Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT."— Presentation transcript:

1 BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT

2 NRTJ AUDIT 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : GULU 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

3 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. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District 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 for “Looking 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

4 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 NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

5 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-TELLING PROSECUTIONS RECONCILIATION NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

6 GULU DISTRICT INFO. Gulu District is perhaps one of the districts worst affected by the well-known conflict involving the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU). Over 90% of the entire population was displaced at the height of the conflict in 2003. Gulu District is bordered by Amuru District in the West, Kitgum District in the North, Lamwo District in the North East, Pader District in the East, Lira District in South East and Oyam District in the South. It is part of Acholiland, homeland of the Luo speaking Acholi. The conflict, however, opened Gulu to a large contingent of other ethnic groups and humanitarian actors. Post-conflict Gulu is a very cosmopolitan town with a diverse and growing population, contributing to economic recovery from the conflict. GULU DISTRICT INFO. Gulu District is perhaps one of the districts worst affected by the well-known conflict involving the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU). Over 90% of the entire population was displaced at the height of the conflict in 2003. Gulu District is bordered by Amuru District in the West, Kitgum District in the North, Lamwo District in the North East, Pader District in the East, Lira District in South East and Oyam District in the South. It is part of Acholiland, homeland of the Luo speaking Acholi. The conflict, however, opened Gulu to a large contingent of other ethnic groups and humanitarian actors. Post-conflict Gulu is a very cosmopolitan town with a diverse and growing population, contributing to economic recovery from the conflict. Map of Uganda showing Districts NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

7 NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

8 This Brief is based on data collected from Gulu District from 19 th to 23 rd September 2011. The FGDs with adult women and men, and youths were conducted in Awach Sub-County, Aswa County, approximately 29 kilometers north of Gulu Municipality. The FGD with civil society and local government took place in Gulu Municipality. Awach sub-county was chosen because of its deep experience with atrocities. At one point in the northern conflict, Awach Sub-County was arguably the hub of LRA operations. The preliminary findings below reflect opinions, perspectives and narratives expressed in the different FGDs and key informant interviews. This Brief is based on data collected from Gulu District from 19 th to 23 rd September 2011. The FGDs with adult women and men, and youths were conducted in Awach Sub-County, Aswa County, approximately 29 kilometers north of Gulu Municipality. The FGD with civil society and local government took place in Gulu Municipality. Awach sub-county was chosen because of its deep experience with atrocities. At one point in the northern conflict, Awach Sub-County was arguably the hub of LRA operations. The preliminary findings below reflect opinions, perspectives and narratives expressed in the different FGDs and key informant interviews. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

9 NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

10 When asked whether Uganda is at peace, the majority of participants acknowledged the relative peace in northern Uganda citing the silence of the guns. They all however pointed out that in holistic terms, Uganda is not at peace given the multiplicity of conflicts experienced at all levels. Participants expressed restlessness amongst citizens and lack of peace of mind. Many victims of the LRA conflicts, they said, are still struggling to survive. Several problems in society were pointed to as signs and symptoms of absence of peace, such as children who are still in captivity, internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are unable to return, numerous simultaneous strikes and demonstrations, use of police and tear gas to fight civilians standing up for their rights, general suppression by the government, ongoing recruitment of military personnel by the government as a sign of preparation for war, the Kampala bomb blasts of September 2010, political conflicts, election malpractice, biting national inflation, rebellion e.g. the LRA question, amongst others. “I was born in war period and grew up in wars and up to now I have never seen peace, and I thought that is how life should be, I think it is a life style”. - Youth in Awach Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

