14 August 2008


strong>Marching during the launch of the NETSFORLIFE

Rev. Solomon Okeny climb the motorcycle as Norbert Mao (R) looks on

The Diocese of Northern Uganda together with Standard Chartered Bank on 9th August 2008 launched the NETFOR LIFE at Kaunda ground Gulu.
The Gulu Local Council Chairman V Norbert Mao while officiating at the launch thanked the Church for spearheading provision of social services in addition to preaching the word of God. Mao Said “A good number of schools and health centres in the district are church founded”. He applauded the church for being agents of giving instead of always receiving, saying there is more blessing in giving than receiving.

Mao appealed to other Bank to emulate Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) by giving back to the community. Mao illustrated the importance of giving by saying in the Middle East there are two water bodies: - the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both seas receive water from the same source-river Jordan but only Sea of Galilee gives out and that is why it remains fresh unlike dead sea that only receives but does not give out thus remain dead. Therefore it’s more blessing to give than receive. He therefore said Standard Chartered Bank will grow because of giving back to the community. He called upon other banks to emulate SCB

The Representative of the Chief Executive Officer Standard Chartered Bank said there are 300 million cases of malaria in the world, 90% of deaths from malaria, every 30 seconds, an African child dies of this disease, it costs Africa more than USD 12 billion a year in terms of lost GDP and currently there are no vaccines for malaria and none are expected in the foreseeable future.

The CEO representative said that based on these facts , at its board meeting on 22nd November, 2005 the community Partnership for Africa (CPA) Board approved an Africa region community partnership project supporting the distribution of 1 million specially treated bed nets for the next 3 years in 17 African countries, Uganda being one of them. He furthered said Standard Chartered Bank’s (Group) is committed towards the project to provide funding of USD 1 million towards the project over a period of 3 years (2006-8) or around USD 350,000 each year and leading the marketing and communication work stream.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, Nelson Onono-Onweng said the Diocese is aware of the danger of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and life threatening Hepatitis E that has claimed the lives of so many people in Northern Uganda and committed in implementing life saving programs like malaria prevention by using all possible means to educate the community on the prevention of the communicable diseases using non cost means. The Bishop said one of the roles of the church is to heal her people both spiritually and physically.

Standard Chartered Bank pledges their support in the implementation of NETSFORLIFE.
A total of 6500 pieces of mosquito nets, 10 bicycles and a motorcycle were handed over to the Diocese of Northern Uganda.

The target group for the nets will be: - children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and the elderly and chronically sick (people living with AIDS)

06 August 2008

Government forgives top Kony rebel

Dr.James Obita

Government forgives top Kony rebel
Tuesday, 5th August, 2008

Dr. James Alfred Obita
By Milton Olupot and Charles Ariko

THE former leader of the LRA peace team in Juba, Dr. James Alfred Obita, was yesterday granted amnesty after 22 years of fighting the Government.

Obita said he returned because he believed in what the Juba peace agreement had achieved.

“After the peace talks, I thought I would set an example. My returning is not a betrayal (of the LRA cause). It is time to come back home,” he said.

Together with five others, two men and three women of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Obita received his amnesty certificate from the chairman of the Amnesty Commission, Justice Peter Onega, at the commission headquarters in Kampala.

The former ADF fighters included Silver Mumbere, Fatuma Nakajubi, Hanifa Nalukwago, Sularia Nakimera and Abdlazak Bassajja. They looked well nourished and smartly dressed.

Obita raised the number of LRA rebels who have benefited from the amnesty to 12,841, since the establishment of the Amnesty Commission in 2000. A total of 22,921 fighters from various rebel groups have benefited from the amnesty.

“My word to you is that you are welcome back to Uganda. Help us convince the others to come back home. The choice you have made is a correct one. Wherever you go, home will always be the best,” Onega told the six former rebels.

Onega, flanked by commissioners Ganyana Miiro, Thomas Kisembo and Grace Ociiti, explained that the amnesty exonerates them from any crimes they committed during the rebellion.

“I have always said this country is ours and everybody has a right to live here. If we have any problems, we can solve them here. I can assure you that after the grant of amnesty, you will be free people. Feel free and you are welcome to start life afresh,” he said.

A beaming Obita, clad in a grey, striped suit, commended the commission and pledged to work with Onega to help woo LRA fighters out of the jungles and end the 22-year-long war that has ravaged the north and eastern parts of the country.

“I will use my presence here to convince those still in the bush to return home. I will be the commission’s ambassador,” he said.

He added that the commission should be strengthened and facilitated to look after returnees.

The six received packages, including a mattress, jerrycan, two saucepans, a plastic cup and plate, a hoe, packets of beans and maize seeds and sh263,000 each.

Obita said President Yoweri Museveni had directed the internal affairs permanent secretary to help him recover $2m (about sh3.5b) that he lost when the Government froze his Uganda Commercial Bank account in 1987.

Obita said he was convinced that the Juba agreement was good and achieved what the guns could not achieve. He blamed some Ugandans both at home and in the Diaspora for misleading the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, not to sign the final peace agreement.

Obita said he wanted “to sort” himself out shortly before he could travel to his home district of Kitgum.

Commenting on the LRA former commanders, who returned through the DR Congo and are reportedly still held by security agencies, Onega said after receiving amnesty, there was no justification for detaining the former rebels.

“We were surprised when we received the information that some of these ex-rebels were being kept by security agencies. If you receive amnesty, that means you are free. If there are any other charges then they should be taken to court. Let this not confuse the public that when you get amnesty, you get detained.”

Who is Obita?
- Obita has been with the LRA for the last 22 years.
- He worked for the external wing of the LRA, based in Nairobi and London.
- Was the LRA spokesperson in the mid-nineties and later secretary for external affairs and mobilisation.
- In 1988, he fell out with LRA chief Joseph Kony, who accused him of trying to make money out of the LRA cause.
- Was re-appointed as technical adviser to the LRA peace team in Juba in 2006.
- Obita replaced David Matsanga as chairman of the LRA team in Juba on April 10 2008.
- He applied for amnesty in July 2008.