Justice and Peace News
The Monthly Newsletter of
the Justice and Peace Commission Gulu Archdiocese
Oywa’s profile. She is nominated for the Global Peace Award
plight of Gulu Children
the victims of UPDF torture speaks out
forms body to end northern conflict
building from a student’s eye
brigade raises moral questions
Chronology of recent events in the month
to serve not to rule
The referendum has many
unanswered moral issues
2005 has seen Ugandans deciding on the system of governance to take. For
almost two decades, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government ruled
Uganda on a one party or no party system.
So, they say time has come
for Uganda to go multiparty system. The voting took place on July 28th.
However, one wonders the moral integrity of this referendum. To be specific,
in the north of the country, there is a population of nearly 1.6m people
living in the internally displaced persons concentration (IDPCC) camps. Here
are people who depend entirely on World Food Programme (WFP) for food
supplies. These are people whose movements are limited by the Uganda People
defence Forces’ (UPDF) soldiers and Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels not
beyond 4Kms away from the camps. This is a population dying of some
preventable diseases because they cannot afford modern medical treatment in
hospitals – so they resort to traditional, but fatal treatments. This group
of people cannot afford to send their children to school for formal
education. They lack decent accommodation, as well as clean water!
Some of the unanswered
moral questions are, “Is it fair to subject a population like this to an
important issues like referendum? Is it reasonable to waste money on such an
exercise about which the population has no civic education? How free are
such people when some scrupulous politicians issue threats of withholding
supplies of their livelihood if they voted against the government position?
How can one expect a person living under threats to act freely?
The people living in the
IDP camps are prisoners of conscience, not free and it is morally wrong to
subject them to a referendum. As such, though some people may claim it a
success, this referendum raises many answered issues. It is high time the
people of Uganda woke up to challenge the attitude(s) behind such senseless
misplacement of priories.
Voice of the voice less
(Rosalba Oywa’s profile)
She is among the three
Ugandan women nominated for the prestigious global Peace prize. If all goes
well, then Rosalba Oywa will be the second African woman to receive the
Noble Peace Prize. Last year, the first African woman, Wangari Maathai who
is the Kenyan deputy minister and environmentalist won. One thousand women
have been nominated this year for their outstanding performance in the fight
for peace and human rights.
A resident of Goan’s
quarters west of Gulu town centre, Oywa is welcoming. Without a call, I just
went to her resident, knock at the door, and there, she comes out. I
explained my intension for interview and without question, she said, come
in. She however explained that she was preparing to go to Kampala and
promised to call me immediately she is back. After a day, I got her message
and again am back to her in the same sitting room.
I found her busy perusing
through many textbooks and pamphlets. Her daughter drawing pie charts and
graphs using a laptop computer. The room is full of statues and sculptures
depicting peace and how to resolve conflict peacefully. There is a big
printer in one corner and many drafted and sketched documents lying on
tables and on sofa sets. She served me with soda.
The nomination was a sock
to Oywa and came at the time she is organising to celebrate the 10th
anniversary for People’s Voice for Peace (PVP), the organisation she
founded. “Me, being nominated, a miracle. I even don’t know who nominated
me, but I see God’s hand in it,” she said.
If the nomination becomes
real then Oywa plans to marry the event to that of marking PVP 10th
anniversary. She considers it a great honour to people of northern Uganda
especially women. She said although she is the women’s voice, the honour
goes to all of them. “I look at it as the world trying to honour women who
have suffered a lot in this region,” she added. To her, the gesture is a big
encouragement to women. Personally, Oywa could not belief that she would
reach the level of being nominated for such a global award.
Oywa, 52, became a social
worker with the Agency for Corporation and Research in Development (ACORD)
in 1986 after she left teaching. In 1995 she however, committed herself
fully to peace-building work when she registered PVP as a legal entity. She
then focused herself to working for conflict resolution, Human Rights
activities and development initiatives.
