NATIONAL RECONCILIATION &TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AUDIT BRIEF 10 of 18: MUKONO DISTRICT BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Main objectives of the NR&TJ Audit • 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
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Methodology Three field teams comprising four researchers and one videographer visit eighteen selected districts equally distributed over the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central regions in Uganda. 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.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Focus Group Discussion Guide PART 1: LOOKING BACK A. Is there peace in Uganda? 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
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Focus Group Discussion Guide PART 2: LOOKING FORWARD WELCOME BACK - Reminder of purpose of second half: from looking back to looking forward A. How does it feel to be talking about the history of this country? RECONCILIATION TRADITIONAL JUSTICE AMNESTY TRUTH-TELLING PROSECUTIONS 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? MEMORIALIZATION PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT REPARATIONS CHANGES IN LAW / INSTITUTIONS C. What messages do you have for key persons and/or institutions?
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 DISTRICT INFORMATION Mukono District was created in 1980. It originally comprised of the Buganda Kingdom counties of Kyaggwe, Bugerere and Buvuma. In December 2000, Bugerere county was converted into Kayunga District and in July 2010, Buvuma was also granted district status. The remaining land of Kyaggwe was partitioned with the eastern part becoming Buikwe District. For that reason, Mukono is much smaller today than it was in 1980. Mukono District borders Kayunga to the north, Buikwe District to the east, Kalangala District to the south west, Wakisu District and Kampala to the west and Luwero District to the north west. Mukono District has one of Uganda’s most ethnically diverse populations of approximately 536,400 people. Map of Uganda showing Districts Accessed at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bsw9fKc0A6w/TNwg89BAzSI/AAAAAAAAAFI/1z4b-pgdYF4/s1600/map.JPG
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Introduction This Field Brief is based on focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs) conducted in Mukono District from April 11 to 17, 2012. FGDs were conducted with women, men and youth in Nabbale Sub-County. The FGD with civil society and local government representatives was conducted in Mukono Town. KIIs were conducted with representatives from the community (Community Resource Persons), district leaders, student leaders and members from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The preliminary findings below reflect opinions expressed in all the FGDs. The Field Brief reflects conflict perspectives and opinions as narrated by the FGD participants, which are not necessarily those of the Refugee Law Project or its funders.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 LOOKING BACK Past
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Is there peace in Uganda? The majority of the participants stated that the conflict situation and insecurity in Uganda today is not like it was in the past. At the same time, they said that Uganda is not at peace at all levels. The participants cited a general lack of peace in the country. They pointed at the following problems: the police are in constant conflict with civilian protestors; opposition groups are forming pressure groups and advocating for regime change; there are recurrent rumours circulating about rebels recruiting civilians (for example in Busoga); rebel groups still exist (the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Allied Democratic Front (ADF)); there is an “Iron Bar Hit Men Squad” in Mukono, Jinja and Kampala that has claimed many innocent lives, and there is rampant domestic violence, youth unemployment, poverty and tribalism. All these factors are regarded as impediments to peace in Uganda. The participants feel that a failure by Government and other relevant stakeholders to address the above issues may lead to national anarchy. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Conflicts Timeline: National Level 1962 1966 1971 1979 1980 1981 1985 1986 2011 2012 Central Government vs. Buganda Kingdom (1962-to date): This conflict is historical, dating back to conflict in the 1960s between then Prime Minister Dr. Apollo Milton Obote and the King of Buganda, Kabaka Fredrick Walugambe, who was Uganda’s first President. The conflict between the two led to the 1966 Kabaka Crisis (see below) and the abolition of kingdoms by Obote. At present, the central Government and the Buganda Kingdom are in conflict over the control and ownership of resources within Buganda and Buganda autonomy from state interference. Kabaka Crisis (1966): This was the first time the national army used force to fight its own citizens instead of protecting them. The army, under the command of IdiAmin Dada, used guns to solve the conflict between the Prime Minister and the Kabaka/President. A female participant said “I saw a plane roaming and throwing bombs on Lubiri in Mengo, something nobody had ever seen or imagined.”