The tepeth tribe and culture in Uganda – For generations, one of Uganda’s oldest minorities has remained huddled on the slopes of Mount Moroto, fearful of the tribes who have been hostile to them over the years. In the shadow of the mountain, about 38km from Moroto town, is Tapac Sub-county home to the Tepeth tribe. They can only be accessed via one route, a winding marram road, to say but the least, dangerous as it features a series of deadly car-wrecking potholes.
According to local authorities, at least 40,000 Tepeth, many of them women and children, reside in the conical mud and wattle huts littered across the ridge, semi-arid savannahs and scrubby forests, without access to basic needs such as education, clean water, electricity, healthcare, and are ebbing away on the banned culture of Female Genital Mutilation.
The Tepeth tribe and culture in Uganda – are thought to be the original inhabitants of the Karamoja planes. They were hunter and gatherers by tradition, but were forced to abound this way of life in exchange of agro-pastoralism due to the declining of wild life population in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Their predicament very much like the one that befall Yazidi sect that sought refuge on Sinjar Mountain in Iraq mid this year, under siege from ISIS militants; only that this time, the Tepeth are not refugees but prisoners in their own home without substantial government support to aid them lead an ideal life.
Lokiru Sisto, Moroto District security officer, notes that over the past decade, the greatest threat has come from the Turkana region and its people to whom some of the Tepeth have lost their lives whereas the Matheniko have mainly rustled the Tepeth’s cattle. “This year alone, six people were shot and killed by the Turkana, having attempted to come down from the mountain and settle,” he says. “Over the last three years, we have lost about 21 lives.”