more happen in Karamoja. Many people are impatient and want to see things happen quickly. Karamoja can now feed itself and its neighbours,” she said

She urged government through the Ministry of Agriculture to support the revamping of the Agriculture College so that the region can begin to have its own seeds and improve their animals. She urged government through NAADS to provide more milk coolers and generators to run the coolers where there is no electricity, saying this can help families to start selling milk to improve their incomes. She also called on government to find a lasting solution to school feeding in the region, to get children to stay in school.

The Minister of Works and Transport Eng. Abraham Byandala said they would be working with the contractor to carry out major interventions on worst spots on Muyembe-Nakapiripirit road and Moroto-Katakwi road as a project risk management response against road blockages that could cause delays to construction supplies. He urged the communities and the traders for their patience and called on local leaders to sensitize the people on the importance of the project and for their cooperation with the contractors.

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