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Archive for April 9th, 2007

Bagandans in the Diaspora

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

By far the largest number of Baganda today live in the Buganda region of Uganda. A significant portion of Baganda however now live outside Uganda. Because of the great love for the culture and traditions of their ancestors, as well as a desire to contribute to the development of Uganda their motherland, many Baganda around the world have organized themselves in various groupings to pursue goals that will benefit the motherland.

Ttabamiruka ’07, New York, 2007. Baganda from across the globe, joined by relatives and friends, will meet to review the state of our motherland, get to know each other, discuss Buganda’s future, and celebrate our culture and achievements.
                              
Resolutions Of BUGANDA 2000
The Convention Of The Baganda Diaspora
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PREAMBLE

Whereas the main body of the Baganda live in Uganda and whereas a large number of Baganda live in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Sweden, Germany, Canada, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Kenya and other parts of the World.

And whereas our leaders are presently participating in the Buganda 2000 Convention and whereas delegates, representatives and participants have gathered here at Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, UK from the 27th August to 29th August 1998; we resolve as follows:
We pledge and re-affirm our allegiance and commitment to our Kabaka, the sovereign Lord; His Majesty Ssaabasajja Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi II of Buganda.

Having heard deliveries, reports and presentations from the various speakers and delegates from Uganda, the United Kingdom, U.S.A, Sweden, Lesotho, Swaziland, Canada, Germany, and other parts of the world concerning the health, wealth and fate of Buganda and Baganda in the new millennium; we resolve and declare our unabating support for a united Uganda.

And whereas the said support is unabated and uncompromised in anyway at all, we note with deep concern the deteriorating economical and political situation in Buganda and Uganda, and the increasingly autocratic and repressive laws being enacted in the country such as the recent LAND ACT 1998 which is unconstitutional, corrupt and completely unacceptable in Buganda and to Baganda at large.

We further note with great alarm that Uganda is in real danger of disintegration due to the incessant, endless civil wars and wars on its borders, in particular there is deep concern and resentment at Uganda’s participation in the current war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is also increasing Human Rights violations and disappearance of Moslem Baganda in the country.

Aware of the administration of Uganda and her national assets; the hopeless inept and corrupt administration in the current political system which is NOT working for Buganda and the majority of other ethnic groupings;

Further more we note with concern the proposed referendum on the Uganda political system and note that the terms and conditions in the constitution for this referendum are so absurd, that there is no way the NRM can lose, and therefore Baganda will end up in an NRM dictatorial yoke;
And concerned at the mad “Pan-African” plan to create a Federal Eastern African State made up of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group which is now involved in serious disturbances, and war in the Democratic Republic of Congo;

We are amazed at the double standards that require Uganda to spearhead the Eastern African federal union when Federal status is not allowed at country level in Uganda.

THEREFORE, WE, THE BAGANDA SEATED AT THE BUGANDA 2000 CONVENTION AND REFERRED TO AS THE BAGANDA DIASPORA RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Federo and ‘Ebyaffe’

1. To work tirelessly to ensure that Uganda becomes a Federation of States in which Buganda will be a Federal State headed by His Majesty Ssaabasajja Kabaka and to this end we will pool our resources in the Diaspora to ensure that we achieve this goal.
 
2. To use every opportunity to lawfully reverse the Land Act which has been used to rob Ssaabasajja Kabaka and Baganda of their land. Therefore we appeal to all Baganda to use our energy including votes during elections to get this unfair Land Law repealed and replaced by a fair one.

3. To state categorically, that while we appreciate the return of some of Buganda’s assets, we demand the return of the remaining assets seized by the Government of Uganda. To this end we salute all Baganda who have used their resources to restore these assets to their former glory and to appeal to all in the Diaspora to contribute financially and materially to restore our heritage sites such as the Mmengo palace to their former glory.

4. To promote structures and a culture which will help nurture new, strong and incorruptible leaders for Buganda in the new millennium. To this end we appeal to all Baganda to ensure that they encourage and elect leaders who have Buganda’s interests at heart and to reject completely those who are ready to betray their motherland.

5. Never to allow the events that took place in Buganda in 1966 to occur again. To this end, we will use our collective efforts in the Diaspora to achieve this desired and stated goal.

Kabaka’s Government

6. To channel financial and material help to Kabaka’s Government most of which is run by volunteers. To this end we kindly ask the Government at Mmengo to put in place structures that will enable every Muganda in the Diaspora to make a voluntary community contribution on an annual basis. We also request Kabaka’s Government to appoint an official to co-ordinate organisations and the affairs of the Diaspora.

7. To declare a Buganda Heroes Day to commemorate all Baganda who died in the struggle for Buganda since 1966.

Culture

8. To enhance our Kiganda culture and instil it among our children to ensure that they grow up into confident and well behaved adults ready to uphold Buganda and her values. We will from now on also call on our ancient gods in accordance with our traditional Baganda religion to ensure a healthy, wealthy and progressive Buganda.

Education and Health

9. To mobilise our resources through the various Baganda organisations in the Diaspora to assist the education of our children. In particular we shall endeavour to work through Kabaka’s Government to assist schools in Buganda by contributing to Kabaka’s Education Fund; provide teachers to needy schools and provide bursaries to poor pupils especially in the rural areas.

10. To mobilise the Diaspora particularly the many highly qualified medical personnel who work abroad to assist in working out programmes to improve the health of our people and mobilising resources from hospital and other health institutions abroad for the benefit of our people. We shall also endeavour to provide financial and material help for health centres established by Kabaka’s Government.

Development and Business

11. To use our business acumen and link our economic resources to start and promote Baganda businesses in the Diaspora and in Buganda. To this end we appeal to all Baganda in the Diaspora to start group saving schemes such as Credit Unions from which funds to start such businesses can be obtained.
 
12. To encourage Baganda in the Diaspora to help either individually or working within their existing organisations to assist in the modernisation of the rural areas of Buganda including assisting with construction of simple houses, provision of piped water, and solar energy etc.

Baganda Unity

13. To work hard towards the unity of all Baganda and to overcome divisive issues among us. To this end we shall endeavour to overcome religious divisiveness by changing our attitudes towards people of different religious beliefs; start at home to teach our children to respect religions other than their own, organise more functions which bring together Baganda of different religious beliefs;

form organisations open to Baganda of all denominations; and encourage politicians and businessmen to employ Baganda of all denominations.

Baganda Diaspora

14. Appeal to all Baganda in the Diaspora to work towards unity and where possible join Baganda organisation and where there is none to start chapters of ‘Ggwanga Mujje’. To this end we shall reject negative rumours and criticisms which are solely aimed at preventing the emergence of new Baganda leaders and destroying existing ones.
 
15. Appeal to all Baganda organisations in the Diaspora to consult and work together for the betterment of our people and encourage the exchange of information regarding employment and business opportunities overseas.

Baganda Youth

16. Encourage young Baganda to form youth organisations led by the youth themselves through which they can meet, exchange ideas and get to know one another and get to know our motherland. We apeal to parents to form themselves in networks across continents to enable Baganda children take holidays in homes of other Baganda in other countries. We also request Kabaka’s Government to consider awarding certificates to children born abroad who learn our culture including learning to read and write Luganda, traditional dancing, drumming etc. 
 

“/”Buganda Society Norway 

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa / www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Uganda: Museveni decries Mombasa port delays

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

By Henry Mukasa

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has named an inter-sectoral committee to find ways of lowering the cost of transporting goods from Mombasa port.

The President noted that it was not good for economic growth when goods take 21 days or more to be transported from Mombasa port to Kampala.

He said a cost-effective solution needs to be found to solve the problem, State House said in a statement.

The statement said the President criticised the finance, planning and economic development for failing to work out a plan to reduce the costs of doing business.

“It (ministry) should change the name from planning to sitting ministry because it has failed to help our people,” Museveni said.

He was meeting the representatives of the private sector at State House, Nakasero on Thursday.

The President convened the meeting to diffuse complaints among traders and manufacturers that the Government had awarded a firm; Great Lakes CFS Limited, a tender and monopoly to build and manage an inland port in Tororo.