11 The Lamogi Rebellion (1911): Anti-colonial insurrection The Kabaka Crisis (1966). Conflict between the Kabaka of Buganda and President Apollo Milton Obote culminating in an attack on the palace of the King of Buganda by the Ugandan army. It forced the late Kabaka Fredrick Walugembe Muteesa II into exile and preceded the abolition of Kingdoms in Uganda. Participants argued that this led to hatred of northerners by people in Central Uganda, distorting the relationship between north and south up to now. The Killing of Brigadier Okoya (1971) exacerbated tensions between the Acholi and Langi tribes in Obote’s army and would become part of the reason for the coup against Obote Amin’s Coup (1971) and reign of terror from 1971 to 1979 The NRA Bush War (1981-1986): The guerrilla war under the supreme command of Yoweri Museveni caused untold suffering on people within the region and beyond. It also escalated already existing ethnic tensions between northerners and southerners The war waged by the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) (1979). In 1979, Ugandan freedom fighters backed by the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force (TPDF) overthrew Amin through a joint military operation The participants from Gulu District viewed conflicts in their region as an outcome of long historical patterns traceable in Uganda’s turbulent history. Participants identified a number of episodes of conflict as significant for understanding the history of conflict in the country, region, district and village, and explained them as follows: 1966197119792010199019852000198119861911 Okello Military Council (1985). General Tito Okello Lutwa overthrew Obote’s second government. He initiated peace talks in Nairobi with Museveni that resulted in the Nairobi Peace Agreement (participants referred to this Agreement as the “Nairobi Peace Jokes”) Breaking of “Nairobi Peace Jokes” and Museveni’s takeover (1986): Museveni violated the Nairobi Peace Agreement terms and on January 26 th 1986 the NRA guerrilla fighters captured power from Tito Okello Lutwa. This sparked several insurgencies as rebel groups emerged in different parts of the country Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

12 One of those rebellions was led by the Uganda People’s Democratic Army (UPDA) (1986-1988). Initially, there was a group of people called “Cilil” (“Go and tell”) who did not support government. Later, the UPDA commanded by Odong Latek and comprising primarily former UNLA (Uganda National Liberation Army, the national army under Obote II) soldiers who organized themselves from Sudan, and took up arms against the NRA in fear of revenge and extinction by the NRA. Indeed, the NRA, after capturing power from Tito Okello, embarked on a massive campaign targeting the former government army soldiers, many of whom were Acholi. This campaign involved roadblocks, encampment, arbitrary arrests, torture, indiscriminate killings, rape and the burning of houses and property. The conflict between the UPDA and NRA finally ended in a peace agreement signed in Pece on the 3 rd of June 1988, signed by Okello Okenno. Former UPDA commander Odong Latek, as well as other fighters, joined the LRA. Holy Spirit Movement (1986-1988). This initially mild religious movement was founded by Alice Auma Lakwena who claimed she was a healer and messenger of the Holy Spirit, sent to defend God’s Kingdom and defeat the new government run by Museveni. Her charismatic spirituality attracted many followers. The group was defeated in Jinja in 1988, when her spiritual powers had faded. Some of her fighters joined the LRA or rebel groups in Teso. The looting of cattle in 1987 by Karimojongs in collaboration with the NRA, and to a lesser extent by Lakwena’s forces. According to participants the Karamojong cattle raiding was actively encouraged by the NRA, to remove wealth from the Acholi people. NRA soldiers also joined in the looting. In some cases, promises for later compensation were made. The looting inspired many youths to join rebel forces to protect the family cattle.  The Uganda People’s Army (UPA) (1987-1992). Meanwhile, former soldiers of the special forces of the UNLA also formed a rebel group in Teso, led by Peter Otai: the UPA. They opposed Museveni’s government and fought the Karimojong who had come to raid cattle, with support of the local population. The rebellion came to an end through mediation by the Teso Commission. 1966197120101988198619871980 NRA atrocities, primarily during “Operation Fagia” and in Bucoro and Anaka. In 1988, the NRA launched Operation Fagia (“Sweeping”), led by Gen. Salim Saleh. Soldiers were instructed to “kill every living thing, even trees”. The operation started with an ultimatum to the civilian population in Gulu to leave their villages and move to camps in Sir Samuel Baker school, Pece in Gulu town and Bungatira within 24 hours. Before the 24 hours had elapsed, army soldiers started committing tek gungu, (rape of men), defecation in food, the burning of houses and the killing of civilians. In 1991, a battalion with soldiers from Luwero who wanted revenge committed atrocities in Bucoro, such as burying people and then suffocating them with chemicals. In the same year, similar atrocities took place in Anaka. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District 1992

