NATIONAL RECONCILIATION & TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AUDIT BEYOND JUBA PROJECT BRIEF 6 : PADER DISTRICT
NR&TJ Audit Main objectives of the NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District To document community perspectives on post-independence armed conflicts across Uganda To identify and assess the outstanding reconciliation and transitional justice needs related to each of these conflicts
Three field teams comprising four researchers and one videographer visit twenty-one selected districts equally distributed over the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central regions in Uganda. Methodology In each district, concerned civil society organisations are contacted. The teams conduct Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with four different groups namely adult women, adult men, youth and representatives of civil society and local government. There are fifteen participants in each FGD and the discussions take the whole day. FGDs are split into two parts, and follow a simple structure: The morning is spent Looking Back, at conflicts, their causes, their impacts, and the stakeholders involved, while the afternoon is forLooking Forward at the possible justice mechanisms that could be used to address the legacies of conflicts identified – as well as sending messages to key persons and institutions. In the course of each FGD, key informants are identified for further consultation. Findings are recorded on flip charts, through near-verbatim note taking, and on audio- and video recorders. Preliminary Findings are presented initially in these Briefs. The final output will be a Compendium of Conflicts in Uganda, supported by video documentation NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
PART 1: LOOKING BACK A. Is Uganda at peace? Conflict Timeline (national/regional/district/village) B. What were the Causes behind the conflicts you have identified? C. What were the Impacts? D. Who were the Stakeholders? - Victims - Perpetrators - Beneficiaries - Bystanders - Spoilers - Peacebuilders NR&TJ Audit Focus Group Discussion Guide BRIEF 6: Pader District
WELCOME BACK - Reminder of purpose of second half: from looking back to looking forward PART 2: LOOKING FORWARD A. How does it feel to be talking about the history of this country? B. 1. What does JUSTICE mean to you? 2. Has JUSTICE been done to the stakeholders? How do you think justice can be done? What would you like to see in the following processes? C. What Messages do you have for key persons and/or institutions? TRADITIONAL JUSTICE CHANGES IN LAW / INSTITUTIONS AMNESTY PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT MEMORIALIZATION REPARATIONS TRUTH-TELLINGPROSECUTIONS RECONCILIATION Focus Group Discussion Guide NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
Map of Uganda showing Districts NR&TJ Audit District Information Located in northern Uganda, Pader and Agago districts are bordered by Lamwo district to the north, Kaabong district to the east, Otuke district to the south and Gulu district to the west. Pader and Agago Districts were created in 2009 out of Kitgum District. The land area of both districts is 6,929 square km. The main economic activity is crop farming. The average life expectancy is 37 years only. It should be noted that at the time of carrying out this study, Pader and Agago Districts as we know them now were less than a year old thus the research covered both districts. The majority of the inhabitants are Acholi, followed by Langi and a small number of Itesots. BRIEF 6: Pader District Accessed at AAAAFI/1z4b-pgdYF4/s1600/map.JPG
NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Accessed at
This field brief is based on data collected from Pader and Agago districts from 13 to 17 September Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were held with women, men and youth in Patongo Town and with civil society organisations and Local Government representatives in Pader Town Centre. Key informant interviews were held on the outskirts of Patongo Trading Centre and at the Pader NGO Forum office. The primary findings below reflect views expressed in all the FGDs and key informant interviews. The field brief herein reflects conflict perspectives and opinions as narrated by the FGD participants and are not necessarily those of the Refugee Law Project (RLP) or its funders. This field brief was written by Lyandro Komakech with valuable input from Annelieke van de Wiel and Kari Griffiths, all of the RLP. NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
Past NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
