Lango (plural Langi) people live in the central area of Uganda north of Lake Kyoga. Lango Sub-region which has been partitioned into 9 districts from old districts namely; (Amolatar, Alebtong , Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Kwania, Lira, Oyam and Otuke districts). The Lango population is about 1.5 million according to the 2002 population census, and they make up about 5% of the 26 million Ugandans. Their language, “Leb Lango” is actually a Luo dialect but with vocabulary from the nilo-hamitic tribes in eastern Uganda.
This increase in poverty has also coincided with increased donor funding and debt forgiveness. However, in the northern districts of Uganda, including Lango sub region, people are still poorer than other sub-regions.
Today the Lango are mainly subsistence farmers, and are among the poorest people in Uganda. The poverty has been further exacerbated by the war that has gripped this part of the country for the last 19 years. Despite the ongoing peace efforts there is still widespread insecurity in most of northern region, making it impossible for the people to plant food crops during the short rainy season.
The United Nations has described the suffering of the people of northern Uganda as ‘the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world,’(Jan Egeland, UN’s Head of Humanitarian Affairs) According to Ken Davies of the World Food Programme (WFP) the northern Uganda situation has affected a lot more people than the Tsunami. He said a looming food crisis culminating in sky-high rates of infant malnutrition and death, are inevitable unless emergency food relief is made available as soon as possible.
The increase in poverty
Even before becoming victims of the civil war, the loss of their means of surviving resulted in the people being unable to pay school fees for their children, afford medical treatment under the cost sharing scheme the government has introduced and to pay the graduated tax in time. The acreage of land under cultivation decreased as the people were forced to cultivate using hand held hoes instead of the ox-drawn ploughs they used before the sustained cattle rustling deprived them of the use of oxen. Consequently, families that traditionally ate two meals a day found it difficult to have even one decent meal a day.
This increase in poverty has also coincided with increased donor funding and debt forgiveness. However, in the northern districts of Uganda, including Lango sub region, people are getting poorer.
Causes to extreme poverty
- 20,000 children were abducted and forced to join the rebel ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA).
- The rate of HIV infection has increased in northern Uganda unlike the rest of the country where the rate of infection has decreased.
- The prevalence of malnutrition increased drastically.
- Effects of extreme drought and flooding affecting food production.
- Higher drop-out rate of girls before age of 18 years at 33.0 per cent before completion of secondary education according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA, 2017).
LC12 Action Plans (after Lango Development Agenda conference)
To use both internal and external resources from development partners directly mobilised through Lango Development networks and efforts. The strategy has to ensure ownership of Lango Development Agenda by Langi and to go a long way in ensuring its success. Lango Youth and Women are considered special groups that are sometimes marginalized or vulnerable. Special attention should be paid to their contributions to development in the sub-region (LC12).
The conference identified two to three areas of action in response to the building on the internal Strengths; reducing the Weaknesses; taking advantage of the Opportunities; and addressing any external Threats.
- Strategic Objective 2: Building Capacities for the Future (i.e., Social).
- Strategic Objective 3: Mobilizing Resources for Sustainable Development (i.e., Economic).
SOME FAMOUS LANGI
• Apollo Milton Obote – Prime minister from 1962 to 1966 and president of Uganda from 1966 to 1971 and from 1980 to 1985.
• John Akii Bua – set a world record of 47.82 seconds in the 400 metres hurdles in the 1972 Munich Olympic games.
• “Field Marshall” John Okello – an immigrant bricklayer led the 1964 revolution in Zanzibar.