With a few group of women
with whom she formed PVP, Oywa then began sensitising the community in
Acholi sub-region about conflict and its consequences. She also helps to
build the capacity of the community and solidarity groups. Their works
enable participants handle conflicts that arise in community. The
beneficiaries among others are sexually abused women, land mine victims, the
maimed and mutilated. The services made them recover from trauma.
Apart from counselling,
Oywa and her team offer revolving fund to the victims. It is to engage them
into income generating activities. At the same time, the victims are advised
to participate in peace building using the knowledge imparted to them. “So
they developed tools for conflict resolutions on their own. The tools are
poems, songs and other cultural expressions, said Oywa. According to her,
the methods help in sustaining peace. The methods stem from their belief
that peace can only come through dialogue. “We believe dialogue is better
than violent means of solving conflicts. Through peace talks, consensus can
be reached. War springs up new violence,” added, the widow of three
Her skills were able to
soften the hearts of her clients. Most of them wanted to commit suicide but
after she counselled them, they scale down their desperation. That is why
she concludes that talks can end conflict of any kind.
dark-skinned woman also engages herself to Justice and Human Rights
activities. She documents Human Rights abuses. PVP itself is part of the
coalition against torture, which is under the leadership of Foundation for
Human Rights Initiative. Cases she documents are incorporated in cases from
other part of Uganda. The information is used to challenge the government
about the Human Rights situation in the country.
“We challenge the
government to live to the expectation of the universal treaty Uganda signed
against torture. This is because torture is perpetrated by security agents
such as the army, police, prison among others,” she added. PVP gives the
information to Uganda Human Rights Commission to use it to show where the
country stands in terms of respect for rule of law and human dignity.
Oywa also has economic
strategy that encourages her clients to engage in self-help projects that
generate income. Some women work in groups while others have individual
projects. She provides revolving funds that the women use to buy and sell
vegetables, fish, and second hand clothes among other items. “This kind of
investment has enabled them meet their basic requirements and supporting
their children in schools,” Oywa said.
Now, many of those women
have acquired land from the proceeds and settled in with their children.
Majority are women rejected by their husbands after they were deformed by
land mines or sexually abused. But now they have regained their dignity by
settling with their children in their own land.
Success did not come easily
for Oywa. She had to take time convincing donors who could not understand
her long-term peace-building project. Most donors favour short-term
projects. On one hand she was dealing with changing of people’s attitudes,
which is not easily measured. She therefore had to face problem of funding.
Oywa is also dealing with mothers. But they are unable to sustain their
children at school. The high demand therefore, goes back to traumatise the
women. The youth on another hand go back to anti social activities when they
drop out of school. With the meagre resource, it is not easy to control
these youths, rendering her effort half way done.
As if these problems are
not enough, documenting testimonies of rape and torture victims is risky for
Oywa. Because the culprits do not want the truth known.” But if I do not
publish the testimony or if I distort it, I will not be doing my work. And
where will my credibility be,” she asked.
Despite all the problems,
Oywa managed to change the lives of thousands of war victims. She supported
serious land mine and rape cases to get treatment and counselling. Over 1500
of them benefited from the loan scheme. Even at the time of inception, PVP
had less than 15 members. Now, she has incorporated some clients who grasped
the essence of peace building into the membership.
Experience has now made
Oywa become member to many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) local,
national and international. She has received many invitations to go and
share her experience in many countries. According to her, her travel has
contributed to “breaking of conspiracy of silence” about the problems in
Born in 1953, Oywa went to
Anaka Catholic primary school where she joined Sacred Heart SSS for her
ordinary level. She completed ‘A’ level from Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga in
Mukono. In 1974, she graduated with a BSc and later Diploma in education,
all from Makerere University, Kampala. She taught chemistry and biology in
Kitgum High School and Pabo SSS in Gulu district.
In 1993 while at ACORD,
Oywa got an opportunity to study a course in conflict management. It helped
built her skills. Currently, she works as a freelance consultant in peace
building. She is also a regional coordinator for Coalition for Peace in
Africa. She oversees its activities in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan.
