The distribution of iron sheets to reformed Karamojong warriors has commenced in the Karamoja sub-region, launching first in Abim district. This initiative, long-anticipated, stems from the government’s promise to reward those warriors who voluntarily surrendered their weapons and embraced peace.
In November 2023, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja flagged off the first consignment of iron sheets for distribution across all nine districts of Karamoja. In the initial phase, 97,552 iron sheets will be distributed to 3,752 beneficiaries.
The distribution, overseen by the Office of the Prime Minister, started in Abim district. Chief Administrative Officer Samuel Kalisa Bigirwa confirmed the receipt of 10,686 iron sheets in the first phase, benefiting 411 households in Abim town council.
Bigirwa outlined that the distribution would be conducted parish-wise, with seven beneficiaries per parish in the first phase. He emphasized the importance of a uniform, weather-friendly, and cost-effective design to ensure sustainable housing construction.
James Shilaku, the Abim Resident District Commissioner, issued a stern warning against selling the iron sheets, urging beneficiaries to build houses for improved livelihoods. Security forces were directed to monitor and apprehend anyone attempting to sell the distributed iron sheets.
Capt. Rtd. Juventine Omara, the LC5 chairperson of Abim district, raised concerns about discrepancies in the beneficiary list, leaving out some individuals. He called on the government to procure additional iron sheets to accommodate those initially excluded.
Norbert Katsirabo, the commissioner of Pacification and Development at the Office of the Prime Minister, clarified that 10,686 iron sheets had been delivered to Abim district for 470 beneficiaries. Each recipient is slated to receive 26 iron sheets – 24 for housing construction and four for toilets.
Simon Peter Lokeris, the State Minister for Minerals and Energy, presided over the launch and emphasized the importance of utilizing the iron sheets for intended purposes. He warned against negative attitudes towards housing construction and urged beneficiaries to consider the long-term development of the Karamojong communities.
Lokeris emphasized that a security team would inspect structures to ensure compliance with the program’s goals. Those found to have sold their iron sheets would face consequences for sabotaging government initiatives.