11 December 2007

Support the Ministry of the Diocese of N.Uganda

Many of you have asked for ways to financially support the ministry of the Diocese of Northern Uganda. Below is the information needed to make a bank transfer or deposit to our account. Be sure to save your receipt for tax purposes.

A/C Title: Diocese of Northern Uganda Designated
A/C #: 0140086710001
Bank: Stanbic
Branch: Gulu

If you find something here in error, please notify us so we can fix it!

Many thanks,
God Bless!

10 December 2007

How Vincent Otti was Killed

Vincent Otti leads a delagation of the LRA 2006

By Henry Mukasa
and Els De Temmerman

“WHAT crime have I committed? Are you really going to kill me? All along, I have been so good to you. Why can’t you tell me my mistake? May God help you.” These were the last words of the LRA’s former second-in-command, Vincent Otti, when he was facing the firing squad outside Joseph Kony’s defence in Garamba National Park on October 2.

As his executioner, Buk Abudema, ordered: “Fire!”, Otti bowed his head and started praying. In a bizarre twist of fate, the man who had commanded numerous executions himself, the most notorious being the Atiak killing in 1995 in which over 200 people were shot dead, found himself uttering the same words as many of his victims.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Vision, Sunday Otto, one of the commanders who was present during the execution and has since defected, revealed that Otti was killed by eight bullets which were fired by Capt. Ogwal. “Then Capt. Okumu Dombolo emptied his magazine into the already dead body.”

Q: You told the press upon your return 10 days ago that Vincent Otti was dead. Did you witness his death? A: I can confirm that Vincent Otti was killed on October 2 at 10:00am at a place called Anida, 300m from Kony’s defence. He was killed together with Lt. Col. Ben Accelam and Capt. Alfred Otim. Some people are trying to confuse the public, claiming that Otti is alive. But I have evidence because I came from there.

Q: What happened exactly?

A: It all started on September 25. That day, Kony and Otti met the Acholi paramount chief and delegates of the LRA team, including Martin Ojul, at Ri-Kwangba. I returned to our base in Garamba with Kony’s group. Otti came back later. We reached the main defence, called Boo, where the rebels have a large garden, on September 30. The next day, we moved to Kony’s defence, three miles away. On the way, Kony called Otti on his satellite phone. He told him to leave Ri-Kwangba and assemble at the main defence in Boo with all his officers and fighters. On October 1, Kony started to mobilise some troops, whom he put on stand-by. Three groups were prepared: Hapu, Independent and Kony’s security. I was attached as intelligence officer to Independent. The soldiers were armed with B10 bombs, KPM and assault rifles and taken to the compound of Otto Agweng, Kony’s chief security officer.

That day, Kony called for a meeting with the officers who were with him. Kwoyelo arrived and was immediately put under arrest. Adjumani was asked to tie Kwoyelo up. He tied him in a terrible way — kandoya (three-piece)-style. The next moment, Adjumani himself was put at gunpoint. He looked very surprised. As he was ordered to sit down, he pulled his gun out and started firing at random. This prompted Maj. Arop and Capt. Ogwal, to fire back. He died instantly. A sergeant, called Ojok, also died in the fire-exchange, while another soldier, Ocuc, got wounded.

Q: Why was Adjumani killed?

A: He was close to Otti. Kony wanted him arrested because he feared he would leak the plan to Otti. But he resisted arrest. That is why he was killed.

Q: When did Otti arrive?
A: He arrived around 9:00am that day. He called Kony, informing him that they had reached Boo. Kony told him to assemble all the commanders and come for a meeting at his base the next morning. He called me for a meeting shortly afterwards. “You know what is happening within the LRA,” he said. “What I am going to do should not scare you.” He told me that the LRA was divided and that most of the troops were more loyal to Otti than to him. He complained that his orders were no longer being followed. He had ordered his fighters to go and abduct but they refused because Otti had argued that this would spoil the talks. He had proposed to move to the Central African Republic but Otti had refused.

“Who is the leader when I issue orders and people don’t follow them, but instead listen to Otti?” he wondered. He said he was very confident in what the spirit had told him, that he knew the Government was planning to kill him and they were using the peace talks to have him arrested and killed. “They deceive you and try to convince you to come out and then they kill you,” he said. “Anybody who believes in peace talks will die in the same way as John Garang, who was killed by the UN.” He then confined to me that he was going to arrest Otti.

Q: What advice did you give him? advised Kony against a constant reshuffle of the peace team and unnecessary dismissal of members. I told him if he did not trust the delegates, he should select some of his commanders to join the team. I also advised him against killing Otti. But he said he was the father of the movement. Without him, the movement would not exist, whereas it could do without the others.

When I returned home, I knew something terrible was going to happen. Later that day, Kony issued an order that nobody moves anywhere, not even to fetch water or food. Anybody found moving would be shot on sight. Troops were deployed on the path leading to Otti’s place. Kony wanted to ensure that there was no leakage.

Q: What happened the next morning?
A: At 7:00am, Kony called his four brigadiers — Ocan Bunia, Nicksman Opuk, Dominic Ongwen and Buk Abudema, as well his chief security. He briefed them: “When Otti comes, you must make sure you arrest him,” he instructed them. Kony then evacuated his family to another defence, about three miles away. He himself went to hide in a simsim garden.

Otti entered Kony’s compound at 9:30am. As was the practice when he was meeting the chairman, he left his escorts behind and entered unarmed. He was saluted by Abudema.

“Where is our father?” he asked. “He is bathing,” Abudema replied. To which Otti said: “Let me then first go and change.” He moved to his restroom in the same compound, from where he called Kony.

“A bird died in my house. What could that mean?” he asked the chairman. “Don't worry,” Kony replied. “That shows that we have already defeated the Government.”

Otti took the report on the September 25 meeting out of his bag and walked back to Kony’s house. He was awaited by Odhiambo, who had accompanied him from Boo, Abudema, Ocan Bunia and Agweng.

Abudema drew his pistol, pointed it at Otti and said: “You are under arrest.” The others, too, drew their pistols and aimed at Otti. Simultaneously, all the soldiers who had been deployed came out and pointed their guns at Otti. Otti was seated on a chair. Opuk moved over and removed his wristwatch and his shirt, which he used to tie him up. Abudema ordered him to sit on the floor. His shoes were taken off. He was then carried into Kony’s hut, where he was made to sit on the floor. His captors got a rope and tied him thoroughly. They tore a part of his shirt and used it to blindfold him.

Q: How did Otti react?
A: He was pleading with them: “What wrong have I done to you? If I have done something bad, why can’t the chairman tell me? Have you forgotten all the good things I did for you?” They sent Capt. Otto Ladere to go and call Ben Accelam, who was sitting under a tree at the house of Dominic Ongwen. As Accelam entered Kony’s compound, he, too was put at gunpoint and tied up. He was then taken into another hut in the same compound. The third person called in was Alfred Otim. He, too, was arrested, beaten and tied. His arrestors hurled insults at him.

“You, people from Atiak, you always tell everybody that you are bright. Today we shall see where your intelligence will take you.” At that point, Kony called Abudema on satellite phone. “Are these people all there? Have you arrested them?” he asked.