13 The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (1987 to date). At the time of Lakwena’s HSM, Joseph Kony started the LRA. Awach was a hub of LRA activities as it is a vast stretch of land with few settlements. Joseph Kony was ordained in a church in Awach and is said to have spiritual powers (“a fire that cannot be extinguished”). The LRA committed terrible atrocities like abductions, sexual enslavement, mutilations and killings of civilians. 1986197120121990198720001980 Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District 1988  Opio & Ocen Insurgency (1987-1988): Opio & Ocen were twins and former UNLA fighters who started their small-scale rebellion as traditional healers based in Dog Abera forest in Gulu. There were numerous clashes between them and the NRA until their fighters were defeated in Corner Kitgum and buried in a mass grave.

14 19661971197920101990 1985 2000 198719961988  Encampment of civilians was one of the most significant characteristics of the conflict involving the UPDA and later the LRA and the government. In Gulu, it came in three phases: in 1988 (in Sir Samuel Baker School and Gulu Town), in 1990 and finally in 1996, when all people were ordered to leave their village within 48 hours. It was argued people were forced in camps as a military strategy to deny rebels access to food and recruitment, as well a way to protect people from abductions.  Pigi-ligi War (1988 to date) (war between the spirits of the dead and the living) is believed to have started in 1988 in Bucoro, Awach Sub County, because of blood of innocent people, killed by both the NRA and LRA, that was shed there. If the spirits will not be appeased and get a decent burial, they will continue to cause multiple social problems, nightmares and madness.  Jo Pa Won (1987) (or, the Holy Spirit Movement II) was led by Sevirino Lokoya, the father of the late Alice Auma Lakwena, when her Holy Spirit Movement was defeated. It was defeated almost immediately.  Boo Kec: In the context of insurgency in northern Uganda, there were also a number of armed robbers who were acting under the disguise of rebels, but without an agenda. Participants referred to them as boo kec (meaning “greens are bitter”, in other words, “we want to eat meat”) Many were former rebels, home guards or Local Defence Units and for that reason have weapons;  Domestic violence has increased because of the war and encampment legacy: men were idle, alcoholism increased and people are too traumatized to resolve conflict amicably.  Land Conflicts: In the region, land conflicts have taken over where LRA atrocities stopped and where IDPs started to return home. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

15 Colonial policy of divide and rule Degradation from self-sufficiency to dependency An inclination to fight for privileges and power Moral degeneration An inclination to fight for privileges and power Power struggle, domination and oppression Greed for power Vengeance Lack of proper demobilisation and re-integration of former combatants Failure to honour peace agreements Grave human rights abuses Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

16  Colonial policy of divide and rule. The British made Buganda superior over all other tribes, setting the stage for national disunity and tribalism, which became a national disease. People were further divided along religious lines by missionaries. All FGDs identified several factors as underlying the cycle of conflicts: “every change of regime comes with their own tribes to be soldiers and to occupy government and political positions.” Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Power struggle, domination and oppression. Struggles over power started with the colonial governments’ deportation of Kabaka Mutesa to Seychelles Island. Obote later stormed Kabaka’s palace, also forcing him into exile in London, where he eventually died. This caused the Baganda to hate northerners.  Greed for power. The greed for power is the reason why many coups took place in Uganda since the 1970s.  Lack of proper demobilisation and re-integration of former combatants. When Tito Okello Lutwa was overthrown, the NRA did not demobilize his soldiers, but instead launched operation Fagia (see above). This forced many of them to form or join rebel groups that fought the government so that they would escape the NRA.

