ARAMTORI Lokodu is a no nonsense man. He says all his cows were taken by the army in January. He now wants to meet President Museveni.
He has for two days pitched camp at parliament and has vowed never to leave parliament until his demands are met.
He has also refused to eat until that is fulfilled.
Aramtori, a resident of Loroo Sub County in Amudat district lost 295 cows to the UPDF when they raided Loroo after a Pokot raid of Matheniko County in Moroto district last January.
“I am setting camp here at parliament until my cows are brought back. The UPDF raided my cows and they either give them back to me or give me money to buy other cows,” he says through an interpreter.
Aramtori says he is a peacemaker and has supported the army since the beginning of the disarmament process. Pictures of him and the soldiers at his home are shown on a placard pinned on his tent that reads in part:
“I am a peacemaker and my cows and others of peaceful men amounting to 3500 have been taken by the UPDF. I have come to parliament to meet the president or those in authority over my cows, mismanagement of the disarmament process and injustices in Karamoja,” it reads.
Aramtori who has six wives, about 20 children and an undisclosed number of grandchildren says his cows are his only source of survival. His family, he says, now has nothing to survive on.
He has been in company of his 19 year old granddaughter, Rebecca Lokodatum who is a senior three student at a Sebei College, Kapchorwa.
He says one of his wives was at the kraal at the time of the raid.
She followed the cows up until the army barracks. He alleges his wife watched as 16 bulls were eaten by the UPDF and the cows supplied to the Matheniko.
Aramtori says he has since supported the disarmament process. He narrates that he has ever singlehandedly collected 260 guns and handed them over to the UPDF.
He now feels betrayed.
It is only 12 hours since he pitched camp at parliament and though he is on hunger strike, he looks easy and entertains those around him with his great sense of humor.
When he heard the police wanted him to relocate to sleep somewhere because of the cold, he chuckled and told the police that in Karamoja they do not migrate at night. He later accepted and went in the company of Francis Kiyonga, MP for Upe County.
Kiyonga said attempts to have Aramtori meet authorities are being made.
“His demands have been given to the speaker of parliament and State house has also been informed,” he said.
Aramtori is angry, disillusioned, and he feels the government should compensate him.
His determination to remain at parliament is unwavering and he says it is as strong as his desire to keep going hungry.