Abudema confirmed that the arrests had been made. Kony then asked to talk to Odhiambo. He told him he did not want to hear Otti’s name again. “They should all be killed. And you must do it without delay. If not, you will be the next victims,” he told him. As Odhiambo got the instructions, he relayed them to Abudema as Kony listened. The cloth was removed from Otti’s eyes. The three were taken out of Kony’s compound, some 300m behind the defence. Otti was stood against a tree. Acellam and Otim were taken to a different position, 50m away. Capt. Ogwal and Capt. Okumu Dombolo, each holding a PKM, took up position in front of Otti, while Angwen and 2nd Lt. Tabu Omoro faced the other two. Odhiambo pretended to sympathise with Otti. “What has Otti done? Why don’t you also kill me?” he asked.

Q: What did Otti say?
A: He kept on begging and pleading: “What crime have I committed? Are you really going to kill me? All along, I have been so good to you and the movement. Why can’t you tell me what I did wrong? May God help you!”

When Abudema ordered: “Fire!” Otti bowed his head and started praying. Ogwal fired first. He killed him with eight bullets. Then Okumu emptied his magazine into the already dead body. Agweng started firing at the other side, after which Tabu joined in, killing Accelam and Otim. Their trousers were removed and they remained in their underpants. Kony returned from the garden later. He asked whether the job had been done. Otti’s escorts were disarmed. Kony then summoned everybody from the rank of second lieutenant for a meeting at 2:00pm.

“From today on, the indiscipline in the LRA should end,” he told us. “If I hear anybody talking about the killing of Otti and the others, that person will also be killed.” He said his rank of general was not given to him for praying but for killing. “There is no general in the world who did not kill. He then announced he was going to change all the systems in the LRA. He also instructed us not to bury Otti and the others for three days.

Q: Were they ever buried?
A: They were buried on the evening of October 4. Lt. Col. Abucingo was ordered to carry out the task, together with some kadogo (child soldiers). They were placed in one grave. One of the standby brigades was sent to Otti’s house to remove all his property.

Otti’s seven wives were taken by force and distributed to the other commanders the same day. Of the four adult wives, one was given to Abudema, one to Odhiambo, one to Okuti and one to Kony’s brother, Maj. Olanya. The three underage girls were handed over to Kony.

Q: Who else was arrested in this operation?
A: Apart from Kwoyelo, four other officers were arrested: Maj. Okot Atiak, Capt. Ojara Pope, Lt. Kidega Pak-Pala and Ben Accelam’s brother, Capt. Vincent Okema. They were still under arrest when we fled on November 7.

Q: What is Caesar Accelam’s fate?
A: Caesar Accelam was arrested in June and released on the day Otti was killed.

Q: You and Richard Odong-kau had come out earlier and received amnesty. Why did you go back? A: We did not return to fight, but to persuade the LRA fighters to come out following Otti’s call to prepare for peace talks. When we came out the first time, Otti got in touch with us. He wanted to talk to Rwot Acana and Bishop Odama to initiate peace talks with the Government. He also wanted to find out what the Amnesty Act was about. We contacted the Rwot and Bishop Odama, who put us in touch with the chairman of the Amnesty Commission.

We were also connected to Riek Machar, who sent us to Kony with a letter. This led to the first meeting between Machar and Otti in April 2006 and the second with Kony in May. After that meeting, Kony said: “Remain here and tell us what is going on.” We were co-ordinating the peace talks. From the beginning of the talks, Otti had said he was willing to bring all the fighters home.

Q: Will Kony ever sign a peace deal?
A: Signing from where? Otti was the one who persuaded him to go to Ri-Kwangba. He was also the one who pushed him to meet UN special envoy Joachim Chissano. At every assembly, Kony feared he would be killed. He would sit in every meeting with his pistol cocked.

Q: What is the future of the peace talks?

A: I am very skeptical. There are many events happening. Ban Ki-Moon (UN Secretary General) is calling for the arrest of Kony. And Otti is dead. He was the man behind the peace talks. He was the one who persuaded Kony.

Q: What is the situation like in the LRA camp after Otti’s death?
A: People are fearful, demoralised and disturbed. They had hope in Otti. They believed Otti would take them back home.

Published on: Sunday, 9th December, 2007

See full interview here

Some 50 metres away, two other commanders accused of being close to Otti were executed simultaneously. Lt. Col. Agweng, Kony’s chief of security, fired the bullets that killed Ben Accelam and Alfred ‘Record’ Otim.

“Their trousers were removed and they were left in their underpants,” Otto narrated.

Kony was not present during the execution. He had vacated his family to another place and was hiding in a nearby simsim garden. When he returned, he called all his officers and instructed them not to bury the bodies for three days. He also warned that anybody who talked about Otti’s death would be killed.

The same day, according to the LRA defector, Kony sent one of his standby brigades to Otti’s house to remove all his property. “Otti’s seven wives were taken by force and immediately distributed to the other commanders.” The adult wives were given as a reward to those who had been involved in the execution plan, while the three underage girls were handed over to Kony.

Otti was eventually buried on the evening of October 4 by some kadogos (child soldiers), thousands of whom he had abducted over the years.

See full interview here

Published on: Sunday, 9th December, 2007

23 November 2007

United Kingdom moved said Queen

Queen of England Elizabeth II
The Queen's speech
Your Excellency President Museveni and Mrs Museveni, Right Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen
Prince Philip and I have many fond memories of our last visit together to Uganda. In the years since, your country has made considerable advances in spite of periods of adversity.

I expect that what has helped sustain modern Uganda is the attribute that was so evident in 1954, and again today, in the generous manner we have been welcomed: the great warmth and friendliness of its people. We are delighted to be here once more.

It gives me great pleasure to address this House today in recognition of the importance of parliamentary democracy to the Commonwealth as a whole. For Uganda, the deliberations and decisions of this House, together with your respect for the rule of law, have had and will continue to have an essential bearing on the country's success in addressing many serious challenges.
The United Kingdom is actively committed to supporting Uganda's efforts to deepen its democracy.

Many in the United Kingdom have been moved by the plight of the people of northern Uganda who have been suffering from the devastating conflict there.
The Ugandan Government's efforts to resolve this conflict peacefully are therefore especially welcome. Uganda's regional role is also widely appreciated.

In particular, the contribution made to peacekeeping operations in Somalia has been a tribute to the courage and professionalism of Uganda's armed forces.

I am also pleased that the educational and cultural ties between our two countries are now stronger than ever before. Through its collaborative school projects, the British Council is bringing together more than one million children across Africa and the United Kingdom.

Indeed, I very much look forward to visiting later this week one of the Ugandan schools participating in the 'Connecting Classrooms' programme which does so much to increase our knowledge and understanding of each other's societies among young people.

In the years since Prince Philip and I were last here, one change in particular has come to scar Uganda and, indeed, much of Africa. The scourge of HIV infection and AIDS has touched the lives of so many of Uganda's people. It is difficult sometimes, when the sorrow associated with this disease is so profound, to avoid a sense of despair.