But her experience of war
while at Pabo remains her turning point in life. The 1986 insurgency found
Oywa in Pabo. When the rebel activity intensified, she fled to Gulu town
losing all her belongings. She was transferred to Sir Samuel Baker School
but quit teaching shortly after and joined ACORD until 2003.
As a teacher, she had
accumulated a lot of wealth but lost everything when the war began. She
became destitute. “I experience life sleeping under people’s corridors. I
know what it means to beg,” she recalled.
It was her brother in law
the late Monsignor Celestino Odongo that rescued her. He re-located her
family to Lacor Seminary. “That experience changed my world view
completely,” said Oywa as she peered into the air.
Before taking long in the
Seminary, luck felt on Oywa and she got work as a researcher with Panos
Institute. As she moved collecting data from war victims, Oywa could
visualise what had happened to her. From her mind she knew she overcame her
problems because she got a job. “I realised it was a different story for
other women, she recalled and said, we published their testimonies but I
could see them gain nothing from it. I said to myself, what will be my
accountability to this women?”
With that thought in mind,
Oywa hatched an idea of starting PVP in order to generate income for the war
As a child, Oywa grew up in
a poor family. Her parents were peasant farmers. She could dig, grow and
weed her own crops.
Like other traditionalists,
Oywa’s parents favoured boys. Her elder brothers were sent to schools but
not her sisters. Unfortunately, boys misbehaved, and all of them dropped out
of schools. It was an eye opener to her father and he decided to try his
luck on a girl. Luck felt on Oywa. She succeeded and became the only
educated person in the family and borne all the responsibility in the home.
She cared for the parents till their death. Currently, she takes care of her
brothers’ and sisters’ children.
Oywa, with a vision of
turning victims into peace agents is a woman gifted with five children. Two
girls and three boys. The elder, Deo Olok has completed studies from Mukono
University. Like his mother, Olok is also engaged in social work. Two young
ones are in S2 and S3.
The plight of Gulu children
Very many of them roam the
town streets daily. They are in groups but others walk alone. They do not go
to a specific area but keep on moving from one street to another. These are
the children in and around Gulu town. They are in school going age. Majority
of these children range from the age of seven to fifteen. Those from between
the age of 16 to 20 also have their own groups. Most of them bicycle or
motor bike transporters (Bodaboda).
These are children that are
supposed to be at school but they are there on the street. With dry lips,
red eyes and shy looks, they walk lazily. When they see you looking at them
critically, they bow their heads and try to increase their speed as they
passed by. They fear looking straight into your face. Most of them have
common answers: I have been chased away from school because of payment. Some
are unable to explain the kind of payment needed at school. Others only say
Albert Okwonga says he was
sent away from school because of non-payment of lunch fee. He is in P3 in
Pece P7, a school in Gulu town suburb. I got him walking aimlessly in
Tergwana, another town suburb. He willingly accepted to take me to his
parents to inquire whether he was honest. At home, I found his caretaker,
Janet Atto seated under the grass thatch hut. She says it was the third time
this year Okwonga has been sent away for non-payment of lunch fee. He is
supposed to pay Uganda shillings. 5000, which Atto is unable to easily get.
The worst thing is that she also cares for three other orphans. In her 20s,
Atto is unemployed. She depends on her husband who does petty work to earn
them a living. They are displaced persons. But Okwonga has a trick that
keeps him surviving at school. He first waits for one to two weeks when
school authorities have forgotten about him then resumes studies.
Okwonga’s situation is
fairer. There are many children in Gulu district who do not even think of
school. Their problem could be hunger. When the day breaks, their mind goes
to what to eat to day. Some lack guidance. They are left alone. Their
parents live in the camps far away. In my survey one early evening, I
counted between seven to fifteen children on each street loitering or
selling something. At the roadsides, you meet many roasting maize for sale.
