New conflict looming in Acholi sub-region - report
Posted Saturday, September 28 2013 at 01:00
According to the report, many communities in northern Uganda remain in a state of latent conflict, burdened by inadequately addressed war legacies.
Inadequate transitional justices, competition for land and resources could jeopardise peace recovery efforts in the war-torn Acholi sub-region if not urgently addressed, a new civil society report has warned.
“Many communities in northern Uganda remain in a state of latent conflict, burdened by inadequately addressed war legacies and deep-seated grievances against government institutions, and vulnerable to relapse into violence if significant triggers occur,” the report reads in part.
“Perception of neglect and marginalisation amongst communities in the north arise from comparatively higher level of poverty and social-economic and political exclusion. Competition over natural resources and land, youth exclusion, inadequate post conflict truth, reconciliation and transition justice process, sexual gender-based violence are undermining peace building efforts in northern Uganda,” the report adds.
It states that peace and conflict indicators showed that in Acholi, despite the Peace, Recovery and Development Programme (PRDP) investment, confidence in sustained peace and security had reduced by 9 per cent between 2011 and 2012 (from 79 per cent to 70 per cent).
The Northern Uganda Peace and Conflict Analysis (2101-2012) study was launched yesterday in Kampala. It was carried out by the Advisory Consortium on Conflict Sensitivity , a partnership of three non-governmental organisations: International Alert, Refugee Law Project and Safeworld.
In 2007, government launched the three-year PRDP to rebuild, consolidate peace while bridging the economic development gap between the north and the rest of the country. It was later renewed to run up to 2015 but has been rocked by corruption scandals where billions of shillings have been swindled.
Democratic Party president Norbert Mao lashed at government and NGOs over underdevelopment in Acholi sub-region. “This report reveals one thing, there are uncoordinated efforts. NGOs are running in different directions. Study this report and use it appropriately.”
There is still challenge of integration, according to Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu. “I went to a school of children born in the bush during the Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion. I asked them if they are visited by relatives. Two of them burst into tears. One of them told me the parents died and the grandfather is too old. If we do not handle these children well, there can be a problem in future,” he said.
“The educated people advice illiterate locals to get bank loans and stake their land as security and later take over. Civil societies should help us sensitise locals. If there is an investor, they should use their land as equity so that in future, they can still own the investment to earn and send their children to school,” he said.