The President said the committee to be chaired by the finance state minister, Jachan Omach, would include representatives from the ministries of trade, transport, the Office of the Attorney General and the private sector. It was given one month to submit its report.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.newvision.ug

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Uganda: Woman scoops Makerere University guild seat (University President)

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

By Conan Businge and Ronald Humura

Makerere University on Thursday elected a female guild president after a decade of waiting.

Susan Abbo of the Democratic Party swept the polls with 3,570 votes (44.4%) ahead of Remi Muggaga, 2,761 votes (34.41%) and Andrew Tayebwa, 1,235 votes (15.3%). Violet Acumo of the NRM polled 149 votes (1.84%) in a race of 17 candidates.

Abbo, a third-year law student and resident of Africa Hall, becomes the third female guild president in the over 80-year-old university. The others being Norah Njuba (1987/88) and Sarah Kigongo (1998/99).

The results did come with a share of violence. After the electoral commission announced the results last night, lumumba Hall students, where muggaga resides, went on rampage and attacked the neighbouring Mary Stuart Hall, accusing them of betraying Lumumba. Abbo won in Mary Stuart.

The Police fired into the air for over 30 minutes before the violence stopped. According to the division Police commander, Reuben Mbamanya, two Police constables were injured in the scuffle.

Eve Kakumba of the electoral commission said they had anticipated the violence and had requested the Police to beef up security.

“They (Lumumba) could not beat us at this game. We had enough security to restore peace. We expected some people not to concede defeat.”

A former student of Kibibi Secondary School, Abbo has promised to voice concerns of females and rid the university of inefficiency.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.newvision.ug

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Resolution of The International Convention of the Baganda

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

Theme:  Building Buganda: From Words to Action – New Jersey, USA, .

We, the People of Buganda,
• recognising the need for the moral and physical uplift of not only our own people but of all African peoples worldwide.
• recognising the many rifts that divide the Ugandan people, and the suffering that continues to result from such division, and the need for a durable and civic covenant under which we can live together in harmony
• recognising the duty we owe to our ancestors to preserve and build upon the legacy they left us.

Meeting in solemn discourse in the Presence of our Sovereign Lord, His Majesty King Muwenda Mutebi II of Buganda, we hereby resolve:

1. That the gift of unity, loyalty and brotherhood bestowed upon us by our ancestors, and the customs and language that sustain it, are a precious inheritance that we will keep, build upon and use as we go forward into the new era, even as we learn the skills of the outside world.

2. That the Kingdom of Buganda is one entity in custom and in fact, and that it’s leader and ruler is His Majesty the King, and that it’s on the foundation of this united entity that the Baganda will be proud and loyal partners in the union of many peoples who make up the nation of Uganda.

3. That a federal system of administration is the most suited to the harmonious unification and development of the peoples of Uganda.

4. That the rights and privileges anciently kept by the peoples of Uganda shall not be casually jettisoned, and that the Baganda will seek and defend an equal right of all the people of Uganda to such customs and traditions as they may wish to keep.

5. That the lands of Buganda entrusted to the Colonial Government as Public lands have never been ceded by the people of Buganda to any person or persons, and that they are and of right should be in the Royal Custody of His Majesty the King in trust for His People and their common welfare. We thus reject the proposed law that would alienate or subdivide this land.

6. That, as the Uganda constitution directs, privately held property and land may be only sold with the consent of the owner, save for the construction of Public Works, when fair compensation shall be paid. We thus reject the proposed law that would negate this lawful right.
7. That we will as individuals and as a group shoulder unflinchingly the task of rebuilding our land and all of Africa, and that at all times we will keep the public good to be our paramount goal, and that we will at all times make fairness and honesty our motto in private and public dealings.

8. That we will remain firmly united in our task of building Buganda, shunning and abandoning the bad habits of graft, envy and malice.

9. That the education of our children to the highest standards, in the home and in schools, shall be a paramount task of each and all of us.

10. That we will spare no effort or expense in putting into practice these ideas and beliefs.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa (Buganda Society Norway)
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

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Uganda: Kabaka blocks Mabira plans

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

By Henry Mukasa
THE Kabaka (king) of Buganda, Ronald Mutebi, is petitioning the Constitutional Court in a bid to block the Government from giving away part of Mabira Forest to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda (SCOUL).

“The Buganda kingdom cabinet has decided to take this matter to the Constitutional Court to fight for the protection of the environment and all forests in Buganda to save the Kabaka’s subjects and their descendants from the adverse effects resulting from the Mabira give-away,” Buganda’s deputy Information Minister, Medard Lubega Sseggona, announced in a statement.

It noted that the Kabaka’s offer of alternative land for sugarcane production, near Mabira, had been disregarded by the Government. It also regretted that the king’s emissaries to the sugar company had not reached any deal to save the ecologically and climatically critical forest.

On Wednesday, the Kabaka sent his ministers Lutaaya Mukomazi and Kabuuza Mukasa to the company but the owners were reportedly adamant.

According to the statement, the Kabaka’s decision is hinged on the need to save citizens from the “eminent dangers of drought, desertification, poverty and famine the cutting of Mabira would stimulate”.

The Buganda kingdom also decided to take a petition to Parliament, sensitise the public on the dangers of deforestation and stage a peaceful demonstration to save the forest.

“On the same day there will be a rally and a peaceful demonstration as we take the petition, outlining our dissatisfaction at the rampant rate at which forests are being cut,” Lubega said.

The nation has been plunged in an acrimonious debate ever since president Yoweri Museveni proposed to give 7,100 out of the 32,000 hectares of Mabira to SCOUL, owned by the Metha group.

Environment minister Maria Mutagamba prepared a cabinet paper defending the degazetting of the centuries-old nature reserve.

The paper still needs to be discussed by cabinet and approved by Parliament. The NRM, which constitutes a majority in Parliament, is deeply divided over the issue.

Last week, civil society organisations, led by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, already filed a case with the Constitutional Court, arguing that the proposed degazettement violates the constitution.

On Thursday environmental activists, united under the Uganda Forest Working Group to Save Mabira Forest Reserve, handed over a petition against the planned give-away to the speaker, Edward Sekandi.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.newvision.ug

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Uganda: Adultery law was discriminatory

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

 
THE Constitutional Court ruled last week that adultery was no longer a crime. The decision was met with incomprehension and disapproval from the general public, and especially the male half.

Some people wondered whether judges had the right to order changes to the Penal Code. Was it, after all, not MPs to make and amend the laws of this country?

Others wondered whether the judges had taken into account the country’s traditional and cultural values. After all, a man is entitled to more wives under customary law, whereas a woman is supposed to be faithful to one man.

For one thing, the judges were right to dismiss the adultery law as discriminatory. It was legal for a married man to have an affair with an unmarried woman. But it was illegal for a married woman to have an affair with an unmarried man.

Women found guilty of the offence faced a fine or up to a year in jail. Moreover, adultery was enough reason for a man to divorce his wife. A woman had to additionally prove that she had been mistreated or deserted.

Will the court ruling lead to a more permissive and immoral society? Probably not. Adultery remains a ground for divorce for both men and women.

And in this HIV/AIDS era, having multiple partners has become risky anyway, not only for the adulterer but also for his/her partners.

Will it lead to more women seeking divorce? Even that is not so sure. Most women are economically dependent on their husbands. The fact that in some cultures, a woman has to refund the bride price in case she seeks a divorce is an additional obstacle.

More important than removing the adultery law was the decision of the court to scrap sections of the Succession Act, which gave widows almost no control over the family property and offspring.

Apart from the grief of losing a husband, a woman faced the additional, inhuman fate of losing her land, house and guardianship over her children. Removing that cross was the best Easter present the judges could have given the women of this country.

Posted by to APN by Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Uganda: Kenyan driver drowns in Karuma falls

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

 
One person died and two others were seriously injured when their trailer plunged into River Nile at Karuma Bridge on Friday.