Conflicts Timeline: National Level NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Anglican/Catholic conflict (pre-Independence and after): The introduction of different religions into Acholiland caused conflicts, especially between Catholics and Protestants. Both groups started running negative propaganda in newsletters like Mewa for Protestants and Lobo-mewa for Catholics. This reinforced social division through making marriage between the two religions taboo DP/UPC Conflict (1960 to date): Participants identified the introduction of political parties influenced by religion such as the Democratic Party (DP) and the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) as responsible for conflicts between Catholics and Protestants which continue to impact Ugandas politics. DP is largely supported by Catholics while the UPC is supported by Protestants. This problem exists in other parts of the world where Britain has historically had a political influence. The following songs were sung by participants in the focus group discussions to highlight the political divide between the parties: Muni oyube me nyono wii wa literally meaning it was a design by the Europeans to sit on us and kwon pa DP pe acamo literally meaning I cannot share food with the DP. The last phrase illustrates how party politics could even divide families members who used to sit together to share food. Obote I administration ( ) and Kabaka crisis (May 1966): The alliance between the UPC and the Buganda Kings party, Kabaka Yekka (KY) was the first Government after Independence. This alliance resulted in the Palace Coup of 1966, which later became known as the Kabaka crisis. The crisis followed a power struggle in which Sir Apollo Milton Obote, the Prime Minister, wanted to become the executive leader of Government instead of the Kabaka. Subsequently, the Kabaka fled into exile in England after his palace was overrun by the national army, led by Obotes army chief Idi Amin Dada. Amins military coup and subsequent reign of terror (25 January ): The 1971 coup ousting Obote and installing Idi Amin as Head of State was identified as a conflict. The majority of Acholi and Langi were deemed to have been in support of Obote and Idi Amin feared they would revenge against him. For that reason, Idi Amin turned against the Langi/Acholi in the army and brutally murdered a large part of serving Acholi and Langi officers and soldiers. Liberation war (11 April 1979): Participants also mentioned the Liberation War of where Kikosi Maalum and the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), two armed groups led by David Ojok Oyite, loyal to Obote and Yoweri Museveni respectively and heavily supported by the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force (TPDF) worked together to form the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF). Their aim was to overthrow Amins Government, which they succeeded in doing on 11 April Aftermath of the Liberation War: Christian/Muslim conflict ( ): The active role played by Muslim countries like Libya in defending Amins regime and the favouritism extended to Muslims resulted in the targeting of Muslims for revenge by Christians after the fall of Idi Amin. Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda ( ): The Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda (FEDEMU), a group that was based primarily in Buganda and comprised of Buganda fundamentalists agitated for a federal Uganda, incorporating an autonomous Buganda Kingdom. FEDEMU was vehemently opposed to Obote and formed a fighting alliance with Musevenis National Resistance Army (NRA) to fight Obotes Government. When Museveni assumed power with FEDEMU integrated in the NRA, they moved up north and started terrorising civilians. FEDEMU killed people in Bucoro and Namukora as well as raping men in what became known as Tek Gungu (Forceful bending or rape by a fellow man). These acts also took place later in Alero and Koch Goma Sub-Counties in what is now Nwoya District, as well as other areas in Kitgum District General Tito Okello Military Coup (1985): In 1985, Obote was deposed by his own army generals who had lost confidence in him due to the way he managed the NRA/Museveni insurgency in Luwero. The Acholi generals also thought Obote was more loyal to his Langi tribesman, as he had attempted to appoint his own tribesman Major Opon Acak as Chief of Staff over other senior members like Tito Okello Lutwa and Basilio Okello. The coup shattered the alliance between the Acholi/Langi in the army and led to an escalation of ethnic violence which to date has never been resolved. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Conflicts Timeline: National Level (Cont.) NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District NRA take-over and rise of Uganda Peoples Democratic Army ( ): After the NRA toppled the short-lived Tito Okello Government and established itself in Acholiland, violence continued. Some NRA soldiers used the new situation to settle old scores against the Acholi and committed atrocities against them as revenge for alleged atrocities committed by the Acholi/Langi dominated government army, the UNLA, in the Battle of Luwero. Many Acholi soldiers were deeply suspicious of the motives of the Government. Some took up arms again and joined the Uganda Peoples Democratic Army (UPDA), starting a guerrilla war. Initially they were successful and forced the NRA to withdraw from the countryside and retreat to the towns of Gulu and Kitgum. But the UPDA failed to defeat the NRA decisively and many UPDA soldiers deserted, returning to their villages. This swelled the numbers of those in the villages, creating unrest and the formation of splinter insurgent groups that operated under the bigger umbrella of the UPDA, but had their own identity. Their identity was reflected by their activities and in the names they gave