17  Failure to honour peace agreements. The Nairobi Peace Agreement with Tito Lutwa Okello was not honoured by Museveni. “the failed Nairobi talks caused great mistrust against Museveni and made peaceful resolution of conflicts difficult with him. (…) This accounts for failure to honour the Juba Peace Talks.” Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Vengeance. In all FGDs “the spirit of revenge” was discussed. For example, Amin revenged on the Acholis and Langis, and Obote revenged on the West Nilers. It was argued the spirit of revenge continues in the current government, explaining why the north and other regions are complaining of marginalisation;  Overstaying in Power. Heads of state usually cling to power because they are afraid to lose economic and political power and do not want another tribe to take over.  Election malpractices. For example, Museveni went to bush after the 1980 elections over allegations that Obote rigged the elections. The cycle continues with Besigye accusing Museveni of election malpractice.  Superstitious beliefs. Lakwena was believed to have magical powers and attracted followers who believed they would not die.  Unfair allocation and distribution of resources and jobs.  Women and Children rights. Indiscipline in children can be attributed to the prohibition on caning. Women no longer respect their husbands and sometimes beat them. When a man beats a woman, however, the police will intervene.  Land conflicts are caused by greed, misinformation by elders to the youth, confusion by politicians, the population increase, and the IDP resettlement process.

18  Grave human rights abuses including torture and massacres by all parties in the conflict. The above conflicts have had profound impacts not only on the lives and well-being of people, but also on different institutions and infrastructure.  Some people benefited from the war, such as LRA relatives who received money. (See “beneficiaries” below.) Negative Positive Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Displacement. In 1966 the Kabaka was forced out of this country into exile. Subsequent presidents like Obote, Amin and Tito Lutwa Okello and close associates were also forced into exile. In West Nile after the fall of Amin, many soldiers ran to Sudan. In 1986 after the fall of Tito Lutwa Okello, many northerners ran into exile in Sudan to organize themselves. During the LRA/government conflict, over 2 million people were displaced into camps.  Abduction & forceful conscription of children as child soldiers into rebel forces.  Destruction of infrastructure such as schools, roads, hospitals and bridges.  Moral degeneration was brought about by camp life. Parents had no privacy and lost control of their children.  Eroded culture and loss of good cultural practices that unite the people.  Unexplainable and contagious diseases emerged. Some were brought by soldiers e.g. ebola and hepatitis B and E. The nodding disease was allegedly caused by relief food.  An increase in armed robbery is destabilising peace in northern Uganda.  Conflict exposed the affected community to business since there was an opportunity for trade in IDP camps.

19  Increased rate and prevalence of HIV/AIDS. An example was cited of a Minister asking a judge during a corruption inquiry: ‘Where were you when we were fighting?’ Negative Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Looting of Acholi cattle by Karamojong and NRA soldiers and the undermining of wealth in Acholi.  Hatred and revenge amongst Acholis because of terror inflicted by LRA fighters coming from different communities.  A strained relationship between the Acholis and the Langis, West Nilers and Itesots due to the LRA violence, further adding to the level of tribalism in Uganda.  The President continues to cling to power as a way of escaping accountability and justice.  An inclination to fight for privileges and power, as a result of unequal allocation and distribution of resources throughout the country.  Impunity. High-level government officials remain unaccountable and protected by the state because they claim they are Uganda’s liberators. This encourages citizens to attain power through undemocratic means.  Dysfunctional families. Conflict caused an increased number of child headed families and single parent headed families.  A ruined future for children and youths. Because of the war in the north (the encampment and the running) youth cannot compete with the rest of their countrymen in terms of job placement and opportunities for further education.  Degradation from self-sufficiency to dependency of people in the north.  Disability and deformation caused by land mines and other explosives.  Trauma and madness.  Rape of both women and men, undermining masculinity and causing trauma and bitterness.

20 Victims Conflicts NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

21 In the different conflicts discussed, children and women were identified as the most affected categories of people. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Both men and women became victims of rape. Men were raped by government soldiers only, whereas women were raped by both government soldiers and LRA soldiers.  Other victims included war orphans, the Acholi and Langi tribes, LCs, RCs, community leaders, weak men, persons with disabilities who were unable to escape from rebels, fighters, youths who were conscripted for fighting, the business community, priests, abductees and humanitarian workers (e.g. the Red Cross), elderly who were burnt in houses, civil servants (like teachers and doctors) and journalists.  There was a general consensus that each person fell victim to the different conflicts in Uganda, especially the conflict by the LRA and NRA, although different parts of the country were affected in different ways. There are those who are directly affected and those who are indirectly affected.