The dead was identified as Adam Hammed-Abeille, a Kenyan national. The injured, Ssinna Muhamed and Muhad Adbu, were rushed to Gulu Independent Hospital.

By a Good Muganda

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UK: Chebii addressing members of the Kalenjin Organization (Kokwet) in London

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

ImageFormer Minister of State for Immigration, Mrs. Lina Chebii Kilimo, on a stopover in London, addressed a gathering of Kalenjins in the UK on Saturday.

Mrs. Chebii, the first Kalenjin woman to be a Minister, praised the Kalenjin organisation under the stewardship of Kokwet.

Kokwet is a support organisation that consists of ethnic groups of the wider Kalenjin community which includes Keiyo, Marakwet, Pokot, Nandi, Sabot and Tugen, as well as the Kipsigis and Terik (Nyang’ori). Kokwet caters for the interest of the Kalenjins in UK and Europe.

Mrs. Chebii said that London was “city of inspiration” and expressed her appreciation to Kokwet to invite her to speak to them.

Mrs. Chebii, who voted against the government during the Constitutional Referendum debate and lost her cabinet position in the ensuing reshuffle. She went further to say that

she valued the Kalenjin and the land aspect of the debate was not to their benefit. On corruption, She stressed that “corruption is life in Kenya and KACA has no teeth”.They keep asking for money for your file to disappear.

 In her speech, Mrs. Chebii addressed many issues including Passports issuance – now streamline to 14days, schools quarter system and the Mt. Elgon clashes. She laid on the

Kenyan media for misrepresenting her views and said “even the grandmother lives in that area”. A report in Standard newspaper mentioned a number of parliamentarians as being ‘behind’ the atrocities, and Mrs. Chebii was among those named. Other named were William Ruto, Franklin Bett, and Musa Sirma.

Mrs. Chebii thanked Tabitha Seii for the foundation of Civic education in Rift Valley, and informed the gathering of the Marakwet girls and women project she ha formed to offer sanitary towels and to pay their school fees.

London has become a very popular city. Other events expected to take place includes a Super charged Kenyan Delegation to meet the Tesco Executives about  Carbon Emission Debate on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

.Hon Mutahi Kagwe is expected next week on Thursday to talk about ICT. While in May NARC Kenya is expected to meet Kenyans in London. Venue and date has not been confirmed.

A word is going round that ODM Hon Kalonzo is also making a tour of Europe and will pass London as well subject to confirmation

Posted to APN by Karuga wa Njuguna

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Mali kicks off campaign to elect their president

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

Bamako (Mali) Political rallies in Bamako, the Malian capital, marked the launch of the electoral campaign for the presidential poll with seven million registered voters, APA learnt on Sunday.

Outgoing president Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT), who is seeking re-election, opened his campaign with a rally in which he commended the support of his 2002 presidential poll challenger, Soumaila Cisse.

He criticised opposition figures in his cabinet, saying they are criticising him while remaining in his government.

Toure’s meeting was held at the Bamako International Conference Centre, located on the west bank of the Niger River, which faces the Cultural Centre, where his closest challenger Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) also hold his rally.

IBK denounced what he decried as “bad governance, nepotism, political racketeering”, promising that if elected, he would promote the “right-person-at-the-right-place” policy and fight the ailments plaguing education and health.

IBK is also expected to deliver a five-minute statement Sunday as part of an air time allocated to all eight runners on the Malian state-owned television and radio.

According to the draw supervised by the National Committee for Equal Access to the State Media (CNEAME), Keita is slated to call the tune for the statements, followed by green candidate, Mrs Aminata Diallo.

IBK is to send pre-recorded sequences for the first campaigning week, reliable sources revealed here.

More than 6.8 million Malian voters are expected to cast their ballots for the 29 April first round of the presidential poll and the runoff slated for 13 May.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Starring role for street children

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

By Sandra Jones
BBC News, Kenya

I am sure all correspondents working abroad have thought the story they are covering would make a great film. Well, a film has now been made covering a fictitious African war and should be on our screens in May. Boys play the role of soldiers for the camera 

 

Former street children play the role of boy soldiers in a war comedy>

In front of me, a skinny 10-year-old boy, swathed in gun belts, is balancing an AK-47 between his small bony knees.

He is sitting in the shade of a fig tree. Behind him, slightly older boys are hollering and waving their guns.

One cocks his, and lifts it to his shoulder.

Having chased news stories throughout Africa over 10 years, this is not the first time child soldiers have pointed guns at me. Usually they are out of their heads on drink and drugs.

These children have a terrible life – often kidnapped from their homes and forced to fight by adults.

Their guns and youth make them dangerously unpredictable. My survival strategy is simple – treat them with respect and try to keep my head below the height of theirs.

Never make them feel like children.

But on this film shoot, nothing is as it seems. The boy soldier is actually reading a book, called My Clever Fairy.

Street survival

Some of the other children have laid their guns down and are playing Jenga with the British actress Doon Mackichan. The actor, Martin Jarvis is studying his script close by.

In the next scene, his character, a big beast of the BBC’s Foreign Affairs department, comes face to face with these boy soldiers. 

On my other visits to Africa, as a journalist, my team has never consisted of more than four people. 

But this time there are more than 40 of us! 

Actors, cameramen, directors, security, makeup, dressers, even one large soppy dog. He plays the vital role of the vicious dog in the middle of a minefield. 

The boys playing the part of child soldiers, are not hot-housed drama school brats.

They are street children – one of the biggest problems throughout this continent.

Former street children<Many of the former street children are now accomplished acrobats

Acrobatic team  

Survival is hard on the streets.

For safety’s sake, many of these children sleep together in doorways, sewers and shop verandas. 

But they steal and fight each other for whatever scraps of food they find. Years ago in a market, I saw a crowd beat a small street boy to death for stealing food from a stall. In countries where survival is difficult – street children are treated as vermin.

But our boy soldiers got lucky – they have all been rescued by the Gilani family, who run a number of successful businesses.

In gratitude for their good luck, they decided to set up a street children refuge.

Yasmin Gilani, one of the trustees of the home, has a simple philosophy: “You come into this world with nothing, you leave with nothing – so you might as well try to spread some happiness.”

Six years ago, Yasmin and her family, went out in the middle of the night and found 140 boys sleeping on the streets.

If you come with us, they told them, we will feed you, send you to school, and at the end of your education we will find you a job.

At first there were all sorts of problems. The children were badly nourished, addicted to glue, not used to sleeping inside. 

They fought each other and stole. None of the local schools wanted to enrol the boys as street children have such a bad reputation. 

But the family persisted. They had a flash of inspiration, a teacher was employed to teach the boys acrobatics. 

This needed fitness – balancing on each others’ shoulders in a pyramid four boys high. It also meant having to learn to trust each other, something they never did on the streets.

The acrobatic team flourished, the boys became healthier. They began to take pride in themselves and that spilt over into other parts of their lives.

“But,” says Yasmin, “there are still problems. People are suspicious of street children. They move away from them.  

“That’s why it’s so good you being here. You’re treating them like ordinary boys. Look, your actors are playing football with them. It’s good for them to learn people will like them for themselves.”  

New life

As we are talking one of the boys brings round a big bag of sweets. He offers it to everyone in the crew, and only then do the boys themselves tuck in.

David is the name of the small boy reading My Clever Fairy. He was thrown onto the streets by his mother who had too many mouths to feed.

On our last night, we were invited to watch the boys put on a fast moving acrobatic display. David was grinning through it all. It was breathtaking and just a little scary.

But instead of letting us clap them, they clapped us! We felt humbled.

Life has been harsh for them but as they threw each other up around the rafters, it was clear they were seizing the chance of a new life firmly in both hands.  

We had come to Africa to shoot a comedy. But on our last night we were all surreptitiously wiping the tears from our eyes.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 7 April, 2007 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

Posted to APN by Karuga wa Njuguna

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Buganda’s Indigenous Religion

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

The Baganda believed in a spirit world beyond the one they could see, and this belief featured strongly in their lives, both at the personal level as well as in matters of state. The occupants of the spirit world can be considered to be on three levels.