Others carrying roasted ground nuts, bandazi or sugarcane on their heads,
all for sale. Most of them say there are sent by their parents. Some say
they do it to get money for their scholastic materials. But what one wonders
is that it is approaching exams time. Those in P7 are preparing for mock
A northern Uganda
Humanitarian situation report of may by UNICEF indicates that the Lord’s
Resistance Army (LRA) rebels attacks and abductions drive an estimated
40,000 children from villages to urban centres. The report states that
although the threat of rebel attacks forces children to streets, recent
assessment in Gulu district indicated that 25 percent of child commuters
leave their homes due to family problems. The report said 25 percent of the
school going age children are out of school with over 60 percent of the
1,229 primary schools in the districts of Gulu, Lira, Apac, Kitgum and Pader
are not functioning.
Teachers have their own
reasons to tell for children missing class or dropping out of schools. At
Laliya displaced schools about 3km north of the town, teachers say some
parents, especially mothers, keep their children at home to baby sit or to
do home work when there is problem like sickness. Others, whose parents have
left the camps for home village, followed them. A teacher from Laliya, the
primary school that hosts the displaced schools says there is also problem
of young girls getting pregnant yearly. This year, one has already gotten.
She was in P7. “Some of these girls stay alone. Their parents are in the
camps. Temptation can come to such a girls,” a teacher who asked not to be
named said. Rwot Obilo, another displaced school also at Laliya had 445
pupils that registered at the beginning of the year. But, by the end of
June, about 87 had already dropped out. A teacher attributed it to abrupt
end of school feeding project. The project ended last year. Before its end,
it had kept many children at school.
Re-establishment of new
camps like Coope is also a contributing factor. Parents re-located to new
camps where they can get gardens. Their children also followed them. With
all these problems they are faced with, children from northern Uganda
including those living in the camps sit the same primary Leaving
Examinations (PLE) with the rest of others in the country. And they are
marked using the same standard and judgement. Is this justice?
There is also the problem
of child headed families. As orphans, they are also breadwinners at home
apart from taking care of other young ones. Too much responsibilities do not
allow them attend class. Yet negative attitudes towards education have also
cropped in now. Children view education as having no immediate outcome and
waste of time. They join militia/home guard and girls are married away.
Teachers are also few. Some classes wait the whole day without being taught.
Teachers lack basic teaching necessities like textbooks. “There are no good
Kiswahili text books. Now they have introduced again local language in
schools but no text books for them,” a teacher complained. New curriculum
has been introduced but teachers were not given refresher course to update
Teachers also complain of
welfare. Those living in camps, complain of lack of accommodation, transport
and meals at lunchtime. “We teach from morning to evening without meals,”
one teacher added. Some head teachers complain of threats from the
politicians in the district. “Instead of advising us they come to threaten
us. So we live in fear of being removed from our posts anytime,” head
teacher who did want to be named said. Others say parents and children
misinterpret children’s rights. “When a child makes mistakes and is given
punishment, they complain that there is no beating. Teachers become
demoralised and give up,” one head teacher said.
Sympathisers of children
who live in war areas especially in the camps suggest that government should
make Universal Primary Education (UPE) completely free and compulsory by
removing all hidden cost like uniforms or feeding. Government should provide
free uniforms, meals and scholastic materials. According to this survey, it
is clear that lack of meals, desks and other scholastic materials are
responsible for the high drop out rates from schools. The government should
also end this ‘unending’ war, children are just victims to it. Children and
women have borne the greatest effect of the war that has taken nearly two
decades. According to UNICEF, over 20 percent of children in the northern
districts of Gulu, Pader, Kitgum and other surrounding districts are
orphans. Their parents died due to war or AIDS.
Victim of UPDF torture
He limps and sits with
difficulty. He has to sit on one buttock to avoid bruises on the other
buttock. If he sits for long time, pains force him to lie on his stomach. He
is helped to sit, lie or change position. He can neither walk alone.
Okelo (not his real name)
is critically injured. Bruises are all over is body. His buttocks bleed as
he walks or sits. The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers battered
the 36-year-old man.
Okelo met his barterers on
June 6th 2005 at 5pm in Koro Abili, about 5 km from Gulu town.