themselves. There was Ci-lil (Go and spread the rumours [to NRA]), Cel-ibong (Shoot and feel [the NRA soldiers to see whether they are dead]) and Agoyo-ayaro (Smash [the NRA] completely). Some of the members of these groups supported the Pece Peace Accord with the NRA in 1988 and demobilized, while others joined the Trinity Wars. The Trinity wars (1986 – to date): In 1945 a spirit possessed a man called Severino Lukoya and in 1982 he started practicing what the spirit instructed him to do. The spirit was called Lakwena and later possessed his daughter Alice Auma who started a movement of healing people using water. In 1982, Tito Okello consulted Alices spirit but in 1986 it is believed that Okello ignored Alices instructions and was overthrown by Musevenis forces shortly thereafter. Six months later (August – September 1986), Alice Auma, through her spiritual medium known as Lakwena, emerged with a group referred to as the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces, marking the beginning of the Trinity Wars. The group was directed by the spirit not to use weapons in warfare as Alice claimed her spirit was supreme. Participants thought of the connection between Severino Lukoya, Joseph Kony and Alice Lakwena as a Holy Trinity, with Severino as the father, Kony as the son and Lakwena as the Holy Spirit. The trinity components are explained in detail in the following paragraphs: Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (1986 – 1987): The Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (HSMF) did not to use any bullets; instead they used stones to attack enemies. Alice Lakwena operated through the power of a spiritual medium. She made her first attack on Christmas Eve in 1986 in Kitgum and people were convinced that she was going to overthrow the Government of Museveni. She is claimed to have sought the spiritual powers from river Nile in Pakwach and was set to liberate the people of God. The Holy Spirit Mobile Forces were however defeated in Busoga, in eastern Uganda by Musevenis NRA forces. The Almighty God Movement (1987): The father of Alice Lakwena, Severino Lukoya, continued with similar movements based on the command of spirits immediately after Alice Lakwenas Holy Spirit Mobile Forces were defeated. He borrowed cattle and money from people and promised to repay them generously once his movement seized power in Kampala. At that time in Acholiland, anybody who claimed they could overthrow the Government would easily find followers as people in the region felt marginalized and tired of Government vengeance. Despite this, participants noted that this movement never gained momentum. In August 1988, Severino was taken prisoner by Kony but later he escaped and was captured by the NRA. He served several years in prison but was later pardoned. The Lords Resistance Army (1987): Joseph Kony, who claims to be Alices cousin, began his movement in early His movement was also driven by spirits that spoke through him and preached that he had been sent by God to destroy all evil forces. The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) would not tolerate any other form of worship such as indigenous beliefs as he declared witchcraft and sorcery evil. He said he had come to teach the Acholi to follow the Ten Commandments. Konys movement later became the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and fought the NRA like Alices HSMF. Initially Kony started fighting in Gulu where he would employ similar magical battle tactics as Alice but later he adopted more conventional guerrilla tactics and resorted to violence and looting of food from the civilian population. Force Obote Back Again (1989): Another rebel group that was mentioned was Force Obote Back Again (FOBA) that was formed by Brigadier Smith Opon Acak and Aggrey Awori in 1989 with the objective of fighting for the return to power of Obote. This group operated in eastern Uganda, specifically in Mbale and Tororo. However, some members said that it was a Government creation to create fear and taint the stature and reputation of Obote. West Nile Bank Front (1995): Another episode of conflict that participants identified was the West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) insurgency that they said was started around 1995 by Colonel Juma Oris, a former officer in the Ugandan Army (UA) of Idi Amin. The group was founded in opposition to the Government of President Museveni and was primarily composed of former UA soldiers and officers. Their objective was to bring back deposed dictator Idi Amin. The WNBF also incorporated former members of the Uganda National Rescue Front I (UNRF I), itself a rebel group comprised of UA personnel that had been demobilised in January Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. Walk to Work protest and teachers strikes (April 2011 to date): Participants noted that due to the deliberate increase in prices of commodities in the country and inflation, youth, political leaders from the opposition parties and teachers resorted to striking and protesting to express their disappointment with the Government in power. This took place all over the country and 2011 has been branded a year of demonstrations. The major victims of this conflict were children and women.