At the top is a supreme creator, Katonda. The name, meaning creator of all things and Lord of Creation indicates that he was recognized to be superior to all, and was referred to as “the father of the gods’. There were three main shrines dedicated to Katonda at Namakwa, Buzu and Bukule, all in Kyaggwe. His priests came from the Njovu (Elephant) clan. However, little was known of this supreme god and he was not expected to intervene routinely in human affairs.
At the second level is Lubaale of whom there are more than two dozen. Lubaales were of major significance to the nation and the day to day life of the people. The word Lubaale was translated as “god” by early writers in English on Buganda but the histories of the Lubaales, which were well known to the Baganda, all tell of them having been humans who, having shown exceptional powers when alive, were venerated after death and whose spirits were expected to intercede favorably in national affairs when asked.

They are thus more like the Saints of Christian belief than “gods”. In this document, they will be referred to as Guardians.
The Guardians were the focus of the organized religious activity of the nation, being recognized and venerated by all. Even more important, they were the one institution which the King, otherwise almost an absolute ruler, could not ignore or disrespect. Before all major national events, such as coronations and wars, the oracles at the major temples were consulted and offerings were made.

For a King to ignore the pronouncements of the oracle or to desecrate a temple was a sure invitation to disaster. Each shrine (ekiggwa) was headed by a priest or priestess, the Mandwa, who, when the Guardian Spirit was upon him or her, also functioned as the oracle. Generally the office of Mandwa for a perticular temple was assigned to one clan, which would supply the priests and priestesses. Each Guardian had at least one temple, in which was kept a set of sacred drums and other ceremonial objects.

The building and upkeep of the temples were governed by very elaborate and exacting rituals.
The most popular Guardian was Mukasa, Guardian of the Lake. He had temples in his honor all over the country but the chief temple was on Bubembe island in Lake Victoria. To this temple the King would send an annual offering of cows and a request for prosperity and good harvests. Next to his temple was one to his wife, Nalwanga, to whom women would pray for fertility.

The other nationally renowned Guardian was Kibuuka of Mbaale. His legend tells that he was a general of such great prowess that it was said of him that he could fly like a bird over the battlefield. Killed in action in the time of Kabaka Nakibinge, his remains were enshrined at Mbaale ( now known as Mpigi) and he became the Guardian of War.

His temple was desecrated by the British and the contents, including his jawbone, were put on display in a museum in Cambridge. The Primary School at Mpigi is named Kibuuka Memorial in his honor, and was built at the site of his shrine. A listing of the more well known Guardians is
given in the following table:

The Guardians (Balubaale) of Buganda
Guardian Speciality   Main Shrine Remarks
Wanga . Unknown Fixed Sun and Moon in sky
Muwanga The Most Powerful Kiwanga, Kyaggwe Son of Wanga
Musisi Earthquakes Bukasa Island, Ssese .
Wannema Phyical Handicaps Bukasa Island, Ssese Son of Musisi
Wamala . Busundo, Ssingo Son of Musisi
Mukasa Good Health, Fertility, Wealth Bubembe Island, Ssese Son of Wannema
Kibuuka War Mbaale (Mpigi), Mawokota Son of Wannema
Nende War Bukeerere, Kyaggwe Son of Mukasa
Mirimu . Ndejje, Bulemeezi Son of Mukasa
Musoke . . Son of Mukasa
Kitinda Wealth, Long Life Kkoome Island Son of Musisi
Ggulu . None Had no priests
Walumbe Sickness, Death Ttanda, Ssingo Son of Ggulu
Kiwanuka Fertility, Thunder Mmengo, Kyaddondo Son of Ggulu
Nakayaga Fertility . Kiwanuka’s Wife
Namirembe . . Kiwanuka’s Wife
Nagaddya Marriage, Harvest Nkumba, Busiro Kibuuka’s Mother
Nalwoga . Nsazi Island Nagaddya’s Sister
Nanziri . . Mukasa’s Wife
Nabamba . Kirugu, Kyaggwe Came from Busoga
Lubanga . Bubiro, Kyaggwe Came from Buruli
Ddungu Game Hunting Mabira Forest Came from Bunyoro
Namalere Good Health Ssugu, Bukunja .
Nagawonye Rain, Crops Mubanda, Bulemeezi .
Kawaali Smallpox Kakooge, Busiro Son of King Ssuuna I
Kawagga . Buwagga, Kyaddondo Son of King Kateregga
Kawumpuli Plague Buyego, Kyaddondo Son of King Kayemba
Nabuzaana Obstetrics . Her priestesses were Banyoro

Of more immediate importance to the ordinary folk were the innumerable lesser spirits. These were mostly the departed ancestors (mizimu), but also included spirits that peopled mountains, rivers and forests, mostly benevolent but some known to be viciously harmful if not kept happy (misambwa). Rituals aimed at ensuring the goodwill of these spirits were part of everyday life. Every household contained a shrine to the family’s ancestors, usually a small basket to which small offerings of money and coffee beans were made regularly.

Major enterprises, such as the building of a house or the clearing of a piece of land, required a greater offering, maybe of a chicken or a goat. Again, this was usually a family effort with no outside help from any form of clergy. Prayers or offerings involving the shrine of a Lubaale generally indicated some extraordinary need, such as the start of a military campaign.

The Muganda praying for help always clearly understood that the assistance of the
spirits was but an aid to personal effort, or as the Baganda put it, “Lubaale mbeera, nga n’embiro kw’otadde” (pray for deliverance from danger, but start running too).

Every village recognised the presence of numerous local spirits, usually associated with a particular part of the local scenery, perhaps a forest, a stream or a python. These, as a rule, were unfriendly spirits, and the only duty one owed them was to avoid displeasing them.

This might require a small offering of food to be left at a particulr spot from time to time but generally simply meant keeping out f their way by obeying certain taboos. Wood and stream spirits, known as Misambwa, were known to bathe at certain times, no one would venture to the well at those hours. Similarly some tracts were off limits to gatheres of firewood. Lurid tales of the fate that befell transgressors are still told to this day.

The ancient Baganda were thus like the followers of major modern religions in honoring their gods and praying for their help. They differed, however in the relationship they saw between the gods and the rules governing ordinary behavior and morals.

To the philosophical question “Is murder wrong because God forbade it or did God forbid murder because it is wrong?” the Muganda would emphatically answer “the latter”. The nation had an elaborate and carefully observed code of conduct governing personal and family relationships, cleanliness, the crafts, warfare and government, a code which was observed not because the gods ordained it but because it was the right thing to do.

To this day the Muganda considers the statement “eyo ssi mpisa yaffe (that is not our custom)” a major censure.
A communal rather than divine basis for good behavior was useful in preserving the moral foundation of Buganda society, especially in the 19th century when the prestige and influence of the Guardians waned as that of the Kabaka grew.

Thus by the end the reign of Mutesa I in 1884 the formal influence of the Guardians in national matters was gone, within another generation Christianity and Islam would have totally supplanted them.

Traditional mores were more resilient, and only began to change significantly after 1945, especially in areas of family relationship. In the last generation the new order represented by imported religions and political systems has been found to be wanting, not only in the poor cohesiveness and function of the state but even in the personal conduct of religious and political leaders.

Thus the traditional ways are once again treated with respect, even to the extent that the traditional terms for such things as a shrine (ekiggwa) or a prayer (okusamira) are now
being used to describe Christian churches and services. Previously they were terms of abuse used to describe “pagans”. What the final equilibrium will be between tradition and the now dominant Christianity and Islam only time will tell.

By Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Difference between a federation and a monarch

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

To Lt Ikwenyi in London

Havent you people by this time around known the differnece between federalism and monarchism?
Extracts From
THE CONSTITUTION OF UGANDA, 1995
CHAPTER SIXTEEN
INSTITUTION OF TRADITIONAL OR CULTURAL LEADERS

————————————————–

246. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the institution of traditional leader or cultural leader may exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies.
(2) In any community, where the issue of traditional or cultural leader has not been resolved, the issue shall be resolved by the community concerned using a method prescribed by Parliament.
(3) The following provisions shall apply in relation to traditional leaders or cultural leaders-
(a) the institution of traditional leader or cultural leader shall be a corporation sole with perpetual succession and with capacity to sue and be sued and to hold assets or properties in trust for itself and the people concerned;
(b) nothing in paragraph (a) shall be taken to prohibit a traditional leader or cultural leader from holding any asset or property acquired in a personal capacity;
(c) a traditional leader or cultural leader shall enjoy such privileges and benefits as may be conferred by the Government and local government or as that leader may be entitled to under culture, custom and tradition;
(d) subject to paragraph (c) of this clause, no person shall be compelled to pay allegiance or contribute to the cost of maintaining a traditional leader or cultural leader;
(e) a person shall not, while remaining a traditional leader or cultural leader, join or participate in partisan politics;
(f) a traditional leader or cultural leader shall not have or exercise any administrative, legislative or executive powers of Government or local government.
(4) The allegiance and privileges accorded to a traditional leader or cultural leader by virtue of that office shall not be regarded as a discriminatory practice prohibited under article 21 of this Constitution; but any custom, practice, usage or tradition relating to a traditional leader or cultural leader which detracts from the rights of any person as guaranteed by this Constitution, shall be taken to be prohibited under that article.
(5) For the avoidance of doubt, the institution of traditional leader or cultural leader existing immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution shall be taken to exist in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(6) For the purposes of this article, “traditional leader or cultural leader” means a king or similar traditional leader or cultural leader by whatever name called, who derives allegiance from the fact of birth or descent in accordance with the customs, traditions, usage or consent of the people led by that traditional leader or cultural leader.

By Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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THE 20 YEAR POLITICAL/MILITARY CONFLICT IN THE NORTHERN UGANDA?

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

 (Children in a Military- Human Tragedy/ICC an Obstacle or a Solution).

HOW I SEE IT;

Introduction

The Conflict is a political power struggle that originates from the following wider African picture:
. Adopting the mistakes and effects created by colonialism
. Consistent disregard and abuse of human rights
. Tolerance of dictatorial regimes by our developemnt partners i.e the donors
. Lack of democracy and good governance in Uganda that makes Uganda the Pearl of Africa remain a conflict striken country.
. The Acholi strong military and spiritual traditions.

The post independence governments in Uganda have inherited divide and rule policy , one  of the colonisation  mistakes creatated during the geometrical   partitioning of Africa in 1884/85 in Berlin respected no boundaries of the African nations that had evolved hundreds of years before . The partitioning disregarded African civilisation: political , socio-economic development that had evolved hundreds of years before and bound together pieces of nations that had no common languages or any intrests to share.
This was done not in the intrest of the African people but for the colonialists to have a grip on controling the colonised .
As if shattering Africas civilisation and nations was not bad enough , the colonial masters introduced a divide and rule policy based on the ethnic diversities in each country : different ethnic groups were developed differently and given roles according to tribes . Hence entrenching the ethnic differences.

African countries still find it difficult to become cohesive nation , to share political power , to distribute resources  evenly and equitably as
wells making all the people enjoy equal rights and opportunities because of the effects of colonialism.

The post independence governments of Africa did not correct the colonial mistakes but rather adopted the divide and rule policy in order to atatin or retain political power.The dictatorship , nepotism , tribalism , corruption imbalances in distribution of wealth , injustices and disregard of human rights that most of the African countries have upheld have kept African
countries  in conflicts and underdevelopment. No wonder Africa potentialy the richest continent remains the poorest- a big contradiction.

The scramble for Africa s resources , slavery and apertheid continue to be witnessed in African countries in a more modern form and conducted by among others the African leaders and their family members and their henchmen makes
progressive Africans believe that after the direct colonial rule Africa got ruled by white men in black skins or otherwise the Neo-colonialism
administration.

The divide and rule, scramble for power and regionaly unbalanced distribution of wealth, rights and opportunities has made Africa remain a conflict stricken continent and Uganda in particular a conflict poverty stricken country where the gap between  the rich and the poor is
extraodinarily widening.

The rich are dying of too much  wealth and the poor are dying of poverty related problems e.g diseases , hunger , stress  and in misery as result of war or violence related problems and human rights abuses. The main victims are always the children and the women.

Uganda was  in 1889 called the Pearl of Africa by the Winston Churchhill the late British Prime minister because her beutiful flora na fauna , the land scape and plenty of natural resources . In 1970s during the Rein of Terror under Idi Amini Dada Uganda changed her name to the state of blood as described by the British righter Denis Hills in his book “the white pumpkin”.

In this current administration Uganda also acquired the name of the “State of Pain from the Human Rights watch of America”. In short : a country gifted by nature , full of potential , nice people but ruined by civil strife as a result of injustice and disregard of human rights and tolerance.

The Current Conflict in Northern Uganda cannot be unique in this situation and is sustained by the above mentioned factors .
The 20 years Northern Uganda Conflict one of the longest forgotten, neglected human tragedy of the world as “Jan Egeland the out going UN in
charge of humanitarian assistance”.

The conflict has its direct roots in the bush war that was waged by General Yoweri Museveni against the second regime of the late Dr Milton Obote in 1981 -1986.

Uganda held the first mult party elections after the fall of the deceased Dictator Idi Amini Dada in October 1980. Four political parties contested;
the Uganda Peoples congress (UPC) under the leadership of Dr Milton Obote, the Democratic Party (DP) under Dr Kawanga Ssemogerere, the Conservative Party(CP) under Joash Mayanja Nkangi and the Uganda  Patriotic movement
(UPM) under General Yoweri Museveni the Incumbent President of Uganda.

The elections were won by the UPC of the late Dr Obote who hailed from the Northern Uganda.  The commonwealth observers declared the elections to have been free and fair. But General Yoweri Museveni, who hails from the Southern
Uganda, had participated in arranging the elections and also had contested as a presidential candidate declared the elections rigged.

He took up arms and launched a rebellion against the Elected Government of UPC on 2 Feb 1981. He embarked on the ethnic divide and rule policy to mobilise the people from the central and southern Uganda against the UPC government that he called the government of brutal and demonic creatures from the Northern Uganda.

The collective condemnation, dehumanisation and demonisation of the Northern and far Eastern Ugandans caused the division of Uganda into the two political, social-economic zones the North/South division and the 20 years Political / military conflict and the social economic marginalisation of the people of Northern and Eastern Uganda.

The ethnic campaign took roots and created a strong base where Yoweri Museveni formed the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and its military wing the National Resistance Army (NRA) which later was to be re-baptised the
Uganda Peoples Defence Force ( UPDF). The NRM/NRA waged a bloody war against
the UPC government using mainly the tribal sentiments.

The indiscipline that the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) the government forces employed while trying to counter the insurgency include torture, mayhem , panda gali , looting killing of political opponents did not help the situation either. That went along way to justify the NRM campaign and to get more people forced to join the rebellion against the
government.

The 1981-1986 war left close to 500000 people dead, property worth billions of shillings destroyed in the famous Luwero triangle where
the guerrilla war was mainly executed.  All parties i.e the UNLA and NRA contributed to the destruction for all parties pulled their triggers and as usual the civilianse got caught up in the war situation.

The Ugandan government troops carry more blame for the atrocities. What ever the UNLA
did was blamed on the Acholi tribe mainly but also to other communities in the Northern Uganda and far Eastern Uganda.

The Real Conflict

General Yoweri Museveni’s collective condemnation of the northern Ugandan
communities explains why the conflict has persisted. In his book Sowing the Mustered Seed General Museveni reveals the hate campaign and collective condemnation against the communities in the Northern Uganda leads us to the main cause of the Northern Uganda Conflict.

Museveni alleges that the northern Ugandan community is the problem. “Social corruption had widely taken root in the region. Under the previous regimes, the soldiers who, most of whom came from the north had been free to loot
civilian property.

