Legislators have called for an audit into Kampala Capital City Authority’s (KCCA) expenditure of the Shs3 billion allocated for rehabilitation, removal, tracing and resettlement of Karimojong children on the streets of Kampala.
While meeting KCCA officials, led by the Executive Director, Dorothy Kisaka, the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development said that out of the said funds allocated in 2019, only Shs300 million has accounted for.
The committee chairperson, Hon Flavia Kabahenda, said that despite efforts to get the children off the streets, the numbers are instead increasing.
“I want to tell you, we have been to Koblin Rehabilitation Centre, the perimeter wall has never been completed. The rapists and traffickers pick these survivors, so they are camped there to be trafficked and raped. We want an audit on the very much money we have appropriated,” said Kabahenda.
She also warned that failure to address the issue of street children expeditiously poses a security risk to the country, saying that terrorists target the destitute to carry out their activities.
“Uganda already has a history where children are used to destabilise government. When we see these children during the day, none of us can account for them at night. They could be recruited to destabilise the country,” Kabahenda said.
She advised KCCA to devise appropriate strategies to resolve the problem.
“The street children in Kampala are from many parts of the country. If we tackle this as just a social challenge we shall only use social interventions yet the matter is bigger than what we think. We want this matter dealt with conclusively,” Kabahenda said.
In regard to the ordinance passed in 2017 to deal with the challenge of street children, Kabaehenda called for expeditious implementation of the ordinance, saying that its delayed implementation has caused the numbers of the children on the streets to increase.
Hon Charles Bakkabulindi (NRM, Workers) blamed the increasing number of street children on KCCA’s approach of rescuing and accommodating the children, saying this motivates many to relocate to the capital city.
Budaka County MP, Arthur Mboizi called for an improved human settlement plan, saying that without it, regulating human resettlement and subsequently removing children from the streets becomes a myth and not reality.
“The issue of Karimojong street children dates as far back as 1996 and yet up to date, no progress has been made in addressing this challenge. There is no deliberate effort to remove these children from the streets,” he said.
KCCA’s Kisaka said that removing the Karimojong children from Kampala streets requires a multi-sectoral approach, including ministries of Gender, Internal Affairs, Defence, Lands and Housing, Finance and Education, among others.
“As city administrators, we cannot do a run-in and run-out job of taking people off the street. We must come up with a real strategy that is well funded. We want to deal with this issue conclusively,” Kitaka said.
Kisaka added that the Authority is embarking on a strategy to rid the city of redundant people.
According to KCCA, there are about 700 children from Karamoja living in Katwe and Kisenyi settlements. The children are from Napak district and majorly from the sub counties of Lopei, Lokopo and Lorengecora.