22 A long list of people, groups, and organizations were raised as perpetrators of violence and other atrocities committed during the different conflicts experienced in Uganda. These include: Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Government soldiers in atrocities in e.g. Bucoro and Anaka (including Gen. Salim Saleh, Fred Rwigyema, Paul Kagame and Kizza Besigye) Participants lamented that though the government army had a duty to protect civilians forced into IDP camps, instead they were perpetrators of violence  LRA commanders (including Joseph Kony, Onen Kamdulu, Kenneth Banya, Otti Vincent)  Ugandans in Diaspora who supported the LRA  The Government of Sudan who also supported the LRA  Arms dealers  Those who have no heart for forgiveness  NRA and LRA collaborators in the community  The media when spreading false information  At the household level, men and women in marriage are both perpetrators and victims.

23 Much as the wars experienced in northern Uganda were disastrous and costly, many people seem to have benefited in different ways: Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Government through foreign aid that was meant to stop the war but was instead diverted  Soldiers who fought in Congo e.g. the late General James Kazini allegedly came back with a lot of timber and gold looted from Congo  The peace teams, traditional leaders and lawyers who were used as legal experts during consultations with Kony  NGOs, their employees and church leaders exploited the war to get money from abroad  (Relatives of) LRA fighters, fund raisers, collaborators and informers were rewarded  Mediators were paid huge sums of money  The business communities who supplied UPDF/LRA with uniforms and ammunitions  The media who used the war to sell their papers and musicians who sold their music  Witch doctors who claimed they could protect you against bullets  Some UPDF commanders obtained personal benefits out of the war.

24 Participants provided the following examples of bystanders in the conflicts: Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District  Government took too long before they opted to negotiate peace  The United Nations and African Union failed to send peace keepers to northern Uganda at the time when Kony was committing multiple atrocities in the region  Neighbouring countries of Uganda e.g. Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania  The Uganda Human Rights Commission saw violations were committed, but took no action and did not openly condemn the violations  Government officials and donors failed to stop the killing of protesters and spraying of demonstrators with pink colour in the recent riots  Household neighbours see domestic violence but do nothing to stop the fighting  Traditional leaders had the capacity to dialogue with the fighters of the LRA and the government but kept quiet in the initial period  The international community did not intervene to prevent the LRA from terrorising northern Uganda.

25 The following were identified by all groups as spoilers;  The government sabotaging efforts from international community to bring peace  President Museveni in giving an ultimatum to LRA during peace negotiations  Opportunists who served in different regimes giving ill-advice to ensure positions  Politicians and their parties  Leaders prioritizing personal over public interests  International funders of war  The International Criminal Court (ICC). Its indictment prevented Kony and his fighters to come out and denounce rebellion  Media involved in propaganda  Sudan supporting the LRA  Parents of LRA fighters  Gun manufacturers  Banyankole herdsmen in Acholiland who provided the NRA with intelligence. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

