By Weswa Ronnie
A section of people belonging to the Sabaot tribe in Namisindwa district are demanding government to recognize them as an independent tribe in the country.
Sabaot is a minority tribe of people located in the eastern district of Namisindwa at Kenya- Uganda border. The Sabaot who belong to the Nilotic ethnic group of people are said to have migrated from Ethiopia in 1960s.
The Sabaot made this demand yesterday 3rd March 2022 while meeting a Parliamentary delegation that had visited them at Namisindwa district to assess their numbers.
According to one of the Sabaot elders, Stephen Sichei, their main cultural activities are circumcision of men in even years and genital mutilation of women during odd years.
He added that currently Sabaots are 60,000 in population settling in six clans at Bukokho Sub County in Namisindwa district near the Kenya border and majority are in Western Kenya with a population of about 6 million.
Mr. Sechei said ‘’we are very disappointed with the government because up to now we are not recognized in Uganda’s constitution as a tribe.’’
Agnes Nabankala also from Sabaote tribe said that not being recognized has affected them negatively.
Nabankala claims they are segregated against in terms of service delivery, involvement in government programs, political leadership, and employment opportunities by the district since they are a minority that is not recognized.
She added that during population census they have to register as Bagisu before getting National Identification cards.
Emanuel Wabusani, another Sabaot said that since they have over stayed in Uganda, it’s time government recognizes them such that they can also get cultural leaders and benefit from government programs.
However, James Bwayo Kitumbesi, the vice LCV chairperson of Namisindwa dismissed the claims of segregation saying that all people in the entire district are served in the same way.
‘’Political leadership depends on numbers, unfortunately they are a minority in the district making it hard for their candidates to go through at any competitive position,’’ Bwayo said.
John Musila, the Bubulo East Constituency Member Of Parliament in Namisindwa district who hosted a delegation of parliamentary staff and MPs on Thursday to assess the number of these people before tabling a motion of recognizing them said that these people have to be recognized since they have over stayed in Uganda like other tribes.
Mr. Musila said ‘’ during my campaigns at Bukokho Sub County last year, I pledged to table a motion in the floor of parliament about recognition of these people as a tribe such that they can also be known and have cultural leaders.’’
Jacob Karubanga, MP for Kibanda South Constituency in Kiryandongo district who was heading the delegation of MPs said that as parliament they move across the country identifying minority tribes.
He added that after identifying them they are going to compile the report and present to parliament for debate to see how they can recognize them in the Ugandan constitution.