And yet there are growing numbers of people and organisations whose work gives cause for real hope. Today I visited the Mildmay Centre which sets a remarkable example in the provision of care and relief for those who are ill as well as in educating people about how to protect themselves and their families.

The role of centres such as this, which the Government of Uganda has done so much to encourage, will be central to achieving our common aim of controlling this cruel disease.

The continued and enlightened support of all those in authority, including this House, will play an essential part in supporting these efforts.
One hundred years ago, Sir Winston Churchill, who much later became my first Prime Minister, made a celebrated visit to Uganda which he was moved to describe as 'the Pearl of Africa'.

In common with other visitors to this country over the years, he had been struck by how Uganda has been truly gifted by nature.
Sir Winston had visited Munyonyo, then just 'a jetty and a few sheds', where, most fittingly, the present British Prime Minister will join his fellow Commonwealth Heads of Government this weekend.
Whether the individual links are long-standing or more recent, the United Kingdom remains a committed friend of Uganda.

Prince Philip and I have reason to recall our own associations over the years with the greatest affection and extend to you all our good wishes for the years to come.

14 November 2007

Journey of Healing

Fr. Michael Lapsley, depicting the artificial hands while talking to the Mothers Union. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena 14/11/2007

By Rev.Willy Akena
The Director Institute for Healing of Memories Fr Michael Lapsley is in Gulu to meet with the victims of the LRA War. A victim of the Apartheid himself, Fr Michael lost his hands and eye in a letter bomb in South Africa. Below is his address to the Mothers Union of the Diocese of Northern Uganda who are attending a training on Micro Finance, organized by the Office of the Provincial Mothers Union Worker Rev. Canon Hellen Oneka. Fr Michael is due to meet with those whose limbs were cut or maimed in Northern Uganda and share with them his experience and explore ways of forgiveness and reconciliation. His visit to Northern Uganda has been initiated by the Diocese of Northern Uganda under the department of Peace and Development Headed by Rev. Patrick Lumumba.
Fr. Michael appealed to the people in Northern Uganda to forgive and reconcile in order to travel the journey of healing.

I am delighted to be here with you.
I greet you in the name of Jesus who is our saviour. May be because you want hear the message twice; I am delighted to have this opportunity with my brother Ntsikelelo Mateta. I am particularly delighted to be here in northern part of Uganda because I know that it is part of Uganda that has known war and pain.
We know that we had war for the last 20 years and we know that there has been a great cost, many people like me have lost limbs, we know that there are not only physical wounds of the body but wounds of the spirit, whenever we experience suffering we ask ourselves were is God?. There is a song that black people in S African sang for many decades, SENZENI NA? The song meaning is what we have done, why are we suffering and in South Africa people say is it because of the colour of our skin. Whenever as human being we suffer we try to make sense, why do we suffer, sometimes there are no easy answers, sometime we say it must be God’s will, but am not sure about that, some time we blame God for the things that we as human beings do to others so for the things we have done to others, like a man who is drank dives a car and hit a child and a child dies, that is not God’s will, but because the man was drank, some people pick a gun and go for war that is not God’s will, in my case it was the last white government in South Africa that sent a letter bomb, so because of the bomb I lost my hands and my eye,
Sometime when I meet people today they say, that was God’s will; its not true God does not sent letter bombs to people. I was sent letter bomb by human beings not by God.
But where is God, God did not tell me that is a letter bomb do not open it. But to me God kept his promise, the great promise in the bible that I am with you always even to the end of the age. So when I was bombed I felt the presence of God with me, Af
I know God is wi
After I was bomb I had a choice, Am I going to have hatred and bitterness all my life or am I going to travel a journey of healing, am I going to spend my life looking for those who sent the letter bomb to me, am looking for a way of revenge, am I going to spend my time looking for those who sent the letter bomb. One of the great men of SA said
“Those who think of themselves as victims eventually becomes the victimizers of others”
If we have poison inside our heart it has to go somewhere.
But in my case many people prayed for me, loved and supported me Christians but also people of other faiths as well, people sent me letters of hope and encouragement from all over the world that is how God helped me to travel the journey of healing.

I realized that if I was full of hatred then I would be a victim for ever, they have failed to kill the body but I would have killed the soul.
I thought if I were to be angry all the time then I will be in pain
I also had to make a choice, will I travel a journey of healing or not, so God has called me to a new journey, I was part of the journey to help free South Africa from Apartheid people who struggle to release our people. Today I am traveling my new journey, what is my new journey, it’s to listen to the pain of others, listen to people and travel the journey of healing.

Sometime as Christians we say I lay my hands on you and you are healed.
There are still many steps to take. Sometime we think healing is like taking tablets and everything will be okay. But people who have been hurt deeply the journey of healing takes sometime, the mothers union have an important role to play, part of the role is to travel your own journey of healing, but offer yourselves to listen to the pain of others not just once but again and again, sometimes as Christians we talk too much and we don not listen enough, we have to learn to preach less and listen more, listen not only with our ears but also with our hearts.
So I must thank you for what you are already doing, healing is part of God’s work; God invites us to work with him in the healing process. Thanks for listening to me. Amen

13 November 2007

Women at risk as they return home

Two will become one: This woman needs the husband to support her in the return process. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena

Now that peace is around the corner, women are more willing to venture into the bushes than men. In Alero IDP camp in Amuru district, women have taken the initiative to return to homesteads as reported by Julius Odokonyero, a primary school teacher in the area. Accordingly, they have cleared homesteads, and are participating actively in digging, collecting firewood and many other domestic chores. Interestingly, many of them have now formed village groups to help them accomplish their tasks collectively.
Their vision is to see that the work they do carries a bigger impact than individual participation. Unlike the women, men are instead busy drinking in the camp, with some starting their drinking sprees from as early as 8:00am!
According to Odokonyero, men should realise that the onus of success in family and community existence lies on them as well as on women. It is therefore important that men help women in accomplishing the return process as things go back to normalcy.

08 November 2007

Excitement as LRA consults in Northern Uganda

Martin Ojul labour to clarify the fate of Otti left is Todwong Richard the President's Advisor on Northern Uganda Photo and story by Rev.Willy Akena

“The temperature in Gulu is cool and comfortable” said Dr. Onek Leo the representative of the Chief mediator. This was in response to a question raised by Dr. Riek Machar to check the security of the cessation of hostility agreement team who are in Uganda together with the LRA delegation for the LRA/M consultation. The one day consultation that was held at St. Monica Tailoring School in Gulu attracted more than 160 people including Religious Leaders, Political, Women, youth, and victims. The delegation was impressed by the level of commitment shown by the people of Gulu which is a clear sign of desire for peace. The ambassadors of the five countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, South Africa, Mozambique and Sudan promised to redouble their efforts to encourage the LRA and government of Uganda to work even harder
The presidential Advisor for Northern Uganda Mr. Richard Todwong said the government of Uganda is committed in the peace talks and that its clearly seen in the meeting with the President of Uganda, discussion of the ICC and the security of the LRA delegation.
Dr. James Obita one of the LRA delegation said they discussed suspension of arrest warrant for the LRA warrant to be suspended for 12 months so that the LRA can sign the peace agreement.