26 Participants in each FGD came with long lists of people they consider to have played an important role in peace building. Among them were the following;  The Media: a lot of participants mentioned Radio Freedom and later Mega FM who featured programmes promoting return by LRA combatants under amnesty, such as Dwoke Cen Paco (“come back home”). This programme is believed to have played an important role in encouraging defections and escapes  Members of Parliament from Acholi sub-region and northern Uganda generally were constantly mentioned as peace builders for standing up for the plight of their people  Traditional cultural leaders including the Acholi Ker-Kal Kwaro and the paramount chief and other chiefs who risked their lives to talk peace  Religious leaders like Bishop Odama and Ochola and all other members of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative  Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti for accepting to negotiate in Juba and withdraw their fighters from northern Uganda  President Museveni for keeping the peace talks option open even though he preferred military solutions  Peace mediators like Betty Bigombe and Dr. Riek Machar for offering to mediate between Kony and Museveni and restoring relative peace through the cessation of hostilities  Kony’s mother for accepting to travel to Garamba and talk to Kony to come out of the bush which led to confidence building  Government officials like Rugunda for accepting to risk their lives in search of peace talks with Kony;  Local artists who composed peace songs and contributed to local healing  Traditional leaders who facilitated return and reintegration of ex-LRA combatants through initiating and performing traditional welcome and cleansing ceremonies  The Amnesty Commission, community leaders and elders for supporting the amnesty process  The community and the Government of Sudan who hosted the Juba Peace Talks Participants in each FGD came with long lists of people they consider to have played an important role in peace building. Among them were the following;  The Media: a lot of participants mentioned Radio Freedom and later Mega FM who featured programmes promoting return by LRA combatants under amnesty, such as Dwoke Cen Paco (“come back home”). This programme is believed to have played an important role in encouraging defections and escapes  Members of Parliament from Acholi sub-region and northern Uganda generally were constantly mentioned as peace builders for standing up for the plight of their people  Traditional cultural leaders including the Acholi Ker-Kal Kwaro and the paramount chief and other chiefs who risked their lives to talk peace  Religious leaders like Bishop Odama and Ochola and all other members of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative  Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti for accepting to negotiate in Juba and withdraw their fighters from northern Uganda  President Museveni for keeping the peace talks option open even though he preferred military solutions  Peace mediators like Betty Bigombe and Dr. Riek Machar for offering to mediate between Kony and Museveni and restoring relative peace through the cessation of hostilities  Kony’s mother for accepting to travel to Garamba and talk to Kony to come out of the bush which led to confidence building  Government officials like Rugunda for accepting to risk their lives in search of peace talks with Kony;  Local artists who composed peace songs and contributed to local healing  Traditional leaders who facilitated return and reintegration of ex-LRA combatants through initiating and performing traditional welcome and cleansing ceremonies  The Amnesty Commission, community leaders and elders for supporting the amnesty process  The community and the Government of Sudan who hosted the Juba Peace Talks Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

27 NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

28 When asked how participants felt talking about the different conflicts and their legacies, the majority said it was important to talk. The following are highlights of what different participants said they felt; I felt it’s an opportunity to get over my suffering. It is unpleasant to talk about the past because it brings a haunting recollection of unaddressed past abuses and violations that make the people blame past leaders and their tribes thereby causing more tribal hatred. Talking about the past will help right the wrongs committed in the past thus paving way for healing. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

29 When asked whether justice has been done to the stakeholders involved in the conflicts, all participants stressed that this has not been the case. When asked what justice would mean to them, these were the major responses: Justice means addressing violations that have been committed and avoiding repetition. It means compensating victims for their losses and suffering during the war. It means acknowledging wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

30  The majority of the participants acknowledged the importance of symbolic reparations (e.g. memorial sites). They however emphasised that such memorials should be community-driven.  Participants in all FGDs pointed out that compensation is key in reparation, but currently done selectively by authorities in power without a national framework.  The participants acknowledged some selective payments and pledges are made by the President (such as to the Kampala bomb blasts victims), but argued they were political campaigns more than proper reparations.  The lack of a national reparations policy in Uganda retards recovery of war affected people.  All participants agreed that reconciliation is a process that should include truth, acceptance, acknowledgement, apology, asking for forgiveness and forgiveness and compensation that should include both state and non-state actors. According to a male participant, amnesty has created a foundation for reconciliation, as it brought people out of the bush. Amnesty can also give people a “reconciliatory mood”.  Reconciliation is not possible in a climate of fear.  It was argued that grass root level leaders are in a better position than Government to reconcile two parties on the ground Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

31 NRTJ AUDIT 2011 -2012 On memory and memorialization, the majority of survivors of violence in Gulu acknowledged the power of memory and advocated for organized mechanisms that would enable them to remember and live positively with the reality of past violent experiences. They looked at themselves as living memories of the people brutally and innocently killed. They suggested the following:  Building monuments  Memorial sites  Organizing annual memorial activities such as prayers which they said would help them live positively with the offensive memories as they struggle to heal and reconcile with the offenders/perpetrators.  Truth-telling was considered indispensable for healing and reconciliation. Some suggested truth-telling begin at community level, others focussed on a national-level Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In any case, some methods for truth-telling were regarded as inappropriate and potentially dangerous to the involved individuals and their close ones as long as they lack protection mechanisms.  Whereas participants treasured the need for national reconciliation, the majority valued reconciliation and truth-telling more at a community level with traditional leaders at the centre of the process. This could then inspire a discussion on national reconciliation in Uganda.  The need for national reconciliation was emphasized by civil society and local government representatives. They argued in favour of a South-African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission. BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.

