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Crime & Investigation

Kasese: Wars Destroying Our Moral Fabric

The central command centre of the Rwenzururu Kingdom burned during the clashes between UPDF and Royal Guard last week (Photo by GIles Muhame/ChimpReports)

The people of Kasese have appealed to government and civil society to introduce key programmes in Rwenzori region to rehabilitate those affected by a string of conflicts in the last eight decades.

The Rwenzori area, buy more about http://daa.asn.au/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-posts-list-table.php which shares a border with the troubled Eastern Congo, order http://circleofliferediscovery.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/includes/pipe.php has borne the brunt of conflicts since the Rwenzuru rebellion of June 30, 1962.

Isaya Mukirane’s (father of King Wesley Mumbere) decision to lead a rebellion against the perceived Batooro oppression in 1962 triggered a decisive response from the great Tooro Kingdom, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

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The hardened Mukirane would later camp in the Rwenzori Mountains where he died.

And most importantly, the post-colonial wars waged by NRA under president Museveni, NALU and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) by Jamil Mukulu left wounded souls and hardened hearts.

“We have gone through a traumatizing period,” said Aidaloi Mbabazi, 62, a lecturer at Bugema University.

“I was young during the Rwenzururu rebellion but I understood what was going on. If the Karamajong can be rehabilitated, why not implement similar programmes in Kasese?” she wondered.

“We need projects to rehabilitate our people. Several extremist groups are exploiting our people’s trauma, frustration and unfulfilled dreams to lead them into acts of subversion thus leading to frequent conflicts in our region,” said Mbabazi.

“There are too many myths and falsehoods in this area. No one comes here to counter these lies. People need massive sensitization to get rid of their pre-colonial mindset and embrace commercial farming and modernity,” she added.

Mbabazi, who teaches theology and sociology, said “people who go through such conflicts need counseling. We have a society that is permanently traumatized. Our kids will always embrace violence if government doesn’t act,” she added.

Trauma

Mbabazi is King Mumbere’s neighbor in Kasese.

When war broke out between UPDF forces and Mumbere’s fighters, Mbabazi’s gate was damaged by an improvised explosive device hurled by the Rwenzururu Royal Guards.

“It’s traumatizing,” she told ChimpReports in Kasese this week.

Kasese RDC Maj James Mwesigye agrees with Mbabazi that the region needs sensitization campaigns to combat the extremist ideology preached to the young and vulnerable people.

“We need continuous sensitization. We are working with locals and Rwenzururu leadership to encourage those in the mountains to surrender. We are ready to rehabilitate them,” said Mwesigye.

ChimpReports’ investigations indicate that several Rwenzururu youth who were granted amnesty in the wake of July 5, 2014 Rwenzori attacks were not properly rehabilitated.

“The youth expected financial support to start business or engage in commercial agriculture. But this programme did not materialize. This left many youth frustrated hence resuming acts of violence,” said a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.

But Mwesigye does not buy this school of thought.

He says like any other district, Kasese has benefitted from wealth creation and youth empowerment projects.

For example in Kasese Municipality, Shs 90m was given to the youth under the Youth Livelihood Programme but only Shs 20m has been paid back.

“Must government give you money not to fight? We would all be in the bush fighting,” said Mwesigye.

However, Dr Nathaniel Waremba, 68, told this website that many inquiries have been conducted to address Rwenzori issues but recommendations are yet to be fully implemented.

“Government needs to address this anger. People are misled because of being frustrated. We shouldn’t be killing each other.”

Studies show that recurrent conflicts result in a major increase in post-traumatic stress disorder with persisting feelings of injustice contributing to mental disorders and violence.

The findings underscore the importance of preventing recurrent violence, alleviating poverty, and addressing perceived injustices in the Rwenzori region currently emerging from conflict.

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