In another related development, the people of Acholi are asking Martin Ojul the head of the LRA delegation to clarify the fate of Oti Vincent the LRA 2nd in command who is widely believed to have been killed by his boss Joseph. Kony. The people think Otti’s death may jeopardize the peace talks.

31 October 2007


Bishop Nelson meeting LRA in the jungle of Atiak, close to the border with Sudan last year. Now plan is underway to meet in Gulu this weekend DNU file photo

As we come to the end of the month, news of the presence of LRA delegation has been greeted with lots of enthusiasm. According to Adek Yusuf who called himself an LRA who lives within the community, the delegation will hold a consultation conference in Gulu at Hotel Pearl Afrique on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November. From the LRA the following will participate:-Adek Yusuf Okwonga, Okot Santa, Martin Ojul (chairman), Ayina Odongo(lawyer), Obita Matshanga and Peter Ongom. The following have also been invited from Gulu, Pader, Kitgum and Amuru;-Government leaders, Religious leaders, Local Council, Elders/Opinion leaders, Camp leaders, Youth/male and female,
Victims, Resident District Commissioner (RDC), and Civil Society for Peace/NGOs working in Northern Uganda. Monitoring Team from Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, DRC Congo, Sudan and Uganda will also participate as well as observers. The main purpose of the consultation is to get people’s views on Agenda number three that is Reconciliation and Accountability. Adek refuted media reports of conflict within the LRA leadership, instead he said LRA camp has been attacked by cholera and that Oti Vincent is one of the 70 or so LRA who were severely affected, Adek comforted the community that Oti is recovering and soon may speak on Radio Mega or other media.

24 October 2007


Bwola dancers celebrate the construction of the Health Centre that will help about 17,000 people who have been leaving without health services Photo by Rev.Willy Akena

A 50 Million Health Centre was commissioned by Mr. Michael Nyenhif the President of Medical Assistance Programme (MAP) the health centre II is located at Oberabic in Acwera Parish in Amuru district. Bishop Nelson who shared his experience of traveling to this remote area in 2005 and found no health services prompting him to lobby for one. The Bishop further said, Together we can change the world to be a better place to live in, “together we can make a difference” The President of MAP international expressed his appreciation to the Diocese of Northern Uganda, the Government official as well as the community for their support in realizing the dream of a health centre. The Assistant Chief Administrative Assistant of Amuru District Mr. Oloya Awaro appealed to the man who donated the land on which the health centre is now built to honour his donation. Mr Oloya appealed to other community members to emulate the young man in giving land for development. Most of the speakers called upon the community of Acwera to own the health centre and guard it jealously
The Amuru District Director of Health Services pledged that the local government will also support the health centre. Malaria is the most common killer disease in this area and we appeal for provision of bed nets, drugs and help to repair and renovate other health centres

04 October 2007

A Caring Church

Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng explains his point to Helen. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena

Helen Stawski International Development Programme Officer - Lambeth Palace is here in the Diocese of northern Uganda together with Vat Kmachiko from World Vision East Africa Peace Building Unit. The two will carry out intensive research on peace building initiative of the church. Bishop Nelson who was interviewed by Helen doubts the caring ministry of the World Wide Anglican Church. He said “For twenty years the church in northern Uganda has been bleeding but I have not seen serious response from the communion”.
While giving update on the situation, Bishop Nelson said for one year now people are enjoying peace. The Bishop commended President Museveni for accepting to talk peace with Joseph Kony.
In order for the Anglican Church to be a caring Church the Bishops proposed having a global NGO or commissions in the areas of Relief and Development, Education, HIV/AIDS and Peace if it’s to become a caring church that can respond to situation of needs
We welcome Helen and hope the result of her work will bring hope to the people who are now in the process of returning home from the camps. Pray also for the floods that has severely affected movement as well as crops in the Northern Uganda.

21 September 2007

Acholi Community raised machines

Photo by Rev.Willy Akena in Oxford

Thalia Carr the wife to Martin Carr of Oxford stood forward and spoke in a mixture of English and Lwo saying ‘Ci wan ma watye kanyi pe watwero jogo cente mo me wilo caran” meaning are we too poor to raise money for sewing machines. Provoked by the Thalia's appeal and family contribution of money that can buy one sewing machine,the Acholi community in London and Oxford who were attending a fellowship meeting in Oxford being chaired by Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng raised 188 Pounds. The money was handed over to Brenda Onono to bring to the Women Development Centre for buying sewing machine for the girls who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and are now being trained at the Diocesan training centre. After their training the girls often come out without a sewing machine to start a leaving. Giving a sewing machine to one of these girls would make them able to support themselves. Currently we have 30 girls at the centre and the money raised can buy three sewing machines. Are you willing to support one? Let us know.

06 September 2007

Meeting in Oxford

Today Bishop Nelson met the Bishop of Oxford Rt.Rev. John Pritchard at the Diocesan Office. The Dicocesan Communication officer interviewed Bishop Nelson about his work in Northern Uganda and the prospect for peace in this war ravaged part of the world.

Earlier on Bishop Nelson held a meeting with Church Mission Society(CMS) Regional Co-ordinator Mr.Tim Sanders at their New Office complex in Oxford. The two discussed a number of issues including;-communication, training and peace in the region. On Sunday Bishop Nelson will speak at St.Margaret Church in Oxford.
The Diocesan liaison officer in the UK Mr.Martin Carr is making all these work in a miraculous way and we thank God for his sacrifice.

Rev.Willy Akena in Oxford

01 September 2007

Women can make a difference –says Bishop

The Bishop of Northern Uganda, the Rt. Rev Nelson Onono-Onweng, drew a large crowd and great respect for his activities as a founding chairman of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, meeting the rebels, including Kony, by night out in the bush. As a mark of solidarity with the thousands of children who flee to the cities for safety each night, he spent four nights sleeping unprotected on the open tarmac. The action resulted in the building of shelters for them.
Bishop looked to women to make a difference, citing the women of Japan after Hiroshima. I am now looking at women as the agents of peace. Those fighting are children born of a woman, so the women can talk to them.
On arms, he protested: “In Uganda, we don’t make arms, but small arms are everywhere. Where are they coming from? Why should they be there for us to kill ourselves?”
This was during the Greenbelt festival that attracted about twenty thousand people from across the world. This year theme is Heaven in the Ordinary.
During the week, Rev. Willy Akena accompanied by Revd Canon Stuart Taylor met with the Archbishop of Canterbury International Secretary David Peck at the Lambeth Palace, where they discussed support to the Diocese of Northern Uganda and the peace process.
Bishop Nelson who is currently in the UK for a three weeks official visit together with his wife Brenda and Rev.Willy Akena will this Sunday 2nd September speak at St. Andrew’s Church Cobham, St. Peter Henleaze and St. Philip and St. James in Bath. Thereafter the entourage will leave for Oxford where among others the Bishop will meet Acholi Community in the Diaspora, Church Mission Society, and Mothers Union.
As appeared in the Church Times, London 31st August 2007, additional reporting by Rev.Willy Akena in UK