He was from his home at
Awer camp for displaced persons about 12km west of Gulu town but ended up in
the army cell for a week. He was going to visit his niece who stays near
Koro army detach. “I had stayed for long without seeing my niece.
Unfortunately, the day I planned for the visit was the day problem was
waiting for me. So when I branched from the Kampala high way to the path
leading to her, I met soldiers who said I was a rebel. They immediately
began beating me, he adds.
Okelo said, the soldiers,
numbering four, broke tree branches and used them for beating him. “I become
powerless and unconscious because all of them were beating and kicking me. I
only realised that I was in the cell after I gained my consciousness and
woke up at night,” he said. This is where Okelo was locked up for a week.
Every morning, lunch and suppertime he would be beaten before he is allowed
to get meals. According to Otim, the UPDF referred to the beating as tea or
meal. He could be given little posho and beans. The food is usually very
hot. The soldiers scooped it direct from a boiling drum on fire and forced
him to eat it very fast. If Otim tries to cool the food in his mouth he
would be beaten.
When Okelo was released
after a week from the quarter guard (army cell), he could not sit on the
bicycle brought to take him to town. The whole buttocks were wounded. He had
to send message to his brother in Awer camp to hire a vehicle. He then laid
on his stomach while being transported home.
Okelo’s problem continues
when he failed to get money for treatment. The nearest hospital is at Lacor,
which is about 7km from Awer camp. He was weak to walk up to Lacor. The
brother was also unable to cater for him anymore because he had used all the
money he had for hiring vehicle to bring him home. His wife however, was
using hot water to massage him.
Luck felt on Okelo when a
paralegal identified him. She sacrificed her money to transport him to a
clinic in Gulu town where he began receiving treatment. Justice and Peace
Commission of the Archdiocese of Gulu to report cases of Human Rights abuses
train paralegals. They (paralegals) are in all the sub-counties in Gulu
districts. Others are in Kitgum and Pader districts. She reported Okelo’s
case to Justice and Peace Commission that referred it to Uganda Human Rights
Okelo’s major problem is
now weakness and pains. He is worried that his future will never be the same
again. He is unable to do heavy work. Yet he says he has gardens of maize
and cassava, which he has to weed. He is also not sure whether he will be
strong again to till and grow crops for his family. He feels pains all over
the body. His arms are paralysed. He is unable to handle a hoe for digging.
All these came about as a result of a lot of beating. He could be kicked and
stepped on. His waist is affected and he fears he may not have normal sex
again with his wife.
At least Okelo has been
identified by the paralegal and he was brought to Justice and Peace
Commission’s office (JPC). JPC has forwarded his case to the Human Rights
Commission’s office. Justice may be done to him. There are however,
countless cases in the villages there where the victims are not aware of
According to the Human
Rights Watch release (Vol.16 No. 4 (A), the use of torture as a tool of
interrogation is foremost among an escalation in human rights violations by
Ugandan security and military forces. Forms of torture in use in Uganda
include kandoya (tying hands and feet behind the victim) and
suspension from the ceiling of victims tied kandoya, “Liverpool” water
torture (forcing the victim to lie face up, mouth open, under a flowing
water spigot), severe and repeated beatings with metal or wooden poles,
cables, hammers and sticks with nails protruding, pistol-whipping,
electrocution, male and female genital and body mutilation, death threats
(through showing fresh graves, corpses and snakes), strangulation,
restraint, isolation, and verbal abuse and humiliation. Some of these
practices have resulted in the death of detainees in custody. An informal
survey at Kigo Prison near Kampala, where “political” cases are held,
indicated in June 2003 that 90 percent of detainees/prisoners had been
tortured during their prior detention by state military and security
agencies. Under Ugandan criminal law, only the police are authorized to
detain a suspect, who within forty-eight hours must be transferred to the
jurisdiction of the criminal court to be charged, or released. The
constitution requires military, security and intelligence agencies to
promptly turn suspects over to police for detention. Uganda’s rising tide of
human rights abuses—torture chief among them—is a reversal of “recorded
improvements in the observance of human rights by the state in Uganda” from
1986 to 2000, according to a nongovernmental Ugandan human rights group.
