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

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