Conflicts Timeline: Regional Level NR&TJ Audit Acholi vs Lango conflict (1906): Participants cited British colonial official General Bwana Tong who was District Commissioner for Lango as primarily responsible for increased tensions between the two ethnic communities. They explained that in 1906, General Bwana Tongs bodyguard from Bunyoro was killed by the Langi. This incident later compelled Bwana Tong to crossover to Acholi where he mobilized the Acholi Chiefs to wage war against the Langi as revenge for his bodyguards death. In doing this, he sowed the seeds of discord among the Acholi and Langi. More recent events such as border disputes and military coups have further deepened the distrust between the two tribes. Acholi/Langi vs Kakwa (1972): Another conflict identified by participants was that between the Acholi/Langi and ethnic Sudanese people of Kakwa(Amins tribe). Women explained that since Amin had targeted and killed several Langi and Acholi people accusing them of being sympathisers of Obote, his downfall prompted the two tribes to seek revenge against the Kakwa. Karimojong/NRA cattle rustlers vs neighbouring regions (1979 to date): Before 1979, the Karimojong had only used spears during their cattle raids. However, in 1979, the Karimojong raided the Moroto Armoury and acquired guns leading to violent cattle raids in Karamoja and the neighbouring communities. In 1986 when armed conflicts in the region reached a peak, the Karimojong raiders took advantage of the unrest and entered the region to raid cattle. According to the participants, cattle were not only taken by the Karimojong raiders but also by the NRA. Land conflicts in northern Uganda, Acholi Sub-Region (2006 – to date): As communities returned from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to their villages, some people resettled on land which did not belong to them while others forgot the exact delineation of their land boundaries, especially the children whose parents died in the war. During Amins regime, land belonged to the state but that changed with the 1995 constitution. Chapter 15, Article 237 states that land now belongs to the citizens of Uganda. Participants stated that the colonialists introduced money which made some people especially the chiefs sell off their land which was wrong. Participants further noted that Acholi culture used to take land as property that belongs to God not human beings. While the LRA conflict was explicitly viewed as a national conflict, participants also discussed what they considered regional conflicts. They said the major regional conflicts experienced are inter-ethnic conflicts over land, and Karimojong cattle raids. All these inter-ethnic conflicts remain unresolved as reconciliation between the different regions/tribes has not happened. Participants noted that during the LRA insurgency the Karimojong extended their raids from the eastern part of Uganda to west Acholi with ease because of the complete absence of protection by the NRA. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. Participants emphasised that the major perpetrators of land conflicts have been the LC II courts, elders and clan leaders. Most land conflict cases submitted in court never receive due attention or are never decided due to corruption. Lack of awareness about the Land Acts by Government representatives and other actors has also been reported as part of the problem. As a result of a lack of awareness and education, many people in the countryside are ignorant about the current land laws.
Conflicts Timeline: Village Level NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. Gender based violence (1989 to date): Another conflict mentioned by participants is gender based violence which is widespread at the community level in Agago. Women said this is because during the LRA conflict many people were forced into IDP camps and a number of organizations started conducting sensitization meetings about the rights of women. This was not received well in the community due to the conservative, patriarchal society that exists in this area where men have a stronger voice, demand respect and privileges, and are viewed as the head of the household. The sensitization led women to boldly reject the indigenous practice of inheritance that meant that as widows they could not inherit property. The issue of inheritance was regarded as one of the biggest causes of conflict. It was also noted that women are also victims of gender injustice in terms of access to property, underpinning numerous property ownership conflicts between men and women, and orphans and elders. Domestic violence (1989 to date): Traditionally, a man was the bread winner in a home. But in 1989 when people went to the IDP camps things changed. During that period, men lost their power and property. In the camps it was the women who were given the relief food and property and not the men. The men would then sell the relief items given to women to get more money. As a result, men became powerless and the majority resorted to beating their women to show their power. It was also reported that some women have misinterpreted their rights to manipulate men. This has led to family breakdowns and an increase in the number of neglected children on the streets.
