July 7, 2022

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UWA Moves to Guard Historical Rock Paintings in Karamoja

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The Uganda Wildlife Authority is opening up roads and setting up tents as it moves to preserve and guard five historical rock paintings that have been discovered in Karamoja region.

The five historical paintings visited by URN are on the rocks of Kanamuget, Nakapeliyeth, Naruwere, Lopeteit and Nakadanya in Moroto district. According to Robinson Dick, an archaeologist’ from Germany, the rock with paintings of people and animals was painted between 1, 000 and 2,000 years ago by the  Cushites and Nilotic groups which are currently living in the horn of Africa.

“This is so interesting and it’s only here in Karamoja where these kind of paintings are clearly seen and it’s good,” he said. According to Dick, the paintings will be tempered by the pastoralists if it’s not well protected.

The Chief Warden of  Uganda Wild Life Authority in charge of Mt. Elgon which covers up to Karamoja Chris Kiiza said the tourists who will be traveling from Moroto to Kidepo National Game Park will now have a stopover to see the paintings. Kiiza said the historical rock paintings had not been exposed to the tourists because of the insecurity which didn’t allow the National museum to go and establish the sites.

“We are trying to organize the rock painting sites in the right way and also opening the road so that tourist who is interesting in following cultures will have access to visits the historical rocks,” he said.

“The researchers from the national museum had information about the historical rock paintings in Karamoja but they couldn’t go to establish where the rocks were located because of threats by cattle rustlers,” he said.

Kiiza believed that the discovered historical rock paintings will also help the Karamoja students who are offering history to have access to the real paintings other than reading it in the books.

John Nangiro, one of the traditional elders in Moroto hailed the discovery of the rock paintings in the region said more rocks in the region could be having many paintings but can’t be accessed because of the insecurity. He called upon the governmnet to sort out the insecurity situation in Karamoja so that some of these sites can be traced to help generate revenue through tourism.

“Some of these discovered rock paintings and the hot spring in Kaabong would generate good revenue for the people of Karamoja but this can be realized if the government addresses the insecurity situation in Karamoja to make tourists move freely to these sites and be able to pay some money,” he said.

Meanwhile, Karamoja Cultural Museum is straggling to attract tourists due to shortage of funds. The museum located at Singilla village in Katikekile Sub County in Moroto district was constructed with funding from the French government and officially opened by the then Minister of Karamoja Affairs Mrs Janet Museveni.

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