The first years of independence led to the rule of Idi Amin which were infamous for a mass expulsion of the Asian business community and a time when thousands were killed. Under the rule of President Museveni since 1986, the nation has had a measure of stability and prosperity, but in the north, there have been outbreaks of insurgency and civil conflict – in 1986 to1990 through the incursions of the cattle-raiding Karamojong. In 2003/4 there was the incursion into Teso of the so called Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that waged a campaign of burning, looting, murder and child abduction throughout the northern areas.
Teso, with its 1.6 million population, suffered from the Karamojong with the widespread destruction of its infrastructure, schools and homes. The area had substantially recovered when, in June 2003, the LRA carried out many attacks in Teso, forcing people to leave their homes and live in camps in safer areas. Since then the area has suffered from successive waves of drought and flooding, especially in the Northern most deprived parts of the region.
The challenge is to rebuild, once again, the ravaged infrastructure of the district and help the area develop. The challenges are:
- inadequate and unsafe water supply in most villages, making thousands vulnerable to waterborne diseases
- a subsistence, insecure agricultural-based economy prey to climatic instability
- Low educational achievement and poorly equipped and overcrowded schools
- poor access to health care and need for health prevention measures e.g. against AIDS and Malaria
- high incidence of destitute children who have lost parents through disease or war
- ongoing food shortages and malnutrition in the drought and flood hit areas
- a population still living in temporary camps with minimal community facilities
Despite the overwhelming sense of need, the Iteso have proved resilient and there have been determined efforts with outside partners to achieve recovery and tackle the needs