. This event caused significant destruction and its impacts have still not been addressed. Amin’scoup that toppled Obote’s Government (1971): Conflict emerged between Obote and his army officers over the promotion of soldiers in the army, provoking Amin to launch a military coup. The coup toppled Obote’s Government when he was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Singapore. Amin became the President of the Republic of Uganda in 1971. War to overthrow Amin (1979): Amin’s regime was characterised by a total breakdown of the rule of law. The economy suffered when he expelled the Asian traders. His security forces were known for their brutality. In 1979, some Ugandans in exile combined forces to form the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF). Their armed wing, called the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), received support from the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces (TPDF). The two forces combined to launch a military fight that deposed Amin and sent him into exile where he later died. 1980 contested election: The following people/parties took part in the 1980 election: Dr. Paul KawangaSsemogerere for the Democratic Party (DP), Dr. Apollo Milton Obote for Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and YoweriKaguta Museveni for Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). The election was marred by malpractice and the UPC was illegally declared to be the winner. As a result, a dissatisfied Museveni protested by rebelling against the UPC government. NRA Bush War (1981-86): Museveni, through his guerrilla war that was launched in 1981 in protest at the 1980 elections, first fought against the Obote II Government and later fought Tito Okello’s Government out of power. This took place whilst the two parties had engaged in peace talks in Nairobi. It was the start of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government that has now been in power since 1986. The Bush War that he led lasted from 1981 to 1986. Military coup that ousted Obote II, ushering in General Tito OkelloLutwa (1985): In 1985, Obote’s Government was confronted by both internal wrangles and several rebel groups fighting his Government, such as the National Resistance Army (NRA), Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) and the Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda (FEDEMU). As a result of growing tribalism and conflict in the army, Tito Okello organized a military coup led by BazilioOlaraOkello that toppled Obote’s Government, ushering in Tito Okello as the Head of State. On-going conflict between armed Government forces and unarmed civilians (2011): Immediately after the 2011 national elections, pressure groups emerged conducting nationwide campaigns such as the ‘Walk to Work’ protests and demonstrations. Activists for Change started organising public rallies and holding press conferences. The Government, through the police and the army, quelled the protests using teargas, live bullets, kiboko (caning) and indiscriminate brutal arrests and detention. This sparked angry reactions from the civilian protestors who fought the police. Recently, a police officer (John Ariong) died during one of the encounters. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Conflicts Timeline: Regional Level 1981 1985 1986 1987 1988 1996 2002 2012 Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda (FEDEMU) under the leadership of Fred Nkwanga (1981-5): This rebel group operated during the civil war that marked the first half of the eighties, in the areas of Mukono and Kayunga and had its base in Nsita Hills in Nabbale Sub-County, Mukono District. They also operated in Kimenyedde Sub-County and Magonga. They committed a lot of atrocities, including killing people in very brutal ways like cutting off people’s tongues and chopping people into pieces. They also looted cattle, food and shops. The leader, Nkwanga, was killed by Tito Okello’s soldiers in 1985 in Mutungo when he was called for a meeting. Following his death, some of his followers joined the NRA fighters while others operated as armed bandits and later disappeared to Jinja and other, unknown, places. Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) (1981): This rebellion was led by Dr. Lataakome Andrew Kayira and took place in parts of Mukono and Kampala. He controlled parts of Kampala such as Gaba, Kansanga and Rubaga. The participants said that Kayira later joined the NRA in 1986 as Museveni promised him the Vice-Presidency in the event they captured power. After they captured power, he did not become Vice-President, Instead he was given a ministerial post, a placement he was not happy with. As a result, he threatened to pick up arms again so he was arrested and imprisoned in Luzira for some time and later died under very unclear circumstances. The public has not been satisfied with the level of inquiry into his death. Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) (1986-87): Alice Lakwena was a leader of the HSM whose ideology was based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This rebellion started in Kitgum District in northern Uganda and later spread to eastern Uganda where they met their final defeat at the hands of the NRA (by then the Government national army). Force Obote Back Again (FOBA) (1987): The participants mentioned FOBA as a rebel group that operated mainly in the eastern districts of Tororo, Mbale, Kumi, Soroti and Palisa. It later changed its name and leadership to become Uganda People’s Army (UPA). Uganda People’s Army (UPA) (1987-2002): The UPA was led by Peter Otai, a former minister in Obote’s Government. This rebellion was suppressed by Government forces and the rebels later entered into peace talks with the Government and were either reintegrated into the army or the wider community. Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (1988 - to date): Joseph Kony emerged as commander of the LRA. He has terrorised northern Uganda for over twenty years. His rebellion has not yet ended since he has been committing atrocities in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Uganda National Rescue Front II, led by Ali Bamuze, in West Nile (1996-2002): The participants mentioned UNRF II in West Nile as a rebel group that later negotiated with the Government and was pardoned. Ali Bamuze, together with his followers, reintegrated into the community with the option of joining the NRM/Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), under the leadership of JamilMukulu (1996 - to date): This group was operating in the areas of Kasese, Hoima, Mubende, Fort Portal, Kabarole and the communities surrounding the Rwenzori Mountain. Recently, there was a rumour that ADF was recruiting people from Iganga in eastern Uganda. