The events that took place thousands of years ago in several parts of Africa, including Southern Sudan and the current day western Ethiopia, have not been fully and accurately studied by anthropologists.
Therefore, it is premature, in my view, to begin pinpointing the migratory path of the Karimojong and describing their culture with authority.
This makes sense especially when in this day and age the socio-psycho, anthropological, political, economic, and spiritual analytical theory of the Karimojong is terribly erroneous. This lack of crucial knowledge explains why the views on the Karimojong and the region are for the most part quite simplistic and stereotypical.
The term Karamoja was coined by the British and maintained by the successive Ugandan governments after independence. The application of this term was necessary for three major reasons:
I. Govern the diverse people of this region by one administrative office based in Moroto
II. An instrument used to legitimize the international borders of Kenya, Sudan and Uganda
III. Permanently divide the rest of the Ateker-speaking peoples who include the Turkana (now living in Kenya), the Toposa and the Jiye (now living in the Sudan) and the Iteso (who now live partly in Kenya and mainly in Uganda).
Karamoja is a region that lies in the northeastern part of Uganda covering an area of 27,200 square kilometers. It is considered to be one of the largest geographical locations in terms of land mass. The region stretches from the Bugishu and Sebei border far south, to the Uganda-Sudan border to the north. The entire eastern flank of the province covers nearly three hundred miles of the Uganda-Kenya border giving it the lion's share of the frontier.
Within Uganda, Karamoja borders Sebei, Bugishu, Teso, Lango, and Acholi areas. Because of the vastness of the region, Karamoja displays many and diverse climatic patterns and terrains: semi-arid savannah, bush and mountains. This is contrary to the colonial long-held belief that the whole region is a dry plain, a semi-desert, and a hard place in which to live.
In the districts of south Karamoja, for example, the soil fertility, the climatic conditions and the terrain are one of the best in the country for agricultural activities. This is not surprising as this region is an extension of the climatic patterns of the Mount Elgon.
To the north of the province, the soil and climatic conditions are equally rich and vast. These conditions have contributed to the uniqueness of the Kidepo Valley National Game Park which is known for its unique physical features and collection of rare animal and plant species.
Labwor, which lies to the west of Karamoja, is known as the Bread Basket of Karamoja because its favourable soil and the climatic conditions here are the same as those in the neighboring agricultural areas of Teso, Lango and Acholi.
The only areas in this vast land that can be considered dry or semi-desert with intermittent or little rainfall, include parts of Jie, parts of Maseniko (close to the Kenya-border), and parts of Bokora (particularly the semi-desert of Mata-kul). Generally-speaking, therefore, it can be safely concluded that the above-mentioned areas represent only about 25 per cent of the entire land mass of the region.
Karamoja is also blessed with 17 different kinds of minerals including gold, diamond, iron, marble, petroleum, mercury, mica etc.