OPM to Consolidate Northern Uganda Achievements

The turmoil in Burundi has worsened with protesters returning to the streets as resistance against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid enters the third week.

The clashes between Police and opposition activists are mainly taking place in Chibitoke.

The violence has compelled Belgium to suspend $2m of the $4m support for the Burundi elections and also withdrawn support worth $3m to the country’s police.

Belgium’s Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo said $2m had already been disbursed to facilitate the electoral process but that the European country could not tolerate the current developments which include the arrest of activists and killing of protesters.

De Croo further asserted his government upheld the Election Observation Mission of the European Union in Burundi (EU EOM) report issued last week that “conditions for free elections were not in place for now.”

He further said Netherlands would follow suit to suspend aid to Burundi.

World leaders have in recent months been piling pressure on Nkurunziza to step down for the nation’s peace and stability.

Nkurunziza last week picked presidential nomination forms for the May election but vowed not to stand for the fourth term.

The Arusha Accords and Burundi constitution provide for only two terms for a sitting president.

But Nkurunziza’s government says the first term was by Parliament’s appointment not adult suffrage.

The legal gymnastics and political violence have led to the exodus of tens of thousands of refugees from Burundi to DRC, more about Tanzania and Rwanda.

ICC warns Nkurunziza 

The ICC prosecutor, cheap Fatou Bensouda issued a statement last week, pharmacy saying she was “concerned about the growing tensions in the country and reports that violence ahead of the elections may escalate which could lead to the commission of serious crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”).

Burundi has been a State Party of the ICC since 2004.

Bensouda said the ICC was established to try those accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide when the state(s) concerned fail to do so.

She further stated that as witnessed in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire, electoral competition, when gone astray, can trigger large-scale crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

“In such instances, my Office will not hesitate to open investigations in accordance with the criteria set by the Rome Statute,” warned the ICC prosecutor.

She stated that, “Any person who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within ICC’s jurisdiction is liable to prosecution before the Court.”

Bensouda affirmed that, “The primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of mass crimes falls, in the first instance, on the national authorities. That failing, however, no one should doubt my resolve to investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for committing crimes under ICC jurisdiction.”

“Electoral violence is by no means inevitable. The recent elections in Nigeria have shown how commitment to peaceful elections by the electoral candidates can prevent mass violence,” she added.

“Political leaders in Burundi are equally responsible for ensuring the peaceful conduct of elections and that their supporters refrain from violence – before, during and after the elections.  My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in Burundi in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence.”

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Office of the Prosecutor has opened investigations in Uganda; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; Central African Republic; Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

It is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Nigeria, Ukraine and Palestine.
By Apollo Munghinda

The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said that PRDP 2 successor programme will focus on consolidating the achievements gained during the first and second phases of PRDP implementation while addressing the development gaps in order to uplift the socio-economic status of Northern Uganda and Karamoja.

Dr Rugunda said consolidating the gains under PRDP 1 and 2 calls for sustained functionality of the established investments, unhealthy enhanced livelihoods and improved sub-regional planning and integration of all categories of the population.

The Premier made the remarks while opening the 4th PRDP 2 Policy Monitoring Committee meeting at the office of the President Conference hall recently.

PRDP 3 is expected to be launched by June 2015 while the effectiveness date for the US$ 130 million NUSAF 3 project covering 55 districts is December 2015.

Rugunda said the NRM Government was fully aware that Northern Uganda like other parts of the country was still experiencing challenges related to land, youth unemployment, integration of ex -combatants in society and domestic violence.

“Government remains committed and will continue to support local governments in implementing projects that meet the communalities’ needs,” the Premier said.

He said the NRM Government will sustain the holistic approach to bring Northern Uganda and Karamoja to the same level of development with the rest of the country, adding that Government will also continue to ensure transparency and accountability for all funds for Northern Uganda and other parts of the country.

Premier Rugunda also launched the economic recovery analysis study for Northern Uganda which found out that the North’s potential far exceeds its current output and that Northern Uganda had comparative advantage in primary commodities, minerals, energy and tourism.

The First lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Janet Museveni said the NRM Government was determined to maintain and sustain the peace and security in Karamoja as a precursor to growth and development.

She said Karamoja development should be refocused to market oriented production and value addition through specific skills training to promote competitiveness.

“There is now no doubt that Karamoja is a stable, secure and safe as any other part of our country. Therefore the people of Karamoja and all Ugandans as well as visitors and Partners in the region can go on with their normal business without any fear, shadow of doubt  or uncertainty whatsoever,” said Janet Museveni.

The Development Partners in their joint statement said they will continue to work with Government on the PRDP3 roadmap adding that they will continue supporting the development of Northern Uganda.

Some of the recommendations that came out to shape PRDP 3  by the various stakeholders included the need to focus on new and emerging conflict drivers such as land, youth unemployment, domestic violence and border disputes.

They also agreed that PRDP3 should focus on consolidating peace and security, economic revitalization and development as well as enhancement of services to reduce vulnerability to poverty.

The meeting that brings together Ministers, Members of Parliament, Development Partners, District leaders and civil society also agreed to strengthen local government capacities to deliver services to the people among other recommendations.


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