31 July 2007

Help Jennifer

Acan Jennifer is among the students learning tailoring skills at the Diocesan Women Development Centre to help her look after her child Lakica Brenda (on her back) born in LRA captivity.
Giving her a sewing machine costing 50 pounds sterling will kick start her to be self reliant.
For more informatin contact us at Diocese of Northern Uganda P.O. Box 232 Gulu Uganda
E.mail. dnu@utlonline.co.ug
Tel. + 256 772 667 334 / +256 78249052

23 July 2007

Tips on development

Our Diocesan Technical Staff Obutu Daniel expresses a point using the MS-Democracy poster Photo by Rev.Willy Akena
“If you have a one year plan, grow rice, if you have a ten year plan; plant trees but if you have one hundred year plan, pay your children in school” goes a Chinese proverb.
At a training that was held from 15-16 June 2007, Mr. Daniel Obutu urged the participants to take that proverb seriously and implement it now that people are going back home. The Acoli need to be more visionary and move away from small subsistence farming in to commercial farming and learn to plan for long term activities. Mr. Uma Charles the District Disaster Management Committee Chairman took the catechists through a mind boggling exercise on the return process.
The bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, the Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono-Onweng in his charge to the catechists urged them to be like the cutting edge of a spear for the church. He said the strength of the church of God lies with them because they (Catechists) are constantly with the people, interacting with them. He called upon the church leaders to teach the truth, counsel the traumatized, work hard to combat and defeat the evil in society like adultery, poverty and his agents of evil. He also asked them to begin moving away from small subsistence farming (food for today) and embrace commercial farming that will elevated them out of the biting poverty these people as sunk in and also change their thinking of being poor

Lead the way

The first five Archdeacons now on motorcycles. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena
The office of the Archbishop Church of Uganda, with support from friends, donated five motorcycles to the diocese of northern Uganda to facilitate the archdeacons in reaching out to the Christians who are now returning to their villages. We still need four more motorcycles to cover all the archdeacons. Are you willing to help? Let us know. After the archdeacons we will pray for the 24 priests.

Come Now , let us Leave

Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness share notes with Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono-Onweng at the SYNOD: Photo by Rev. Willy Akena

Diocese of northern Uganda


By Lukwiya Pamela
Prof. Kabwegyere’s call to the Church to lead the way home
“Arise let us leave” is the theme of this meeting which is taken from John 14:31. This call is to our people in the camps: Come, leave for home, leave the camp life, and leave a life lining up for relief: leave a life of congestion: leave a life of misery for a life of self actualization: of self determination: leave a life of fear for a life of freedom. Live a normal life where happiness and development can be enjoyed.

It is a call to end an end to a chapter this is full of imponderables of many unknowns, it’s a chapter that describes blames and counter blames; full of questions; what went wrong!
I am here in search for disciples to carry out the following mission. A mission of hope that tomorrow must be better than today, a message of reconciliation that enmity and anger are ungodly; a message of peace since peace is needed by a chicken to lay an egg how about a human being? Peace is a universal good which all of us must possess; that it is a crop which all of us must grow; that is a harvest all of us must enjoy. I need disciples to plant seeds of food we eat for body nourishment, just as church leaders are expected to carry a message for spiritual nourishment. Our combined efforts will produce a complete person- body and spirit, together.
Arise let us leave this place with the mission of change wherever we go.

14 July 2007

A chronology of events

Picture by Rev.Willy Akena inside Southern Sudan.
The road to peace is not smooth, Its full of pot holes like the one in the picture:Some people had to travel on this Diana Truck to meet Kony in the Jungle as a confidence building measure in July 2006,including of course Rev.Willy Akena

The New Vision Saturday 14, July 2007

Today marks one year since the Uganda Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) peace talks started in Juba. Henry Mukasa compiled the chronology of the talks aimed at ending the 20-year conflict that has ravaged northern Uganda.

July 2006
July 14: Peace talks between Uganda Government and the LRA opened by South Sudan President Gen. Salva Kiir in Juba. “I know there is a lot of bitterness. My appeal to you is to come to table with open minds. Let the world see you and hear you do the right thing,” Kiir urged.

July 15: The Government team disputed LRA accusations of persecuting people in northern Uganda, cattle rustling and insecurity. The head of the Uganda delegation Dr.. Ruhkana Rugunda described the accusations as “undue, unwarranted and unfair.” “The LRA tried to cleanse itself of the atrocities committed over the years. The Government doesn’t want to open old wounds but give a soft landing to the LRA,” he said.

July 16: The Government called on the LRA to ceasefire, abandon the rebellion and accept the amnesty.

July 19: LRA demand for an immediate ceasefire is rejected.

July 20: The chief mediator, Dr.. Riek Machar met LRA delegates in a closed meeting together with Acholi leaders led by Rwot Achana to discuss the suffering of the people of northern Uganda.

July 21: LRA and the Government delegations traded accusations of committing atrocities. The Government team pointed out that the LRA team comprised persons who chopped and cooked people during the Patong massacre. The LRA delegation shot back claiming that the Government team had a colonel who abducted a detainee from a prison in Gulu, shot him and chopped off his head.

July 22: LRA demanded for federalism and self-determination for the North and East and also wanted the constitution amended to provide for federal states.

July 24: Peace talks adjourned for 10 days to allow each delegation to consult their leaders.

July 29: LRA commanders led by deputy commander Vincent Otti and elders from northern Uganda and South Sudan met at the DR Congo — Sudan boarder.

July 31: In a press conference at Ri-kwangba, LRA leader Joseph Kony denied having links with FDC President Col. Kizza Besigye and contriving plans to overthrow the Uganda Government by force.

The Government chief negotiator, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and the president of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir, announce the start of peace talks at a press conference in Juba on July 3, 2006

August 1: Kony reiterated his will to end the war through the Juba talks at a meeting of political, religious and civic leaders from the war-affected areas, held in Garamba forest.

August 3: Machar called upon the Government and the LRA to declare a ceasefire before talks resumed. Uganda defence officials replied that there was no fire to cease since the rebels had fled the country and were almost defeated.

August 9: The LRA walked out of the talks protesting the Government's refusal to declare cessation of hostilities.

August 11: LRA returned to the talks. Both delegations presented position papers on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration separately. The Government team demanded LRA fighters assemble in designate area for a ceasefire to be granted.

August 13: LRA's third in command Raska Lukwiya was killed by a UPDF mobile squad in Kitgum District.

August 14: Saddened by Lukwiya's death LRA delegation chairman Martin Ojulu lamented, “What are peace talks for then?”

August 15: The LRA team granted three days to mourn Lukwiya.

August 17: The LRA's demand for South Africa to co-mediate the talks is rejected.

August 22: Rugunda assured LRA second in command, Vincent Otti on phone, of Government's commitment to the peace talks

August 24: LRA demanded cabinet posts and 30% representation on commissions, statutory bodies and presidential appointments as a condition for ending the war.

August 26: The Uganda Government and LRA signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA). The rebels are given one month to assemble at Owiny-ki-Bul and Ri-kwangba. A monitoring team with representatives from SPLA, UPDF and LRA is suggested. Delegates break for consultations. Museveni ordered cessation of hostilities and named Col. Tumusiime Nyakaitana and Maj. Charles Okiror as UPDF representatives to the monitoring team. Kiir names Maj. Gen. Wilson Deng as the chairman of the team.

