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15th August 2004 No 64
By Pelgrini Otonga (11th August, 2004)
Acholi chiefs under the leadership
of Rwot David Onen Acana II have totally rejected the ICC’s idea of meting out justice
by investigating and prosecuting LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony for the crimes
they committed against humanity in the last 18 years.
Speaking on behalf of all Acholi Chiefs, Rwot Acana said that they are prepared to talk to the officials of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and advice them that their activities will never restore peace and justice in Acholi, but will instead increase the resistance and revenge.
He commended the work of the ICJ and assured them that the Chiefs had no intension of hindering or blocking their work. But he added that, “they should take into serious consideration the importance of traditional Acholi cultural values and practices of justice and reconciliation – Mato Oput, when carrying out their work”.
By Justine Moro (11th August, 2004)
Angelina Atyem, the leader of Concerned Parents Association (CPA) in Lira district has met Brig. Kenneth Banya and other LRA senior commanders who have given up rebellion. This meeting took place in Gulu Support the Children Organisation (GUSCO) hall in Gulu on 30.7.2004.
Atyem who was accompanied by other members of CPA discussed many issues and exchanged views on how to restore peace and secure the release of children still being held in captivity by LRA.
The issue of Aboke was top on the meeting’s agenda, and according to information available to Rupiny, it was discussed with openness and frankness by both sides.
The chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Zachary Olum, yesterday asked the Government to avoid pushing the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) too far, saying this would stop more rebels from surrendering.
Speaking at Parliament yesterday, Olum (Nwoya) said, “LRA rebel commanders are now surrendering daily to the UPDF.
Last Saturday, 25 came from Pajule and we are hopeful that the end of the rebellion is in sight.”
He hailed Brig. Kenneth Banya, a former LRA commander, for surrendering, saying, “It has weakened LRA’s capacity since he came out with many top commanders.”
Olum said because the returnees have been given amnesty letters, “More rebels will surrender as they are sure of not being persecuted.”
By Henry Mukasa (9th August, 2004)
THE European Union head of delegation in Uganda, Sigurd Illing, has said the Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion in the north should not be downplayed as ethnic.
Illing also warned that as the war nears its end, Uganda must brace for equally challenging years of the aftermath.
Speaking at the launch of a resource pack “Conflict-sensitive approaches to development, humanitarian assistance and peace building,” Illing said Ugandans would need reconciliation after the war.
The function, attended by diplomats and members of NGOs and civil society organisations, was held at Hotel Equatorial on Friday.
“We have had a struggle to make everybody understand that what happened here was not just a sort of struggle within one ethnic group,” Illing said.
By Chris Ochowun (9th August, 2004)
ANOTHER Aboke girl on Wednesday escaped from LRA captivity and reported to Anaka displaced persons’ camp in Nwoya County, about 60km west of Gulu town.
Northern army spokesman Lt. Paddy Ankunda said the girl took advantage of the military pressure on the rebels and escaped.
The girl, aged 20, reported with a baby.
She was abducted from Aboke Girls’ School in 1996, when she was in senior two.
Editorial (14th August, 2004)
The Movement government has maintained a policy of wooing former rebels and political exiles back home in the spirit of national reconciliation. Within a certain context this is a laudable course of action.
We have seen Taban Amin, the son of deceased ex-leader Idi Amin hosted by the President. He is a known former insurgent. Before him, people like Samia Bugwe North MP, Aggrey Awori, were welcomed back after they had denounced what could qualify as treasonable activity.
While this policy works well to foster national harmony and minimises external threats to the country that are a constant cause for worry and political unpredictability, there is a troubling trend emerging. Almost everyone of these individuals has taken to supporting the lifting of presidential term limits so as to give President Museveni a third term in office.
Sections of the press have quoted the former leader of the mystical Holy Spirit Movement making statements in this direction. Amin himself is in advanced stages of setting up a jazz band whose central function will be to play flattering songs at public functions associated with the third term project.
This is dangerous ground these people are treading. The ex-rebels cannot afford to forget why they took up arms against the government. They cannot also run away from the fact that their past conduct caused this country untold distress.
Therefore, it would not augur well for those who have been wooed home to expose themselves even for the clearly opportunistic reasons that are at play here.
This advice does not encroach on the hallowed and fundamental right of freedom of speech and association that is enshrined in Article 29 of the constitution. The honest intention is to indicate to the returnees that it is in their interest to take a back row seat, especially in this highly volatile political climate.