Since 2001, “many human rights violations in breach of the rights to life,
liberty and security of person have been recorded.” The official Uganda
Human Rights Commission (UHRC) documents that “torture is on the increase
and, during the period under review [January 2001-September 2002], more
cases than ever had been received.”
UJCC forms body to end
The Uganda Joint Christian
Council (UJCC) has formed a task force on the conflict in northern Uganda.
This was in fulfilment of resolution ‘g’ that states that, “We undertake to
establish a taskforce composed of representatives from our member churches
whose mandate shall be to liaise with the government and other stakeholders
with the view to finding an end to the war in northern Uganda.” The
resolution is under conflict management passed during the plenary meeting
held on June 2, 2005. Four people in the taskforce represent each member
church. UJCC is an ecumenical body comprising the Catholic Church, Orthodox,
and the Church of Uganda.
At its inaugural meeting
held in Kampala, the Rt. Bishop Rev. Zac Niringiye, the assistant bishop of
Kampala was unanimously elected the chair of the team. Quoting from St.
Paul’s letter to the Roman 12:16-12, Niringiye reiterated the need to
overcome the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels’ problems in northern
The purpose of the
taskforce is to contribute to the speedy end of the violent conflict of the
northern conflict. The objectives are to respond to and address the needs of
the affected population in the region. Undertake advocacy and lobby using
the members’ structure. The ask force is to network and collaborate with all
stakeholders, nationally and internationally.
awareness throughout the country, the taskforce proposed a monthly prayer
day for peace in the north. It is to be either on the first or fourth Sunday
of the month. The decision is left to the chairperson and the two
co-chairpersons to choose and promulgate. The second meeting is to be held
in August 12, 2005 at the UJCC boardroom in the morning.
The move by UJCC is very
significant, as it has been noted time and again that the senseless
suffering of people in northern Uganda perpetrated by the so-called Lord’s
Resistance Army is a problem and a concern to be addressed by all Ugandans.
It must not be left to the Acholi in particular and people from the north in
general. This is a kairos, an opportunity, to consider efforts for
peace and reconciliation. The move also builds and strengthens the united
stand taken by a cross section of Acholi leaders at a retreat held at Paraa
Safari Lodge, which was fully endorsed by His Excellency Yoweri Museveni,
the President of the Republic of Uganda. The taskforce will cover the
districts of Acholi, Adjumani, Lango and Teso. May Christ, the Prince of
peace grant us peace!
Members of the taskforce
are Rt.Rev. Zac Niringiye, Assistant bishop, Kampala diocese (Church of
Uganda) – Chairperson, Rt. Rev. Charles Obaikol, Bishop of Soroti diocese
(Church of Uganda), Rev. Stephen Namanya, North Ankole diocese (Church of
Uganda), Mr. Elly Nayenda, Arua Church of Uganda, Sr. Speciozia Kabahuma,
Uganda Catholic Secretariat, Mr. Gedeon Obbo Nation President of the
Catholic Laity Council, Mr. William Kidega, Focal Point HIV/AIDS, Uganda
Catholic Secretariat and Fr. Cyprian Ocen, Chairman, Justice and Peace
Commission Archdiocese of Gulu. Others are Fr. Peter Matovu (Orthodox), Fr.
Julius Orach (Orthodox), Fr. George Lakony (Orthodox) and Ms. Joy Kemirembe
Peace building from a
Jackie Ange (Sacred
NGOs have great impact on
peace building. Both positive and negative effects. First, they give both
material and non-material items to war victims. This brings peace because
the recipients are touched. NGOs also involve in peace talks. They can
mediate talks or get direct in negotiations.
On the other hand, they can
set up counselling centres for the war affected. Examples are Gulu Save the
Children organisation and World Vision. This arrangement encourages those
still in the bush to come out and join their friends who are being
rehabilitated. It should be noted that NGOs have created a spirit of trust
among the conflicting parties because they do not take side. The neutrality
softens the hearts of the fighting parties and may result into peaceful
negotiation and thereafter lasting peace. NGOs advocate for peace through
many strategies such as organising drama, drawing and essays. Since people
get message through different ways, these can touch them and their sympathy
can be arisen.