32 Most participants expressed disappointment in prosecution processes in Uganda. Some wondered why formal court process and the judicial system seem to favour the rich and those in power.  Across all FGDs, participants acknowledged developments with regards to prosecution in Uganda, especially the recent Kwoyelo trial and indictment of top LRA commanders by the ICC. At the same time they were wondering why state actors who perpetrated or participated in committing atrocities/violence are not prosecuted and why grave human rights abuses and violations before 1986 are not being dealt with in a legal manner  There was a general feeling that fear for accepting responsibility for actions/wrongs committed in Uganda inspires perpetrators to lie and take advantage of the formal justice system  The participants expressed mistrust of formal justice processes and institutions. They believe them to be biased, corrupt and subject to influence from the appointing authority. Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District Participants in all FGDs stressed that the different conflicts have affected and (further) weakened many institutions in Uganda. This is one reason why institutions in Uganda need a series of reforms to make them relevant, functional and beneficial to the citizens.  The institutions most frequently named as in need of reforms were the police, the army and the judiciary.  It was argued Parliament should be independent of external interference.  Some participants also suggested that the heads of such institution must be vetted where necessary by the public.

33 NRTJ AUDIT 2011 -2012 Traditional justice was considered key to return and reintegration in northern Uganda. Many pointed out that local rituals like mato oput are complementary to formal justice systems:  Participants suggested that formal justice processes should borrow conflict sensitive principles from local justice practices such as mato oput, as such practices are rich and widely accepted and trusted;  The majority viewed traditional justice processes as more appropriate for mending broken relationships and addressing conflicts and their aftermath.  Mato oput was often quoted as a significant way to do justice related to killings that occurred in the war. It was also stated, however, that the lack of resources constitutes a problem. Concern was expressed with regards to the fact that psychosocial issues, especially post traumatic reactions, are daunting in Gulu District, yet there are no governmental rehabilitation centres and programs to deal with post-conflict traumas. The participants said:  Most of the services are inadequate and are provided by CSOs that are rapidly closing their programs;  The majority of participants expressed bitterness over losses incurred during the violence. They lamented that government does not seem to consider an agenda for remedial actions. They claimed this negatively affects the healing process and ability of the affected people to live peacefully with one another and support and appreciate other government programs. Amnesty contributes to reconciliation as rebels are encouraged to leave the bush and communities are put in a reconciliatory mood. However, after amnesty is granted, rebels should come down to the community (approaching the Rwot Mo) seeking for cleansing, forgiveness and integration for justice to be done. BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.

34 Participants were invited to direct messages to any person or institution with regards to peace and justice. Nearly all focussed on ensuring that conflict does not reoccur in Uganda, and to have one united Uganda for a peaceful nation. Below are some of the key messages: “Stop making empty promises about compensation of war victims as it is intensifying anger and negative memories about the past. You should compensate LRA victims and come up with special programs to support war orphans and widows.” “Monitor/follow up recovery projects meant to support war affected communities, so that it benefits the affected community.” “There should be no election in Uganda because the President, unlike local leaders, is unchangeable through election.” “As a president, [you] should be flexible and accommodate views from all stakeholder; increase recruitment of medical personnel so that they are available in health centres and teachers and address remuneration across sectors.” “Do not interfere in Parliament and the Judiciary.” “Adopt peaceful ways to resolve conflict.” Parliament: “Become empowered to handle and manage your own affairs without interference say from the President.” Please remember that this field brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

35 The research team comprised of Veve Richard, Wamimbi Jimmy, Aliobe Joan, Opiny Shafic and Okot Bernard Kasozi as team leader. This briefing note on which this presentation is based was written by Okot Benard Kasozi with valuable input from Annelieke van de Wiel and Stephen Oola. Presentation prepared by Opiny Shaffic, with inputs from Chris Dolan and edits by Angella Nabwowe. NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

36 NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District

37 Watch this space for Brief 2: Adjumani district NRTJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : Gulu District


Download ppt "BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 1 : GULU DISTRICT."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google