To persist in indulging today's political leadership directly pits these individuals against those in political opposition. In the event that there is a change at the top where would that leave them? There is the likelihood that they would not feel as free and comfortable as everybody would wish and could easily be tempted to slip back into irresponsible activities.
(a) New Vision: 120m/- Grant
By Justin Moro (4th August, 2004)
KITGUM — The Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD) has given the district a sh120m grant for development activities.
The UPHOLD northern region director, Christian Oryema, told journalists recently that her organisation had also distributed 15,000 treated mosquito nets worth sh25m to pregnant women in the district.
(b) New Vision: Ex-rebels get school in Gulu
By Reporter (14th August, 2004)
A community vocational skills training institution for former LRA rebels and abductees has been opened at Agonga parish, Bungatira sub-county in Gulu district.
The sh12.1m institute which will benefit 162 former rebels and abductees was commissioned by LC5 chairman Lt. Col. Walter Ochora on Thursday.
It was funded by USAID through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and implemented by World Vision Children of War Rehabilitation programme.
The IOM chief of mission in Uganda, Kamel Irani, pledged assistance to the former abductees.
“Although the IOM work will cease in September, we shall continue to compliment the work of other donors to see that you are assisted,” he said.
(c) Rupiny: Typhoid spinning out of control in Kitgum – Odongtoo
By Patrick Otim (11th August, 2004)
Kitgum’s Mayor Odongtoo Tabu has revealed that following poor sanitary conditions in Kitgum town, over 80,000 people are threatened with likelihood of contracting diseases associated with poor hygiene and sanitation.
Mr. Odongtoo said that Typhoid is killing many people as a result of the poor sanitary condition in the town and the areas surrounding it.
(a) Monitor: Acfode donates to IDPs
By Evelyn Lirri (11th August, 2004)
KAMPALA- Action for Development (Acfode), and the Uganda Art for Peace have donated items worth Shs17 million to internally displaced people in the northern region.
The items which include sanitary towels, clothes and kitchen ware, were collected from individual well wishers and organisations.
This follows a one-month campaign under the theme: “one love, one people” during which announcements were ran on radio stations and newspapers asking people to donate to the needy.
The Executive Director for Acfode, Ms Josephine Namusisi, said the campaign is one way of raising awareness and identifying with the people in IDPs.
She said Acfode would start training sessions and awareness campaigns on HIV/Aids, peace building and conflict resolution in the camps.
“As a women organisation, we want to empower women in every way possible,” Namusisi said.
Namusisis said the benefiting camps are Pagak in Gulu and another camp in Lira, which they are yet to identify. The items will be transported to the camps by the Uganda Red Cross society and will be distributed on Wednesday and Thursday.
(b) New Vision: Bees mar rebel welcome
By Chris Ochowun (09th August, 2004)
THE traditional ritual to welcome 40 former LRA commanders led by Brig. Kenneth Banya on Saturday, were almost turned sour by a swarm of bees.
The bees emerged from a tree near the residence of the Paramount Chief of Acholi at Kanyagoga in Gulu municipality and dispersed the crowd.
The former rebels were paraded before the cultural leaders and the elders who attended the cleansing ceremony.
Some of the cultural leaders who were preparing to perform the traditional rituals, fled for their lives, when the bees became wild and began chasing everybody.
The elders immediately changed the venue.
Banya led the others in stepping on eggs before the speeches began.
Some former rebels could not attend because they were deployed to help the UPDF fight the LRA die hard commanders, who have ignored the Amnesty call.
Different speakers requested for the revival of the Acholi cultural institution, which they said had been destroyed by the war.
Three of Kony’s wives who were recently flown in from Juba also attended the function.
The cleansing ceremony which was funded by USAID was attended by several government dignitaries including four Movement directors, MPs, the UPDF officers, NGO representatives and district leaders from Lira, Pader and Kitgum.
Banya urged Acholi leaders to maintain the spirit of reconciliation which they had shown them, with other LRA rebels who wished to come out of the bush.
KM e-Newsletter 64: 15th August, 2004
Sources: New Vision, Monitor, BBC, IRIN, Rupiny, MEGA FM, Simba FM, The Uganda Weekly Observer
G= Gulu, K= Kitgum, P= Pader; L=LRA, U= UPDA & LDU, O= Others
*The data is extracted from different sources
+ Refers to killing of civilians unless otherwise stated
++ Refers to killing of LRA (the overwhelming majority of whom are Acholi) unless otherwise stated
+++ Refers to the period from 1st June 2004
** LRAs killed by EDF
*** LRA killed UPDF (Rupiny)
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