From late 1970s to 2007 Karamoja was a no go zone due to cattle rustling and insecurity. Infact no one wanted just to hear the word Karamoja. Insecurity persisted until 2001 when government launched a voluntary disarmament exercise, which was intensely resisted until government introduced a forceful disarmament exercise.
To date, up to 50,000 guns have been recovered from the hands of the Karimojong warriors according to reports, and this has come with great opportunities for development.
The return of peace was the turning point for the sub-region, which is now trying to catch up with the rest of the country.
The sub-region however still remains the country's most disadvantaged, with nearly 80% of the people living below the poverty line, 82% of the people are illiterate and below the national average. People still lack basic amenities like education and health.
Karamoja also still experiences periodic famine, and media reports have revealed people dying due to prolonged famine and drought in the region. Karamoja is also greatly dependent on aid from government and international agencies.
The good conducive environment has now allowed many development projects from both government and NGOs. However, peace and the influx of development aid has come with a new problem - corruption. Much as substantial resources have been poured into the region by development partners and government, there is little or nothing to show for it.
Substantial amounts of money meant to develop Karamoja continue to be misused without anyone following it up. Officials sent from Kampala to Karamoja to investigate or implement development projects in the region have often stopped along the way and made their reports without stepping in the region.
Despite government interventions aimed at improving livelihoods in Karamoja, there still exists high illiteracy levels and lack of basic competencies among the citizens which limits their participation in decision making processes and monitoring of government programmes in their localities.
There have also been limited efforts of civil society in augmenting civic participation in transparency and accountability, since most of them are engaged in livelihoods and direct service delivery.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY