The government machinery to conduct disarmament (local authorities, police) has not worked, and so this study highlighted the significance of human-to-human bonds, because communities from both sides of the border are in contactProfessor Francis Onditi Tweet
This study was part of the atrocity prevention group, which is a consortium within the Stimson centre in the US.
It particularly focuses on disarmament strategies for areas where the community are dependent on livestock as their livelihoods. This research looked at the geographic area of the Karamoja cluster, which is a region that covers part of North Eastern Kenya, north Western Kenya, the southern part of Ethiopia, South-Eastern part of South Sudan, and the Western part of Uganda. In this area livelihoods largely depend on livestock, which we call pastoralists.
Over the years, the community has been protecting or defending their assets by bearing arms, but this armament has become a problem because these arms have gotten into civilian hands and are being used as trade. So there have been efforts by government to disarm communities, but it has been counterproductive and my hypothesis about this is that the approach taken by government is not incorporating community attributes, particularly the kinship relationships that already exist amongst the communities, such as the Karamoja class.
This study tries to identify the challenges that are faced by both government and local communities in disarmament, but also to propose alternatives strategies that can be effective in conducting disarmament that is community based,
Onditi, F., (2022) ‘Preventing Atrocities Among Pastoral Communities Through Disarmament: A Study of the Karamoja Cluster in the Horn of Africa’, INTERNATIONAL ORDER & CONFLICT
This study is making a strong case for combining government policy with these local strategies, like kinship networks to conduct disarmament. Because the only way the community can trust each other is through these networks. Otherwise we see suspicion and mistrust like has been the case over the last 10 years.
Since people continue to lose their lives in the Karamoja cluster, plus the growing stress over resources due to climate change. And so if something does not happen in terms of a conducting harmonious disarmament, then a combination of factors, including climate change, is likely to accelerate the challenges that communities on the border experience.
And particularly – fear and the insecurities that come with the communities bearing more arms or maladaptation that I talked about in the findings.
So it is important that actions are taken to conduct effective disarmament. Otherwise, if that doesn’t happen then with the emergence of climate change related risks and threats, those communities are really threatened. And we might experience another massive human loss and livestock destruction, which has an implication on the livelihood of people and the existence of communities on the border.
This report uses an integrative literature review to illuminate the trends and patterns shaping conflict and violence. It also explores appropriate mechanisms for conducting disarmament to prevent atrocities in the Cluster. Desktop research is combined by interviews with participants of the RECSA-organized Cross Border Leaders Conference held in Entebbe, Uganda, on March 24–25, 2021.