We should note that NGOs
could also negate peace building. Their workers can take advantage of the
war to make money for their personal gain. This is corruption. They may sell
or give relief items to their relatives who may not be in need. However, the
impact of NGOs on peace is more positive than negative.
brigade raises moral questions
Many people are questioning
the justice behind creating 105 brigade, which comprises former LRA rebels.
The returnees are now engaged in farming activities in Labora, Patiko
sub-county. The brigade is under the leadership of Brig. Kenneth Banya,
former LRA commander who was captured in Atiak, Kilak County by the Uganda
People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). Report says some of the returnees who were
commanders were allowed to go with their ‘wives’ to the farm.
The creation of the brigade
is raising a lot of Human Rights questions. During the workshop organised by
Amnesty commission on the roles of stakeholders in resettlement,
reintegration and peace building, district officials and NGOs sought
explanation about the creation of the brigade. Human Rights Commission
officer Francis Ogwal also acknowledged receipt of complaint from various
people. According to him, many concern people questioned whether the
returnees were forced to join the 105 brigade, joined it out of fear or they
freely joined it. “It was seen as discrimination because why put them under
only one brigade.” Ogwal however says he was made to understand that they
are grouped under one brigade to dispel the rumour that when they come out
of the bush, they are killed.
But still some people argue
that grouping them in one place is not a good way of integration. They
should be in the communities, not government farm. The proponent of the
arrangement says it is to create for them opportunities for surviving. And
that it is a temporary arrangement. The issue of child mothers working in
the farm also came up. How were they recruited to go there? How will those
who work there benefit from their labour? Will they not be exploited? These
were the kinds of questions Ogwal received. Some of the crops planted there
are beans and maize. They are about to get ready. The issue of leadership
was also queried because Brig. Banya being the leader is seen as an
extension of what happened in the bush.
There are however, some
basic rights, which should be observed and extended to these returnees. The
rights to marry person of your choice. Consider child mothers and their
relationship with their former rebel husbands. These girls were abducted
when very young and forced to marry the LRA commanders. There is coercion in
this relationship. The innocent girls should be allowed to make choice now
that they have come out of the bush where they had no rights to decide.
There is also the right to
belong. No body is very sure that all the returnees in the 105 brigade chose
freely to be there. They would have been integrated into the community and
given the same facilitation they are getting from the government farm. By
this, they would be accepted in the community, but now they are still seen
as belonging to another group isolated from the community. This makes the
aspect of acceptance low in the community. We all know that without
belonging in a family, you are not normal. It’s a basic right. The returnees
whose parents are not there should have somewhere, other than the government
farm, to belong to. Many NGOs in Acholi are now doing the work of tracing of
parents of returnees to re-unite them.
Taking these former
abducted children to the farm under 105 brigade denies them their basic
right to education. They are isolated and lack information about
opportunities for studies. Yet when re-integrated into the community, they
could see their age mates studying and be challenged to go back to school.
But now, they are under command of their former commanders. The district
education office should come up with education programme, “the catch up”
programme so that these returnees get somewhere in the level of education
near to other normal people. They were abducted and denied the right to
education, and I know all of them feel cheated.
These returnees need
continued therapy. It should continue for more than two to three years. The
period in captivity created a number of hill health for them. The common one
is the psychological problem. If they are confined under their former
commanders, they will continue with the trauma they came with from the bush.
Therefore this 105th brigade arrangement is seen as a denial of their rights
to therapeutic care.
There is also the right to
sustainable livelihood. The Lukodi project is temporal. They should get into
the community and join other youths in doing some thing. Many young people
are involved in income generating activities. The earlier they are
integrated into the community, the faster they will realise their rights to
ownership of property.
A call to serve
not to rule
Strive to serve rather than
to rule. That is the advice the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese John Baptist
Odama gave to the new bishop of Lira diocese.