Poverty Loss of livelihoods Income disparity Domestic violenceSchool drop outs Power struggles Bad governance/lack of democracy Cultural degeneration Favouritism and marginalisation Colonial army recruitment policy High crime rate Causes & Impacts Impacts NR&TJ Audit Deterioration of morals BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
NR&TJ Audit National level Power struggles: Participants mentioned power struggles as the cause of many conflicts in Uganda, demonstrated by the numerous coup detats from 1971 to Colonial army recruitment policy: Colonial rule and its policy of recruiting young men of northern tribes into the army widened the ethnic and regional divisions in Uganda and sowed the seeds for tribal rivalries. Soon after Independence, this rivalry began to undermine the political stability of Uganda. Favouritism and marginalisation: Participants mentioned favouritism and marginalisation by political leaders as another cause of conflict in Uganda. They cited Obotes Lango Development Master Plan, which unfairly prioritised development in Obotes home region, as a recipe for chaos and typical of post-Independence Uganda. The Master Plan had two prongs: first, the Lango boundary was to be extended into the neighbouring tribes of Acholi and Kumam, and, secondly, Obote promoted his kinsmen in the army such as Major Smith Opon Acak to the rank of Army Chief of Staff over more experienced senior officers like Tito Okello and Basilio Olara Okello. The Master Plan resulted in a power struggle in the military that culminated in the 1985 military coup against Obote and contributed to deepening tensions between the Acholi and Langi. Bad governance/lack of democracy: Participants mentioned bad governance as a cause of conflict in Uganda. They said that lack of democracy has been at the centre of all conflicts experienced in Uganda to date. An old man in Patongo stated that the deliberate exclusion of the Catholic dominated DP from participation in the post-Independence Government amounted to ignoring democracy, and demonstrated bad governance on the part of the UPC Government. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
NR&TJ Audit Deterioration of morals: Members mentioned the deterioration of morals as a cause of conflict today. They said young people are no longer respectful of elders and do not listen to them which makes it difficult to control their actions and stop them from joining rebel groups or to make them return from the bush once they have joined. Another issue members mentioned was alcohol abuse which is responsible for domestic violence. Alcohol abuse by men increased due to redundancy while in the IDP camps. Another cause of domestic violence and separation is HIV/AIDS. It creates problems in relationships as parties blame each other for their infection. Cultural degeneration: Participants also blame cultural degeneration for the rampant conflict in Uganda. This is because traditional African culture, including traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, was distorted by Europeans who introduced alien values leading to increased conflicts in the region. Participants attributed the rampant land disputes to the weakening of the cultural institutions. Poverty: Participants said that widespread poverty has caused many conflicts and has incited people to join rebellions. They further added that gender based/domestic violence is also caused by poverty since men in the IDP camps would steal household food to sell to get money for alcohol. Poor economic management: Members said that poor management of the economy was the cause of the recent spate of demonstrations experienced around the country, known as the Walk to Work campaign. There were also strikes by teachers and other civil servants. Idi Amin also managed the economy badly as it collapsed during his reign. The wide income gap between the rich and the poor in Uganda was also mentioned as a cause of conflict. Members also mentioned the unequal distribution of wealth among people and regions making people rise against the Government. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
NR&TJ Audit Religious rivalry: Rivalry for power by the two main religions in Uganda introduced by the Colonialists (i.e. Catholics and Protestants) was noted by participants to be behind conflicts. The Catholics were marginalised and have had to fight for their space in the political arena in Uganda. Religion/Bad spirits: Participants also said that bad spirits caused the trinity wars that Joseph Kony, Severino Lukoya and Alice Lakwena fought in the name of the Almighty God and the Holy Spirit. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
NR&TJ Audit Loss of livelihoods: People lost livelihoods and as a result lived in abject poverty and starvation Income disparity: There has been a widening gap between family incomes in northern Uganda and elsewhere in Uganda School drop outs: Some children were abducted and forced to join rebel forces, and others were forced into IDP camps causing them to drop out of school High crime rate: The degeneration of moral values in the IDP camps combined with general insecurity caused by the various conflicts has led to a high crime rate Domestic violence: Murder of spouses as a result of domestic violence has become a problem due to moral degeneration in IDP camps Land conflicts: When people returned from the IDP camps they found other people had occupied the land they used to live on resulting in conflicts over that land Tribal conflicts: Tribal conflicts, especially between Acholi and Lango, have become prevalent in the region as a result of the conflicts listed above Alcoholism: As men were disempowered in the IDP camps, it led to an increase in alcohol consumption and abuse Erosion of cultural values: The movement of people from their homes into IDP camps led to a decline in cultural values. In addition the British also contributed to the destruction of traditional institutions and values Politicisation of conflicts: For political reasons, the conflict in northern Uganda is deliberately portrayed as an Acholi issue and all the Acholis are branded rebels. Participants wondered why Government did not want to declare Acholiland a disaster zone during the war, but was quick to declare Ankole region a disaster zone when the region experienced a cattle disease outbreak The Elders died in the conflict. This was compared to libraries being burnt since elders used to be the source of knowledge and societal memory. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!)Negative