September 4: Delegates re-assembled in Juba for the third round of talks.

September 6: LRA revealed their reluctance to assemble at Owiny-ki-bul and Ri-Kwangba as demanded by the CHA. The rebels said the two areas were not acceptable. Otti said LRA fighters would not assemble until the International Criminal Court drops arrest warrants against four top rebel commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

September 7: Talks resumed and parties reviewed the performance of the CHA. The rebels dismissed the

september 12 deadline to assemble, which was drawing close.

September 23: LRA threatened to quit peace talks alleging massive deployment of UPDF in South Sudan. Nevertheless LRA names Col. Michael Anywar, Lt. Col. Ray Achama and Maj. Dennis Okirot as its representatives to the monitoring team.

September 26: LRA suspended participation in the peace talks protesting alleged deployment of the UPDF in South Sudan and DRC.

September 28: Kiir met the Government and LRA teams to get the talks back on track.

September 29: LRA accepted to return to the table after Machar that SPLA ensure that security in Owiny-ki-Bul.

October 8: A report of the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team accused both the LRA and the Government of violating the agreement. The report was made after a visit to the two assembling points for LRA fighters in southern Sudan.

October 21: President Museveni arrived in Juba for talks with Kiir. He also addressed LRA delegates but they, led by deputy head of delegation, Josephine Apira, rejected his handshake.

November 1: Government and the LRA signed an addendum to CHA which gave the rebels one month to re-assemble and restricted unauthorised visitors to assembly areas.

November 3: LRA asked for a break to allow its team tours the northern Uganda for “consultations and confidence building.” The Government rejected the demand as untimely describing it as a vain attempt to conduct a referendum.

November 5: The Government team was incensed by LRA's procrastination. LRA's absence at meetings prompted the Government delegation spokesman, Capt. Paddy Ankunda to comment, “We are not happy with the way the LRA is treating us. They seem to be buying time for reasons that are suspect. Their behaviour seems to confirm our fears that they are using peace talks to re-organise.”

November 11: UN Coordinator for Emergency Relief, Jan Egeland met LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti in Ri-kwangba. Egeland hoped to secure the release of women and children.

November 18: LRA deputy leader, Vincent Otti told The New Vision in an interview in Garamba that he regretted the incident in which the LRA delegates in Juba shunned Museveni's handshake. “Diplomatically, I would have shaken his hand. A handshake does nothing. What they did was not good. They should have greeted him,” he said. On his part Kony said Museveni is a good man for facilitating his wives and relatives to travel to Garamba and meet him. Two lawyers Nobert Mao and Owiny Dollo explained to the indicted LRA commanders the provisions of the ICC Rome statute. LRA resolved to send representatives to Uganda to meet Museveni as part of confidence-building.

December 14: Delegates reconvened. The Government delegation was upbeat but the LRA insisted it would not talk until the UPDF pulls out of southern Sudan.

December 16: Another supplement to the CHA was signed extending the cessation of hostilities agreement by two months, up to the end of February 2007.

December 20: LRA was put under pressure to sign a deal on comprehensive solutions as a Christmas gift for northern Uganda. LRA maintained its demand for a minister for the North in the office of the president.

January 2007
January 8: Southern Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir threatened to use force to chase the LRA out of south Sudan in the wake of ambushes staged by the rebels along main roads linking Uganda to Juba.

February 4: “If Kenya can't host the talks we can go to another country. We are not going back to Juba. That is finished,” Otti insisted.

February 26: The CHA deadline to assemble in gazetted areas expired without LRA honouring it.

March 4: LRA delegates failed to show up at the Acholi peace conference held in Juba to revive the peace talks.

March 11: Rugunda met LRA commanders Kony and Otti in the first-ever direct talks between the rebels and the Government. Organised by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, the meeting aimed at reviving the stalled Juba talks.

March 16: The LRA delegation promised to return to the talks on condition that the South Sudan government guarantees their security.

March 26 Talks failed a day after restarting in Juba as the LRA accused the UPDF of attacking their positions.

April 16: After meeting Chissano in the remote, secluded and forested village of Ri-Kwangba, the LRA rebels agreed to resume talks in Juba on April 26.

April 26: Talks resumed. Chissano warned the LRA that time was running out for them to reach an agreement with the Government.

April 28: Chissano spent hours shuttling between the LRA and Government camps to resuscitate the peace talks. The LRA team wrote a protest letter to the mediator, Machar, accusing the UPDF of attacking their positions in southern Sudan.

May 2: The Government and LRA signed a pact “comprehensive solutions to the causes of the war” outlining remedies to the causes of the war.

June 2007
June 5: The chief mediator, Machar, officially communicated the route LRA fighters still east of the Nile must use to assemble at Rikwangba.

June 13: The Government and LRA signed an agreement, the principles of accountability, stipulating the framework through which perpetrators of crimes during war will account and reconcile with the victims. They agreed that both protagonists “have cause to account and to accept to submit to the processes and procedures of accountability.”

June 27: Kony recalled three close relatives; Pastor Obina, Kidega Onen and Mission Okello from the peace delegation.

June 29: The agreement on reconciliation was signed. It provides for alternative traditional justice that could insulate four LRA commanders against the International Criminal Court prosecution. It binds the Government to strike the LRA off the terrorist list as soon as the rebels renounce rebellion, sign a ceasefire pact and submit its members to the process DDR.

One year of Peace Talks

July 14, 2006 marked the beginning of a serious peace talks between the government of President Museveni and the LRA chief Joseph Kony. Today is exactly on year, people have enjoyed uninterrupted peace and as a result the common talks about return. The president of Southern Sudan Gen.Salva Kiir said “I know there is a lot of bitterness. My appeal to you to come to table with open minds. Let the world see you and hear you do the right thing,"

One year down the road, the major question is the ICC. While many people in the north think the ICC is a stumbling block to the peace process, the ICC prosecutor Louis Ocampo thinks that is what Kony wants people to believe. And the prosecutor thinks Kony will get a fair trial in the court.
A visit to northern Uganda now shows a peaceful society but still trapped in the camps, with just about 2% in their villages.

03 July 2007

True Accoutability

New Vision photo of Dr.S.P Kagoda, the acting leader of the government delegation (right) exchanging copies of the agreement with LRA team leader Martin Ojul(left) and Dr. Riek Machar(centre) after it was signed at Juba Rha Hotel.
The government of Uganda is to adapt an appropriate policy framework for implementation of the terms of the agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation now that the agreement has been signed.
To the victims of the 20 years war, true accountability entails giving honest answers to the many questions that they have. As it's understood here, Mato Oput ceremony is performed after two parties have given full accountability of the crimes committed. We therefore expect the UPDF and LRA to honestly accounts for the crimes committed in this part of Uganda.
In the agreement we note that the parties shall promote national legal arrangements, consisting of formal and non formal institutions and measures for ensuring justice and reconciliation with respect to the conflict. The parties believe that a comprehensive, independent and impartial analysis of the history and manifestation of the conflict especially human rights violations and crimes committed during the cause of the conflict, is an essential ingredient for attaining reconciliation at all levels.
We continue to hold those in the talks in prayers.