Pope John Paul II appointed
Bishop Joseph Franzelli on April 2nd 2005 before he died. Franzelli, a
Comboni Missionary was consecrated on July 9th in the same year.
Odama, who was the
principal consecrator, warned Joseph Franzelli that he was chosen at the
time when the population of the region is facing the challenge of
strengthening their faith because of depression by many evils and adoration
“I called it adoration of
violence because it is taken as a means of living and seems to over power
human efforts,” the Archbishop said. He added that violence in the region
has affected practicing religion because of displacement, poverty and
sickness among others.
The archbishop also advised
Franzelli to proclaim the message of God whether it is welcome or not and
should correct error with unfailing patience and teaching. “Be a faithful
overseer and guardian. Always be mindful of the Good Shepard who knows his
sheep and he is known by them who did not hesitate to lay down his life for
them,” he emphasized.
He told Christians in Lira
that bishop Franzelli was the last gift given by Pope John Paul II before
his death. “Before he (the Pope) went to heaven he said, Franzelli be my
sign of love to the people of Uganda and Lira in particular,” bishop Odama
He worked in Gulu diocese
between 1970 and 1986 in the parish, Social Communications, as teacher in
the minor Seminary and Kitgum Pastoral Institute where candidates for the
priesthood were trained in a novel way that emphasize pastoral work. He
replaced Bishop Joseph Oyanga who retired in 2003. Franzelli becomes the
third bishop of Lira diocese. The first was bishop Caesar Asili from 1968 to
Because of insurgency and
cattle rustling in the region, Franzelli faces the challenges of responding
to people’s need. Many people live in camps and lack basic necessities.
26th- An elderly
man was killed in Kitgum when he was going to his field in Lamit.
Two soldiers were
killed on the Patongo-Kalongo road when they were on patrol.
Fifteen herds of cattle were raided from Parabongo, Pader district by
4th – Rebels
ambushed and burnt two vehicles in Opete (Kitgum – Kitgum Matidi road).
Occupants escaped unhurt, but two soldiers were abducted.
5th – Kitgum LC5
Chairman vehicle was ambushed by rebels between Madi-Opei and Paloga. The
attackers were repulsed.
5th – One person
was killed in Awere and four others were abducted in Puranga all in Pader
6th – UN
representative Dauda Ture repeated call on Uganda government to renew talks
with the Lord Resistance (LRA) rebels.
6th – Two women
in Acholi, Rosalba Ato Oywa and Ms Jolly Grcae Okot were nominated for
Global Peace award.
7th – LRA top
commander, Lakati was killed by the UPDF in Palabek.
7th – The recent
UNICEF report puts the number of children night commuters in the north to
9th - SPLA took
control of southern Sudan.
9th – 5 People
were killed in an ambush on Patongo – Kalongo road
16th – LRA
killed Santo Okello between paicho and awach
18th – SPLA took
full control of southern Sudan
18th – One
person was killed, ten others wounded when the lorry they were travelling in
was ambushed by the LRA rebels in Madi Opei. The Lory, with New Sudan
registration number was going to southern Sudan.
19th – A teacher
of Koro Abili P7 school was found dead in River Pece. The teacher identified
only as Obina is a resident of Pslenga camp for the displaced persons. He
was found trapped at the River bank. What killed him could not be known and
was buried without posmortem.
20th – Three LRA
rebels, among them a commander only identified as Owacgiwu were killed by
the UPDF in Ogony-Lagile, Awere in Kitgum district.
20th – UPDF said
it had unearthed an LRA arms cache inside Sudan
21st – Samuel
Otto shot dead by a UPDF soldier in Alerao Camp. The soldier was also killed
by his colleagues before he could run away.
22nd – A UPDF
soldier died of Cholera in Parabongo. He died on the way as he was being
rushed to the military hospital. Three of his colleagues are admitted to
Gulu referral hospital.
26th – LRA
killed 8 people in a village inside Sudan close to the Uganda border