Whenever they looted such things, for example corrugated iron roofing sheets, they would take them to their homes, and their parents would not ask them where they obtained them, in spite of the fact that one could easily tell the difference between a new iron sheet and one that had been previously nailed on some one else’s roof . In this way, the whole community in Acholi and Lango had been involved in the plundering of Uganda for themselves.” (Last paragraph on page 177/ 178 sowing the Mustered Seed).

To the northern Ugandan community and all humane people of the world this careless statement and the brutality that accompany it means an extermination policy against the Acoli people , the Langi , inspired and justified their to resistance against extermination. This is one other reason why many circles especially the northern Uganda community justifies claims that General Museveni has conducted genocide campaign against them.

Okello Lutwa overthrew the UPC government in 1985. General Tito Okello extended called all the groups that were fighting the UPC to come out of the bush and form a government of national unity with him.

The General Museveni opted to negotiate with the new regime first and put forward demands. Peace talks were held in Nairobi Kenya 1985 and an agreement to share power was reached only to be broken by General Museveni causing resumption of fighting which ended in the NRM overthrow of the Okello Regime. This behaviour confirms the strong suspicion that General
Yoweri Museveni was for total maginalisation of the northerners.

On 26 Jan 1986 General Yoweri Museveni`s NRA overthrew the General Tito Okello’s Junta. The UNLA soldiers who hailed from the Northern and Eastern Uganda retreated with their weapons to their home villages in northern
Uganda. The Northern Campaign/Conflict

The NRA advance to the north that I happened to lead was swift in capturing the Northern Uganda territory due NRA superiority in political and military strategy, tactics, cohesion and discipline.  The UNLA saw no reason to continue fighting after all the population had advised them to join with the new NRM government. The NRA had won the hearts of the population. Some elders and church leaders secured the voluntary surrender of hundreds of UNLA officers and other ranks. By February 1986 Gulu the heart of the Northern Uganda which had been turned into the alternative General
Headquarter for the UNLA was secure and in the hands of the NRA.

Relationship between the NRA and the people of the Northern Uganda remained cordial until changes in the leadership of the NRA in the region that brought in new troops and new leadership.

The new Brigade commander of the NRA troops was arrogant and vengeful. He blamed me for “handling the Acolis with kid gloves.” He also begun the collective condemnation of the Acoli people in the same way they were usually demonised in the campaign against the UPC government and added, “They killed our people and looted our property, why are you handling them with kid gloves”. Every Acoli was labelled a thief, a killer or a rapist including the civilians who had never joined the army and the children that were not yet born during the war in the Luwero triangle.  He ordered that all the “looted property be recovered and that all UNLA  members be rounded up.

All the former UNLA soldiers that had come out to and surrendered peacefully were herded on trucks and driven southwards to an infamous reorganisation camp in the western Uganda called Kiburara. Several of them jumped of the
speeding trucks on the highway and committed suicide. Most of them have not returned to Gulu and are feared to have been killed. The former soldiers then started hiding themselves instead of coming out to surrender. Arbitrary arrests and crude methods of torture the three piece kandoya invented in the Luwero triangle i.e tying tightly ones arms backwards until the chest in front may burst  became the method of work. Because the civilians could not stand the torture they started revealing the where about of the former soldiers. The soldiers found themselves going to the bush with their guns to protect themselves as their relatives continued to be molested killed and humiliated.

This situation provoked them into war against the NRA. It is justifiable for   any one else to believe it was self defence out of necessity sparked off the war. It became difficult to convince the population in northern Uganda
that the NRA was not an occupation force sent to exterminate them.

You hear responsible people like Uganda leaders, our ambassadors and members of developed and democratic countries say “Uganda is peaceful country” when millions of Ugandans in the North and far East of the same country are
getting extinct in camps in conditions worse than slaves, wild animals, the jews in the holocaust ever lived in.

Has Uganda ceased to be one country or the northern Uganda is a different country but under occupation of Uganda?  No wonder then Jan Egelund the UN representative for humanitarian affairs has described the Northern Uganda Conflict as “the most forgotten, most neglected human catastrophe of the world today”.

Judging from the response the international community has made on the new crisis in Dafur and the old ones in Burundi, the DRC and Somalia one would be inclined to think that because of the hate and demonisation
campaign against the people of the northern Uganda perhaps the world has forsaken them.

All the former UNLA soldiers that had come out to and surrendered peacefully were herded on trucks and driven southwards to an infamous reorganisation camp in the western Uganda called Kiburara.

Several of them jumped of the speeding trucks on the highway and committed suicide. Most of them have not returned to Gulu and are feared to have been killed. The former soldiers then started hiding themselves instead of coming out to surrender.

The NRA troops were deployed to hunt them with little success because they could not easily identify them. They started beating the civilians in order to force them to reveal where their children were hiding.

Arbitrary arrests and crude
methods of torture the three piece kandoya invented in the Luwero triangle i.e tying tightly ones arms backwards until the chest in front may burst became the method of work.

Because the civilians could not stand the torture they started revealing the where about of the former soldiers. The soldiers found themselves going to the bush with their guns to protect themselves as their relatives continued to be molested killed and humiliated. This situation provoked them into war against the NRA.

It is justifiable for me or any one else to believe it was self defence out of necessity. It became
difficult to convince the population in northern Uganda that the NRA was not an occupation force sent to exterminate them.
I and the troops under me , the 15 Batalion tried to prevent the conflict in vain and when the conflict started i tried to advise the government to resolve the conflict politically or use  acceptable methods in fighting the insurgency but all in vain because my government refused to be on my side. I remained caught up in between defending the people and my government.

At that time I was being fired at from the front by the insurgents and from the back by my superiors and allies, i couldn’t tell who the enemy was. I could not be of help to the people I had convinced to surrender and join the
government. I saw them being molested and herded on  trucks  to the Kiburara
prison farm in the southern Uganda where many did not make it back to the North.

I equate this to a similar situation in which Lt. Gen Romeo Dellaire a Canadian commanding a UN peace keeping mission in Rwanda in the 1994 Genocide found himself in and is yet to recover from the trauma.

The difference is that the Genocide in Rwanda is over but the genocide in Northern Uganda is still going on. Ambassador Olara Otunu while receiving his peace award in Sydney and human rights award in India correctly described this situation in the Northern and Eastern Uganda as “Genocide”.

Jan Egeland the outgoing a special representative of the UN Secretary General on humanitarian operations has two definitions of the situation to make after we had made serious lobby and compelled him to go and visit the
perishing children and suffering masses in 2004 “the most forgotten the most neglected human catastrophe in the world”.

Several resistance groups got up in arms against the government; . One Ojuku a former UNLA officer started the resistance group in the Acoli
land in April 1986.

.Alice Lakwena followed formed the Holy Spirit Movement late 1986 1987
. Otema Alimadi formed the Uganda Peoples Democratic Movement and Army 1
(UPDM-UPDA 1) 1987-1988
. Angello Okello formed the UPDM-UPDA 2  1988-1989
. Joeph Kony formed the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 1991. The LRA was formed of mainly combat hardened children after the adult military professional and politicians had either been killed or had surrendered to the government.
They chose their own leader Joseph Kony who too was an alter boy in the church by the time the rebellion begun.

The dangerous methods the NRM-NRA regime used in fighting the insurgency included;
. Torture in order to extract information and to intimidate and make the population submissive to the NRM Regime.

The rebellion got a lot of support of the local population in the beginning and later the government of the southern Sudan.
One of the methods the government of Uganda employed in order to isolate the rebels and deny them the popular support was the Maoist guerrilla style of “hurt the public and blame it on your opponent”. Covert operations were
arranged by the NRA/UPDF using the kid soldiers captured from the rebels or those that would surrender to the government Army.

The rebels were deployed to go rampaging all over the region unleashing mayhem to the civilians, cutting off lips, hands and killing of the civilians became rampant. Because these kids had been seen serving in the rebel ranks by the population, it was easy for the population to buy the government propaganda that the LRA were terrorising them.