25 June 2007

Memorable pictures of the visit

Just look at these faces seen during the visit to Amuru camp.

Pictures by Rev.Willy Akena

Danes flock Northern Uganda

The past few days has seen a good number of Danes in Northern Uganda for a visit to the camps. Early this year a group of students from a journalism school in Denmark were in Gulu. Last week we had Jeppe Krogager, Ms Sanne Nyland Christensen and Jens Jonathan Steen. This group went to Amuru camp in Amuru District. Today Monday, we are grateful to host yet another Danish journalist in the person of Katrine Birkedal Christensen. Katrine visited Pabbo camp, which now has a population of 40, 290 left in the main camp, the rest have gone to eleven smaller camps nearer to their villages. Now the main camp is less crowded in terms of people, but the huts are still intact. That means should any thing happen, they can run back to the main camp again.

Camps or home

A recent visit to some of the camps in Northern Uganda shows a good number still undecided on whether to go home or remain in the camps. A cross section of the camp resident said they have already visited their original villages and some have planted crops in their own field. The following however are the real need now:
Help in setting out shelter, basic household utensils, agricultural tools like hoes and ploughs and seeds to enable them begin cultivating their land. If you know of organisation that can support some of these areas please let us know. What is worrying is the state of the children; some parents leave the children in the main camps for days with no proper arrangement on their welfare. Some of the children therefore are tempted to eat whatever is edible like these in the pictures.

06 June 2007

New Bishop for the Diocese in 2009

Today, Wednesday June 6, 2007 Professor Tarsis Kabwegyere officially opens the Diocesan Synod. Bishop Nelson delivered his charge and members have broken into houses of Laity and Clergy to discuss the professor’s address, Bishop’s Charge and the report from the Diocesan Council.
Tomorrow, Thursday June 7, members will continue the discussion of the papers and thereafter come back in the plenary for presentation.
Bishop Nelson said his retirement is in 2009, mandatory he is to retire at the age of 65 and that should have been on January 21, 2010. But according to his charge 2008 he will visit the Christian to say bye and 2009 Election of the New Bishop and consecration as well.
More to come

Rev.Willy Akena

05 June 2007


June 5, 2007


The Diocese of Northern Uganda is due to hold its General Meeting commonly called the SYNOD from Wednesday June 5,-Friday June 8 2007 at the Diocesan Headquarters, in Gulu.
Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng, who is the Chairman of the Synod, is expected to announce his retirement plan and other critical issues affecting the church like same sex marriage, Adultery, empowerment of the Clergy, church land, return process and development of the Diocese.
Members that include Women and Youth representatives and all parish priests will start arriving today and the meeting starts tomorrow Wednesday June 6, 2007 at the Diocesan headquarters at Mican.
The Guest of Honour will be Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, the Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness.
We call for your prayer so that the Lord guides this meeting

Rev. Willy Akena
Diocesan Information Officer/Bishop’s Chaplain
0772 667 334

List of atrocities in Northern Uganda coming soon

Dominic Ongwen(LRA)one of the interdicted commander,Lucky Kidega (UPDF)commander, Walter Ochora (Resident District Commissioner Gulu and Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng during one of the meeting with the rebels in the Bush last year. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena

We are happy that the peace talk in Juba is on track. Given this trend we hope a settlement will be reached. Now the two parties are discussing agenda number 3 which talks about Reconciliation and Accountability. This is the most difficult agenda because it involves discussing the Acholi Traditional System of Mato Oput, Amnesty Law and of course the ICC among others. As it stands now the ICC seems to be carrying more weight and a centre of controversy. The LRA delegation are demanding cancellation of the ICC indictment before signing of this Agenda while the government position is that the Agreement has to be signed first then the ICC.
People in the camps are optimistic that peace will return to Northern Uganda. Although majority are still in the camps, while visiting their original homes and involved in small scale agricultural activities.
In another related development the Acholi Parliamentary Group is to release a dossier on the atrocities committed by the LRA and the Government since 1986. According to the New Vision story of Tuesday 5, 2007 Hon. Reagan Okumu said the dossier were compiled by both local and international organizations.

29 May 2007

At home once again

Sunday May 27, 2007 came as a surprise to me; I decided to make a ride on my motorcycle to visit our original village. Because of the war, we deserted our homes almost fifteen years ago. The ride of 45 kilometers according to the reading on my motorbike, the journey took me one hour, it is a fairly good murram road with some pot-holes here and there. As I was riding I could see gardens of groundnuts, cassava and other crops along the road side.
I arrived at Corner Nwoya camp near my home village at 11:00am this camp is one of the newly created camps, called it satellite camp if you like. Although seems to be a bit planned, but the sight of children standing naked and not hiding their poverty, both youth and adult staring at passers-by cannot be avoided.

Instead of meeting my father, who is a retired school teacher, I decided to go straight to my first primary school where I expected to get Christian praying. This school, Nwoya P.7 was displaced and had just reopened this year on the original site. I was welcome by at least fifteen people who had come to pray. The place still looks deserted. The catechists were ready to start the service and of course I joined them in a 40 minutes service. After the service I then decided to a ten fifteen minutes walk to our ancestral home.I managed to get there and recognize some of the trees planted by my father like eucalyptus that have now grown very big and tall. being a seacon for mango,I ate one mango fruit as a sign that at least I have visited the place, and it reminded me of my childhood days. One striking thing was the borehole(see the picture above) that has been constructed by the Sub-county local government at the site of our ancestral well lacally called Wang-Aric.At the moment very few people use the water, but given peace many are going to benifit from this clean water. What I failed to see was the grave of my grandmother who died before the war, and of my uncle who was killed during the war. Maybe next time I visit I have to ask my father to direct me. After this I went to the camp where I met my father and some of my relatives. We had good time and good discussions. My father said he is not yet ready to go and stay at home because of unpredictable security situation, given the fragile peace talk in Sudan.

By Rev.Willy Akena

Pictures above: on the left is a group photo of those who attended the service in this once deserted place and in the background is the classroom where I sat for my Primary Leaveing Examinations before the war.
On the right is of Rev.Willy Akena standing at the borehole(taken by my wife Poline)

17 May 2007

What is happening in Gulu

Today as I was coming from the office the Resident District Commissioner Gulu, I passed via the market street in Gulu town. I was attracted to a small group of people gathered around a man who claim to be Jesus; this man is actually called Oryem Bosco. The sight of Bosco who is lame, poorly dressed, putting on shoe on one leg, on his head is hut made out of motor-car tyre that has been properly made and a cross on top. Bosco has the Rosary and a white handkerchief. According to him the world is soon coming to an end and that he has been sent by God to reveal his plan for mankind. He says he is as wise as a computer and any questions posed to him he is able to give an answer.
This kind of strange figures reminds me of how Joseph Kony, Alice Lakwena (RIP) and Sevirino Lukoya rose up and confused a number of people.
I only pray that after Joseph Kony war has ended no such people should come again to deceive others.
The Bible is very clear on such people; As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately." Tell us," they said, "when this will happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age" Jesus answered: "watch out that no one deceives you" Matthew 24: 3-4