NR&TJ Audit Increased access to social services: Interventions by various stakeholders in the region have led to access to health centres, water and other amenities Increased wealth of business people: As a result of the various wars in this region, business people who sold supplies to soldiers and rebels benefited thus growing their wealth Perception of development: The war has positively changed the development outlook and community perceptions of development issues. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!) Positive
Victims Conflicts Beneficiaries By-standers Peace Builders Spoilers NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
STAKEHOLDERS The participants identified the following victims: NR&TJ Audit The Acholi community suffered in the hands of the LRA, UPDA, HSMF, Severino Lukoya (Rubanga Won), the NRA, UNLA and UPDF Moderately rich people in the country became victims during Amins regime as he randomly murdered them Acholi soldiers were massacred in Moroto and Makindye barracks during Amins regime Communities bordering the Karamoja region are victims of the Karimojong raids Widows and orphans whose husbands and parents died in the war were denied access to land by their relatives The Youth were targeted for abduction to become child soldiers. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!)
NR&TJ Audit The key perpetrators of the violence identified in the districts of Pader and Agago are: Witchdoctors have been central in the escalation of the conflict through their spiritual revelations The NRA/UPDF have been accused of various massacres, e.g. the Bucoro incident as well as rape of men (Tek gungu) The military was partisan, always suspicious of the local population in IDP camps and failed to protect the communities from rebel attacks The Insurgents (LRA/HSMF/UPA) were responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians Regime leaders in Uganda have been manipulating the concept of democracy to suit their selfish interests International arms dealers responsible for the consistent supply of arms to Government and insurgents The Karimojong raided cattle from neighbouring districts LRA and UPDA collaborators linked information to both sides. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!)
NR&TJ Audit The US Government as one of the super powers was not directly involved yet it has been engaged in many other conflicts worldwide. The Government of Uganda which did not act in accordance with the communitys expectations when the Karimojong raided the Acholi cattle. The Government also referred to people of northern Uganda as grasshoppers eating themselves in a bottle The international community which kept on watching the war escalate without doing anything Religious leaders who initially looked on as the situation unfolded though they intervened later President Museveni who deliberately refused to endorse the 7 th Parliament resolution declaring northern Uganda a disaster zone (CLICK once!) The bystanders of the conflict include: BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
The media in Uganda who were not adequately informed on the subject matter, and as a result misled the public on sensitive issues The Government of Uganda which did not try to resolve the conflict by peaceful means The Government of Sudan from whom the LRA were receiving arms for over a decade. Spoilers NR&TJ Audit (CLICK once!) BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Beneficiaries NR&TJ Audit The business community in northern Uganda operated on super profits for a long time during the conflict period Government officials responsible for the procurement of military hardware UPDF officers who spent money without disclosing what they were using the money for whilst in northern Uganda Acholi in the Diaspora who were granted asylum in Europe and America Community members today are benefiting from recovery programs like PRDP, NUSAF II The Government of Uganda who used the situation in northern Uganda to seek financial support from the international community Non-Governmental Organisations and Community Based Organisations who received enormous funding during the conflict period and in the post-conflict recovery phase. The business community in northern Uganda operated on super profits for a long time during the conflict period Government officials responsible for the procurement of military hardware UPDF officers who spent money without disclosing what they were using the money for whilst in northern Uganda Acholi in the Diaspora who were granted asylum in Europe and America Community members today are benefiting from recovery programs like PRDP, NUSAF II The Government of Uganda who used the situation in northern Uganda to seek financial support from the international community Non-Governmental Organisations and Community Based Organisations who received enormous funding during the conflict period and in the post-conflict recovery phase. Among the beneficiaries of the conflicts, the following were emphasised by participants: BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!)