That method helped some how in creating suspicion and a gap between the rebels and the population but also introduced two dangerous phenomena. The population then ceased to join the rebel ranks willingly and abductions and
terrorism became the method of recruitment and sustaining the resistance. Today 95 percent of the LRA are abducted children.
. The scotched earth policy to deny the insurgents food, clean water and any source of income after burning all the granaries, plundering or killing of all the live stock and destroying gardens.
. The soldiers were given licence to loot any movable property since it was deemed to have been stolen from the Luwero Triangle in the South. This became lucrative business for some officers and men who had means to carry
the looted property to distant markets especially in the south. The adverse effects were that corruption was being planted in the ranks of the rather disciplined NRA-UPDF and up to now it is still a menace in the Uganda Army UPDF.
. Dangerous operations like: Operation Fiaka Kufiaka 1986, Operation Sim Sim 1987, Operation White Gold 1987/88, Operation North 1988 /1989, Operation Iron Fist to mention but a few were some of the government campaign against the Insurrection but they turned out to be consistent with operations or crimes against humanity that the people of northern and eastern Uganda shall live to remember.

The war situation created bad surroundings in which the Acoli people have lived for the last 20 years while the government of Uganda is happy and the entire world showing the highest form of neglect. Dr Sverker Finnstrom an anthropologist in the University of Uppsala illustrates it best in his book “Living with Bad Surroundings”

The bad surroundings that turned the children into slaves, kid soldiers and terrorists, the girl children into adolescent mothers, forced wives, slaves combatants and terrorists, men into women (gunga- raping of men).

Where was the people’s army when all this happened? Reverend Father Rodriguez Carlos a catholic priest who has lived with Acoli community in the conflict for over a decade said “Every thing Acoli is dying” i.e the people, the culture, the traditions the human dignity and their property lost and economic infrastructure destroyed:
. 25 000 children were abducted and turned into combatants in the various rebel organisations.
. 10 000 children were conscripted by the government and turned into government troops and militias who are used as human shields by the government troops.
. 7 000 girl children were abducted, raped and subjected to forced marriages and kid mothers taken advantage of by the rebels, government troops and thugs like the cattle rustlers in the region.
. 100 000 children were turned into parentless, homeless who have been wandering between jungles and small townships in search of security, food, shelter and medical care. These were nicknamed the night commuters and the
invisible children. Many found their way to the southern big cities and became street children who live on leftovers from compost pits, have become drug addicts, bandits and have indulged in sexual activities, produced street families whose members are mainly victims of  HIV/AIDS.
. So far 500 000 people have been killed in the senseless war.
. 2 000 000 million people were forced to leave their homes and property and live in concentration camps by the government under pretext of offering them security from the rebels. But instead they continue to be massacred in the
very camps and living in humiliation, degradation and desolation while the world is watching.
. 1000 people continue to die of a combination of hunger, curable diseases, despair i.e. committing suicide and the rampant HIV/AIDS related diseases. 

A Ugandan journalist Eliasi Biryabarema who visited the camps recently said “not a single explanation on earth can justisfy the sickening human catastrophe”.  Where was the international community? The super powers that have solutions to all the problems?

By 1987 international and geopolitical factors begun to exploit and play a role in the rebellion. The government of Uganda had openly supported the rebels fighting against the Sudanese government – the Sudanese Peoples
Liberation Army (SPLA) and those that attempted to fight the government of Kenya- the MwaKenya. The Kenyans and the Sudanese retaliated by supporting the Ugandan rebels. Putting all the supplies they needed at their disposal.

Uganda then started a campaign that it was the Sudan’s Islamic Expansionist policy that was responsible for sparking off the northern Uganda conflict.
This was in order to fit in the USA anti terrorism campaign and gain diplomatic cover and financial assistance as a frontline state against
“terrorism”. This served the government purpose of masking the political conflict between the NRM government and the northern Uganda people. Because of that policy the rest of the world was given a different picture of the
rebellion and perhaps it is one major reason why the international community never reacted with resolve to end the conflict.

The government has used the war to reap diplomatic cover of the human rights violation and political repression. The government and the UPDF officers gained a lot of political and financial capital respectively, out of  the war situation; (holding the people of southern Uganda scared that only one man (General Museveni) can keep the war in the north “there” as long as the war is not coming down south he should remain in power to keep Uganda
peaceful. “Their Uganda” Uganda became two in one.

The cronic and endemic corruption thrived best in the war situation and no government officials in influential position had the will to stop the war untill recently when our serious human rights campaign exposed them to the rest of the world. (the ghost soldiers scheme and shoddy deals in purchasing military hard ware)

The Peaceful Resolution of the Conflict Resolution /the Peace Talks.

Many attempts to end the war through a peaceful solution to the conflict have ended in frustration due to lack of the will to stop the war and the different way of intervention by the international community. The 1985 Nairobi failed peace talks and several other attempts have ended finding a new name for peace talk i.e. “peace jokes”.
These are used to crate a lur for both protagonists to prepare the next wave
of battles or to avert pressure from donors.
The on going peace talks in Juba look to be arranged in the same way like the peace jokes of the past;
. The theme of the peace talks has evaded discussion of the masked root causes of the conflict.
. The parliament of Uganda has not been involved to give the legal frame work in which the nation and all the stake holders should get involved in the peace talks.
. The real stake holders i.e. the people of Acoli, the political, civil society of Uganda.
. The talks in Juba have no strong facilitator given the fact that the Southern Sudan’s young government is inferior to the government of Uganda and may be compromised given the real facts on the ground that the SPLA has derives its major military might from the Uganda government and the UPDF.

“The hand that feeds you”.
. The conduct and conditions put forward by the government do not rhyme with negotiations. The government issues instructions and ultimatums rather than seeking negotiated positions.

. The government policy of talking peace on one hand and fighting at the same time (carrot and stick tactics) which made the past peace talks fail is not yet abandoned. They are on the negotiating table and also preparing to
attack the LRA in the plan B  General Museveni announced recently.
. The government of Uganda has not swallowed the pride and would like to come out of the talks as the winner or conqueror. In conflict resolution there is no winner or loser.
. The issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a major hindrance in arriving at a negotiated settlement and the government and all players involved have not made the issue a prerequisite to comprehensive and conclusive peace talks.
. The devastating effects of the conflict i.e the Political, Social Economic marginalisation of northern and eastern Uganda and the plunder of the wealth of the people in the Northern and Far Eastern Uganda should be made a strong point on the agenda of the peace talks.
. The wider picture which is the lack of political reforms that guarantee the building of democratic institutions that offer good governance and mechanism to prevent and solve political and diplomatic problems peacefully
and politically rather than the government preffered militarily solution has not been put on the agenda for the peace talk.

The ICC  an Obstacle to Peace:
. The ICC charges are a major obstacle to the full participation of the LRA leaders in the Juba peace talks. The rebel leaders fear the warrant of
arrests that were issued by the ICC .There will be no comprehensive Peace agreement if the top leaders are not part of the negotiations going on.
-The ICC intervention is not yet called for because Uganda has not exhausted all options in the country that can deliver the LRA and all those that committed crimes against humanity to justice as rquired by the ICC Regulations. After all it is not true that only the ICC can deliver Justice and that Justice in this particular conflict means delivering a few individuals to the Hague.
– For instance the MATO OPUT justice and reconciliation formula is more valuable in this conflict and is more tested than the ICC, it is accepted by the LRA rebels , the Victims of the war , the religious leaders , opinion leaders of the region , the opposition and now the government of Uganda .
Perhaps because it is not well documented like many of the African values people tend to downplay its role and values in conflict resolution and deliverly of justice.
– There is also a problem that the ICC will deal with the crimes committed only after its inception in 2002. This conflict started in 1986 and there were more crimes against humanity that were committed by the rebels and the
Government troops  between 1986 and 2002 . If justice is to be seen delivered all the suspects must be delivered to justice.
– To implement the ICC proceedure is to break the cease fire, go back to a military operation in order to arrest the LRA Leaders and deliver them to the Hague  since they will not hand themselves in willingly.
– There is no guarantee that the military operation will succeed since it has been the option tried against the rebels for the last twenty years. This may create more misery like the operation Iron Fist against the LRA in 2003
did. The UPDF followed the LRA  to “finish them from their hide out in the Sudan but the LRA decended back to Uganda and did havoc . The concentration camps increased from 80 to 232 and the number of displaced people rose from
800 000 to 2 5000 000. There is no guarantee that this may not happen again.
– Considering that the LRA is composed of  95%  abducted children no military action against these children is justifiable. It is those
remaining children that will be crashed and finished. This option will also mean breaking of the cease fire agreement and the golden chance of a peaceful solution lost. People that have started going out of the camps back to the villages will be most vulnerable since there are no peace keeping troops to guarantee their security in the villages , the government troops
will be engaged in fighting the LRA and have always failed to protect them.
– The renewed fighting will involve more countries than before and threaten the peace in the entire region.