11 May 2007

Kony given Ultimatum

News of the one week ultimatum by the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni and his counterpart Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan open yet another wound in Northern Uganda.
According to our Local Radio Mega FM, the LRA have been given only seven days to assemble in Ri-kwangba near the Sudan-Congo boarder. The Monitor of Friday, May 11, 2007 confirmed the development. According to the monitor LRA rebels have protested the assembly ultimatum. The Monitor quoted the LRA peace delegation secretary for information and publicity Godfrey Ayoo, saying “That kind of thing (ultimatum) looks to be rigid for parties that are trying to gain confidence from one another,” and further said “It wont make sense to say we must assemble in one week when we have lost four weeks without the agreement being implemented”
The International relations Minster Okello Oryem who happens to come from the war affected region, said on behalf of the government that the government of Uganda and the mediator will not expect anybody in Owiny –ki -Bul calling himself LRA because it will be outside the assembly area. The UPDF and SPLA will take action on anybody in those areas after the seven days because they will be causing insecurity.
For the people in Northern Uganda who have suffered all these 20 years, think this is recurrent of what happened in 1994 when the LRA were given 7 days to assemble.
Picture is of LRA child soldiers who are to carry foodstuff for the LRA commanders. Taken on September 11, 2006 by Rev. Willy Akena

02 May 2007

Troubled but not destroyed

The Bishop of West Ankole diocese the Rt. Rev. Jona Katoneene had a mixed reaction while on a visit to the Diocese of Northern Uganda. The Bishop came for the wedding of George and Joyce who are both staff in his Diocese. The wedding took place on Saturday 28,April 2007 at Christ Church in Gulu. Rt.Rev. Jona appealed to the couple to always forgive one another and have love as the key to their marriage.

In another related development the Bishop and his family almost shed tears upon seeing the suffering in a displaced camp at Koro Abili on Kampala road. Bishop Jona described it as “A transforming experience" and that he has not remained the same after this visit. He however confessed that he was deeply troubled by the human suffering that has been going on for 20 years. He said his daughter Rachel is 20 years and that had she been born in Northern Uganda she would have undergone all this experience. His appeal is for more people to come to northern Uganda and see for themselves. On relationship the Bishop said his visit to Northern Uganda has open door for deeper relationship.
Bishop Jona appreciated the resilience of women especially in supporting their families.
Although the developemt in Juba is positive but majority of people in the Internally Displaced Camps are still stuck in the camps.

Report by Rev.Willy Akena

01 May 2007

The best boy survives on left over

Kidega Dennis Okech was born in 1993 to Mr. Okech Charles and Amono Rose. Dennis is the third born out of eight children. Three boys and five girls. Dennis emerged as the best student in the Primary Leaving Examination of 2006 in his school, Pece Prison Primary school and admitted at Sir.Samuel Baker Secondary School in Gulu. Dennis attributed his success to hard work and support from his teachers. During the third term he felt sick but because the parents could not afford to meet the medical bill he was treated from home, thus took him long to recover. The problem was cough. After the exams he resorted to making bricks with the hope that the result would favour him and he could use the money from the sale of bricks to meet some of the requirements. Although it was not enough, but he started classes and as a result of non completion of fees, the result was dinial of access to the dinning hall by the school administration. Dennis told me that he used to go in the dinning hall after the other students have eaten and search for the left over, since he had no meal card.
At one point he was sent home to look for the balance, but the father gave him 1,000 (one thousand shillings) so that he can instead buy food from outside the school compound.
Dennis’ father Mr.Okech Charles worked as Prison warder and security guard but for one year now he has no job and in his early fifties. While the mother is a house wife.
When I talked to the father on Monday April 30th 2007, Okech said “I would like my son to study but I cannot afford the school requirements” “This boy (Dennis) is unique in character, he is the one who make my compound clean and wants to make sure things are done properly. The mother Rose Amono was not at home, but fortunately I met her on my way back. Rose told me that she wanted to handover the boy to us because she does not have ways of raising the fees.
When I asked Dennis what he would like to become after his studies he said “I would like to become a Medical Doctor so that I can help people” and I think he can make it given chance, Dennis got Distinction in Science.

According to letter to Parents Dennis Second term fees is 144, 850 (one hundred forty four thousand eight hundred fifty shillings) the other expenses including scholastic materials may go up to 50,000 (fifty thousands shillings) so about $ 115 US dollar Dennis can meet the second term requirements

You can contact me on + 256 772 667 334 or send e-mail to akenawilly@yahoo.co.uk or dnu@utlonline.co.ug

20 April 2007

Young ambassadors for Northern Uganda

The news of resumption of talks bring another window of hope for the people
of Northern Uganda. My own opinion is that the talk is taking too long and
if not carefully handled it can take years and years. I think there is some
economic gains in this talks. I recall that one of the reasons that led to
the break in the talk was allowances, the LRA delegation complained that
they are being paid too little compared to the government delegation. It may
bounce back to a statement by Professor Dan Nabudere who said " Poverty
cannot be overcome by those who benefit from it" From this statement I am
tempted to say that the war in Northern Uganda cannot be overcome by people
who benefit from it.

Recently I went to Amuru Camp with a group of Students from Denmark for a visit in the New district curved out of Gulu about a
year ago. These students have surely become our new ambassadors, and I know they will share their experiences with their fellow students as well as lecturers.
Amuru camp has a population of 51,330 according to a figure given by the LC111
and he told me that people are able to visit their original villages, do a
bit of digging and come back to sleep in the camps. That they are not sure
of their security. Of course there are some new camps created, these one are
nearer to people’s original villages, so the issue of walking long distances
has reduced a bit. But the distrust of the LRA and UPDF is another issue which has to be addressed. Why, Civilian cannot fully trust the UPDF, not least because any military action taken by UPDF against the LRA generally involves killing their abducted children. Still the fact that the UPDF where treating anyone outside of an IDP camp as collaborator may still be ringing into the minds of people such that life outside an IDP camp may not be very easy at the moment. Worst still is the fact that incase the peace talks fails, the innocent children will be abducted and again conscripted into the LRA while others are killed. So who wants this to happen to him or her?
I even saw many children just redundant in the camps and always following
Visitors whenever they go. On the situation generally its calm and traffic
moves even at night without problem. Buses from Gulu to Kampala can even
leave at 2:00 am and arrive in Kampala by 6:00 am.
Rev.Willy Akena

17 April 2007

Danish Students in Gulu

Today I have students who are doing communication at the University in Denmark. They are here for a short time.Pernille is their guide. Detail will come your way. Look at their pictures.
Are you willing to come for a visit? please let me know, our doors are wide open.

11 April 2007


Easter in Atiak camp in Amuru District has been hot, dry and windy. The major problem we have seen is lack of water. Look at these pictures and pray that they may be able to get enough clean water in addition to the many needs. We appeal for practical help to drill a borhole, drilling one bore hole is approximately 18 million Uganda shillings.
Atiak is some few miles to Sudan.

Pictures by Rev.Willy Akena on Sunday April 8, 2007