21 December 2009

New Beginning in Northern Uganda

Johnson now the Bishop of Northern Uganda.

Sunday, 20th December, 2009

By Chris Ocowun and Dennis Ojwee

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday said reconciliation is only possible if those causing trouble repent.

“Reconciliation is possible and desirable if the troublemakers repent. Salvation in the church is possible if the trouble makers repent.”

He was responding to calls for reconciliation by Gulu district chairman, Norbert Mao, at the consecration of Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba as the 7th Anglican bishop of the diocese of Northern Uganda.

Mao had earlier remarked that Museveni and Olara Otunnu found themselves at the same place for the first time in over two decades, the last time being when they held peace talks in 1985.

“In this holy ground today, the President and Otunnu can call themselves brothers. This enthronement has brought together two people, Museveni and Otunnu who were moving in parallel directions,” he said.

Museveni in his response said as much as the church continues to call for reconciliation, it should also ask Kony and his LRA terrorists to repent the crimes they committed against the people of northern Uganda, Congo and Southern Sudan.

He assured the mammoth crowd that Kony had been defeated and the LRA had no capacity to return to Uganda.

“I want to reassure you that the current prevailing peace in northern Uganda is irreversible and Kony will never return to disrupt it.”

He added that since the LRA fled to Garamba National Park in eastern Congo, 309 fighters have been killed, 79 fighters reported, 35 were captured and 566 abductees rescued, together with their 33 children.

“Although Kony, Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen have not yet been killed or captured, they cannot come back again to fight. We shall get them there. Or they should better surrender, like Arop. There will be no danger for them if they surrender,” he said.

Museveni lashed out at some people in northern Uganda who keep referring to the LRA leader as ‘ladit’ (Luo for ‘sir’).

“A top killer like Kony, you call him ladit! Kony is a laneko (killer). Why should you call a terrorist ladit? No, Kony is not ladit because he is a terrorist who has been killing Ugandans for the last 20 years and he has not stopped or repented.”

The President said if anybody wants anything, all ways are spelt out in the Constitution but not through terrorism or threats. He also cautioned that the army has matured today and terrorism is out of the question.

Museveni said Mao, as a young politician, should stop running here and there but instead join him, as his father, and use yat ma tiyo (medicine that works) to find solution to problems.

He advised the people of Gulu to consolidate the current peace and fight theft of NAADS and NUSAF funds by reporting corrupt officials.

“I appeal to you to give information. You will get a lot of service. Gulu district alone gets sh27b annually while Amuru district fetches sh15b. This money can make a big impact in your life,” he said.

Museveni later pledged to help the people of Northern Uganda diocese construct their cathedral. He donated a new Pajero Mitsubishi vehicle worth sh110m to the new bishop for his pastoral duties.

The consecration of the new bishop was presided over by the Anglican Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke-Orombi, and assisted by all 34 Anglican bishops. Also present was the Catholic Archbishop for Gulu, John Baptist Odama.

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