NR&TJ Audit Religious leaders like Archbishop John Baptist Odama and Retired Bishop Baker Ochola whose work continues to present Radio presenters of Radio Mega whose programmes centre around peace Civil society groups that engaged in advocacy and humanitarian issues such as Pax Christi and St. Egidio Traditional leaders such as Paramount Chief David Onen Acana Government and President of South Sudan provided the venue for the peace talks International organisations like the UN and EU Sponsored the peace talks Local media such as Radio Waa and Radio Maria Personalities like Betty Bigombe worked tirelessly to initiate the peace talks Local artists like Dida Moses (RIP), Bosmick Otim, Yib- oyo Lukeme group, Rasta Cobra, Jeje Kakab (RIP), Obol Simple Man, Otim alias Twongweno composed songs about peace Traditional institutions in Acholi like the Ker Kwaro have been at the forefront in resolving conflict in the north. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. Peace builders during the numerous conflicts included: (CLICK once!)
Future NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District
NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. Many participants felt betrayed when talking about the history of Uganda, and said that no Government has even attempted to correct the past mistakes that were made at Independence. The colonial policies of division along ethnic and tribal lines, investment and centralization of power in the Buganda Kingdom, using the north as a labour reserve for the plantations and army, and the marginalisation of the north, all contributed to widening the ethnic and regional divisions in Uganda. This has greatly undermined the countrys political stability. Participants insist that unless all these structural causes of conflict are addressed, conflicts will continue.
NR&TJ Audit According to the participants, justice has not been done to the affected Acholi communities who are the main victims of the conflict. To date nobody has benefited from reparations, perpatrators have not been held accountable, and there have been few attempts at reconciliation. In addition, the conflicts have not been resolved as Kony and the LRA still remain at large in DRC and Central African Republic. Most of the communities that have been displaced continue to live in perpetual fear of the resumption of hostilities. The people affected want the Government to design effective measures that can break the cycle of violence and bring about sustainable peace. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Prosecution Truth-Telling Participants emphasised that talking openly about the issues in the various conflicts should act as the basis for any reconciliation effort in Uganda There is need to establish a framework that outlines acknowledgement, forgiveness and reparation procedures and to document the legacies of conflict Acknowledgement should be made part of the truth-telling process. Participants also said that the acknowledgement should come from all the stakeholders involved in the conflict to the victims. This should be part of the truth-telling that operates through a new arrangement like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This would then guarantee a proper amnesty process. NR&TJ Audit The Government should put in place measures to fast-track litigation in the courts of law, especially on the issue of land conflicts to get rid of the current backlog of land cases Government should be taken to court for defaulting on their duty to protect civilians and their property during the war in northern Uganda Prosecution should be comprehensive covering both the Government army perpetrators with command responsibility and the suspected LRA commanders. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Reparation Participants recommended that only certain things such as livestock and heavy equipment such as cars that were burnt should be compensated, because not everything can be compensated An independent body should be set up to document and compensate the community for the property lost during the conflict Orphans and widows should be supported with education in terms of scholarships and bursaries There should be Government programmes to rebuild the lives of the people who suffered as a result of conflict. Traditional justice should play a key role in the reconciliation process because its processes provide for effective acknowledgement of conflict legacies The traditional justice system in Acholi known as mato oput should be strengthened to complement the formal justice system There is a challenge with the applicability of mato oput beyond Acholi. Where many tribes are involved, the formal law should take its course. However, the principles of mato oput should be extracted to inform a national framework on reconciliation and transitional justice Members also brought in the concept of Gomotong (bending of spears) as another form of traditional justice. Gomotong has precedents of resolving conflicts such as the conflict between Pajule and Patongo in the 1800s. Traditional Justice NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Amnesty Reconciliation Participants called for a national stakeholder conference/forum to address the issue of national reconciliation in Uganda. They also suggested that traditional justice should be allowed to play a role in the reconciliation process because it effectively acknowledges the conflict legacies Having a national language like Kiswahili or English would help better to unite the people of Uganda. The majority of the participants viewed amnesty as very essential in facilitating the return of abducted children as well as fighters of the LRA. However, there were strong voices to the effect that amnesty must be made conditional on truth-telling as this would create opportunities for effective acknowledgement by the perpetrators of the wrongs they committed against the community. NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