Conclusion.

The crisis in the Northern Uganda is a broad political problem whose roots can be traced in:
. the colonial error that introduced divide and rule politics
. The poor post independence leadership of the country which continue to inherit the divide and rule policy in order to acquire or retain power as
individuals or cliques
. Divisive politics of Uganda and in particular the demonisation and marginalisation of the people of Northern Uganda by General Yoweri Museveni since his 1981 struggle for power.
. Lack of functioning democratic institutions and democratic dispensation in Uganda’s governance.
. Dependence on military power to attain and retain power by post independence civilian cum military regimes.
. There are more critical issues in delivery of justice to the people of Northern Uganda than delivering just a few individuals to the Hague e.g
compensation to those victims that were maimed during the war , compensation
of the peoples property like livestock, house hold , burnt houses etc, rehabilitation and reconstruction program of the war ravaged areas and the issue of autonomy(regional federal government) in managing the post war
reconciliation , rehabilitation and reconstruction programs and the land reforms that guarantee ownership of land to the indigenous people.
. There is no way the LRA Leaders will be arrested to face justice in the ICC without breaking the cease fire and resumption to war. Knowing that 95% of the LRA are innocent abducted children the war will cause further
destruction of the remaining children.
Failure to recognise the 20 years conflict as a political one by the international community has not treated the Northern Uganda People and the
human catastrophe in the manner it deserves.

Every other day the people live in concentration camps, children in abduction , uncertainty and desolation is a very painful day and not a
single word on earth can justify why the people of the modern world should be kept in such conditions.  Children the main victims who have so far come out of the bush are in their tens of thousands wandering in different townships and cities for shelter, food all the care a child deserves and need emergency attention. Many of them have found their way to cities in the South of the country where they find peace but live on the streets where they die of various causes that include hunger, diseases, drug abuse and aids.

Recommendation.

General Yoweri Museveni needs to change his attitude to the people of Northern Uganda, withdraw and refrain from the negative hate campaign as reflected in his book sowing the Mustered Seed and his speeches. He also needs to apologise to the northern Uganda people for failure to protect them and their property through out his entire administration. He should cease to apply divide and rule politics amongst the northern Uganda community in the Diaspora, those in the country and those in the bush.

The government of Uganda should take its responsibility by apologising to the Northern Uganda communities for the hate campaign conducted by the leadership of the country against them , declare the northern Uganda and the entire war ravaged areas a disaster stricken area , agree to compensate the victims that were maimed during the war and compensate the people that lost their property since its the primary role of any government to guarantee
security for lives and property of citizens.
The government of Uganda should accept the Northern and eastern Uganda who wish to form federal states to do so and give them power and autonomy to handle the post war rehabilitation , reconstruction programs in order to avoid diversion and mismanagement of funds that  the NURP and Kalamoja Development Funds have experienced. Development and peace go hand in hand.

The international community should apologise for having neglected the people of Uganda by not doing enough to protect them, organise a peace enforcing and peace keeping forces to deliver the people out of concentration camps and enable them to live in their homes.

The international community should realise that the Government of the Southern Sudan is young, is not yet fully independent, its still in a
warlike situation and is still vulnerable to manipulation and black mail.

The international community should take serious the Golden chance offered by the young government South Sudan Government and help to reinforce the on going peace talks in Juba with the legal frame work, professionalism,
mediation and the logistic that the talks deserve before they become the usual peace jokes.

The international community should call a donors conference to raise funds for the eventual compensation , rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war ravaged areas as a way of attending to the critical issues in delivering justice to the people that were neglected for along time and to ensure that peace and  conflict resolution will hold .

The scope of the peace talks should be broadened to accommodate all the underlying causes of the conflict and involve all stakeholders in finding a comprehensive and everlasting resolution of the conflict.

The conflict should cease to look at as a simple conflict between LRA terrorists and the Government but a conflict between the marginalised Northern Uganda and the National Resistance Movement Government of Uganda.

The Northern Uganda and eastern regions should be given power to autonomously manage the post war Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and
Reconciliation process through either a well defined federal or government system of their choice. They should be allowed to form federal states that share same culture same interests and destiny.

The International Community , the UN security Council , the ICC should withdraw the Arrest Warrants against the LRA Leaders and  give chance to Uganda to utilise all the existing systems of delivering Justice including the traditional African values in conflict resolution and  delivery of justice e.g MATO OPUT or the equivalents in the different parts of the region.  All institutions and options available in Uganda should be exhausted before the ICC Procedures are employed.

Sweden should immediately facilitate an international conference to rescue the Juba Peace Talks before they completely become the usual Peace Jokes and involve all the stake holders in finding a lasting solution to this
conflict.

Lt Ikwenyi
-An Advocate for Human Rights , Democracy , Good Governance and Environmental Protection .

Posted to APN By Ham Mukasa
www.hgmconsult.com
www.freewebs.com/hammukasa-buganda
www.hammukasafoundation.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Laxity in Gambia’s judiciary infuriates President Yahya Jammeh – He will deal with the situation

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

Banjul (The Gambia) President Yahya Jammeh has thrown down the gauntlet to the judiciary, criticising the frequent adjournment of cases and threatening to personally deal with the situation.

Speaking Wednesday during a meeting with the Chief Justice, security chiefs and members of the cabinet, he said that would be the last time he would speak to them about the unsatisfactory state of affairs in respect of the administration of justice in the country and the rise in criminal activities.

He said the situation where trials drag on indefinitely sometimes for several years is unacceptable and would no longer be condoned ; if necessary he would provide the enabling legislation against the practice.

He also warned that something must be done to improve the position “or else heads would roll.” He said those who were not delivering should be asked to leave, if they do not chose to do so themselves.

The President cited the example of a European national whose murder case had dragged on for years. He said as a member of the international community, The Gambia had to deliver justice fairly and without delay to avoid being blamed for not enforcing the rule of law.

Another case he cited was that of the treason trials following the March 21 coup attempt. He said the trials had been characterised by adjournments after adjournments and trials within a trial. He complained that because of the practice, only two judgements were delivered by the high court in the last six months.

Jammeh said the Gambia Bar Association would not be allowed to hold the dispensation of justice to ransom. He also emphasised the need to abide by the provisions of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedures Code and he stressed the need for immediate reforms in the way things were being done.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Gambia to host the first Miss Black USA pegeant in the African continent

Posted by African Press International on April 9, 2007

Banjul (The Gambia)

 Gambia is a small country in the African continent. Due to good leadership, the country is making a mark in the continent and the international community is noticing positive changes.

This year’s Miss Black USA Beauty Pageant will take place at the Senegambia Beach Hotel, in Gambia’s Tourism Development Area in Banjul, on 1 June 2007, APA learnt on Friday.

According to the organisers, the annual event which attracts contestants from US universities and community colleges, will for the first time be staged in an African country.

An estimated 40 participants will contest for the coveted crown.

Ms. Karine Arrington, founder and Chief Executive Officer for the Pageant, said during the launching ceremony held in the tourism development area on Thursday, that the staging of the event in Banjul will help African-Americans to visit their ancestral home and “connect with their ancestors”.

In her statement at the occasion, Gambian Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy expressed satisfaction over the idea and said that the event would help boast the tourism sector in The Gambia.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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