Truth-Telling NR&TJ Audit The army should stop provoking communities in Acholi and should engage in more community dialogue to encourage cooperation between the community and army The number of military personnel in northern Uganda should be decreased, especially the Local Defence Units. The regular army should also be made more professional Jobs should be provided to unemployed youth as they may otherwise trigger more conflicts The retirement age should be reduced to 50 years to enable the absorption of young people into the public service as the Government is failing to create jobs The retirement benefits need to be paid promptly to motivate public servants to retire and leave early There should be community service instead of jail sentences as it offers better deterrence to offenders and rehabilitates them back into society Vocational studies should be provided for inmates in prison so as to offer prisoners skills that they could use once they are released from prison There is need to recruit and train professional police officers as opposed to integrating local defence units into the force. Police and Army should be separate, and both should ensure that they stick to their constitutional mandates The number of judges should be increased to administer justice effectively. One participant said that formal justice delivery in Pader is totally blocked as there are not enough judges The education infrastructures in conflict affected areas need to be redesigned to enable effective learning. Participants noted that a special education plan is needed to enable orphans, children and returnees in northern Uganda to benefit and catch up with the rest of the country. (CLICK once!). BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
The following were the key messages the participants sent to the different stakeholders in the various conflicts: NR&TJ Audit To Yoweri Museveni: Please seek forgiveness and resolve the conflict through dialogue. To Joseph Kony: Please enough is enough: accept to talk and sign the Final Peace Agreement Please ask for forgiveness from people. Come home, go to communities, and accept what you did wrong, then the community will forgive you. To all Leaders You should be conscious of your steps and avoid creating more conflicts. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
NR&TJ Audit The Government should put in place measures to speed up litigation on land matters to get rid of the current backlog of land cases. It was noted that this delay makes the people take the law in their own hands The Government and other stakeholders must build the capacities of lower courts to be able to deliver justice on land matters, and provide effective funding to avoid magistrates and judges being compromised by bribes Government should review the legal framework surrounding child rights, and should emphasise education, health, food and clothing. Parents should be allowed to teach their children traditional practices that will shape their attitudes to life and work in the future All leaders should respect and promote democratic governance in Uganda. Fundamental rights and freedoms must be defended and elections should be managed by a truly independent Electoral Commission. The Government should put in place measures to speed up litigation on land matters to get rid of the current backlog of land cases. It was noted that this delay makes the people take the law in their own hands The Government and other stakeholders must build the capacities of lower courts to be able to deliver justice on land matters, and provide effective funding to avoid magistrates and judges being compromised by bribes Government should review the legal framework surrounding child rights, and should emphasise education, health, food and clothing. Parents should be allowed to teach their children traditional practices that will shape their attitudes to life and work in the future All leaders should respect and promote democratic governance in Uganda. Fundamental rights and freedoms must be defended and elections should be managed by a truly independent Electoral Commission. BRIEF 6: Pader District Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. (CLICK once!).
The RLP is very grateful for the contributions made by different organisations towards the success of the National Reconciliation & Transitional Justice Audit Research in Pader and Agago Districts. We would like to thank the Pader NGO Forum for mobilising civil society representatives as well as hosting the civil society and Local Government FGD. We are also very grateful to Rwot Louis Ongiya of Patongo for his photographic memory of Acholi oral history, which helped shape the discussion of the conflict timelines. Finally, our greatest appreciation goes to all our FGD participants and interviewees for sparing a whole day to actively participate in the discussions and to the Swedish International Development Agency and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing financial support for this research. Presentation prepared by Opiny Shaffic, with inputs from Chris Dolan, Annelieke van de Wiel, Moses Alfred Nsubuga and edits by Angella Nabwowe. NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 6: Pader District