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Conflicts Timeline: District Level 1968 1985 2007 2010 2012 Land conflicts (1968 to date): Land conflicts characterised by land grabbing, eviction and rivalry over land ownership exist in Mukono District. Land conflicts are said to have started in 1968 during Obote’s regime when he used his men called MayumbaKumi(head of ten households), who performed the duties of what is now known as local councillor. These men are said to have started grabbing people’s land. After the overthrow of Obote, other leaders and people in power continued the land grabbing. Today, the rich, through middle men, come from Kampala and other districts to buy small pieces of land and later claim they bought a big chunk. At this point, they use their money and power to exploit the poor natives and they end up taking their land. The conflict between the landlords and squatters has culminated in rampant evictions. Cattle theft (1985 to date): The growing rate of unemployment and poverty has caused many youths to engage in cattle theft as an income generating activity. Cattle theft started in 1985 when there were many rebel groups fighting in central Uganda and from then on it has not reduced. Cattle theft used to be rampant only during festive seasons, but this trend has changed as there is a deficit in both the security of humans and their property in the district. “Iron Bar Hit Men Squad”(abemiitalibwa in the local language) (2007 to date): These squads are believed to comprise of unemployed youths and drug abusers who have been terrorising people in the eastern Uganda districts of Mukono, Kampala, Mbale and Jinja. They always operate from 8:00pm to 6:00am (when it is dark) and they use iron bars, knives and pangas to attack people. The participants believe that some could even be having guns. They have so far been the major killers in and around Kampala and Mukono with daily news of inhumane acts. The participants claim that Government has done very little to address this problem. A male participant said that: “The incumbent government does not mind about what does not threaten its government, since the iron bar hit men quad does not have the intention to overthrow the government. I bet the government will remain dormant in providing total security and clearing these bandits and we will keep on hearing news of innocent strugglers being butchered every day”. Witchcraft (2007 to date): The participants revealed that commercial witchcraft is being practiced in Mukono District. It is different from the witchcraft practiced in Lubale which is passed down from generation to generation. The natives resorted to buying the services of witches from Tanzania for commercial purposes and advertised their services over radio, saying they have extraordinary supernatural powers. They attract many impoverished people who want to try their luck for survival. People often report strange deaths, diseases and physical and mental suffering that have been attributed to witchcraft. The rampant child sacrifice by the witchdoctors causes fear, insecurity, mistrust and hatred within the community. They proposed a need for laws to restrict the operation of witchdoctors and punish culprits severely. Increase of child sacrifice and witchcraft in Mukono (2010): Participants pointed at the increasing level of poverty in the district as a major reason behind child sacrifice. People sacrifice children to witchdoctors because they think they will get wealth, prosper in business or appease their Gods. Before they take on big projects like big buildings they put a human skull on the foundation before raising the wall to prevent the building from collapsing and workers from having accidents. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Conflicts Timeline: Village Level 1962 2012 Domestic violence (from pre-Independence to date): This is rampant in the villages and the participants attributed female emancipation and related misinterpretations as the major cause of domestic violence. Women feel they are at the same level as men, yet the tradition says the men are superior to women. This has been compounded by the failure of some women to meet or execute their roles and responsibilities as housewives in homes leading to quarrels, fights, child neglect, separation and divorce. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Causes & Impacts Unfair treatment of citizens Tribalism Unresolved conflicts between leaders Struggling for power Causes Overstaying in power Vote rigging Greed for wealth to fulfil selfish gain Loss and destruction of property Women and girls were raped Disappearanceof people Impacts Child sacrifice Delayed development Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Causes of conflicts (CLICK once!) • Unresolved conflicts between leaders: Unresolved conflicts between leaders caused the 1966 Kabaka Crisis, and, at present, unresolved conflicts exist between leaders in Government and opposition that need to be sorted out before the situation escalates into full-blown conflict • Struggling for power: From the 1960s, many rebel groups and military and political leaders emerged who struggled to become Heads of State • Greed for wealth to fulfil selfish gain: One participant said “Fred Nkwanga, who was the leader of FEDEMU, used local people and his followers to loot, but the locals never gained anything” • Tribalism: Both current and past regimes have been characterised by tribalism and favouritism. This accounts for the coups against Obote and Amin. To date, the Banyankole and Banyarwanda are favoured more than other Ugandans in all spheres, creating hatred and divisionism that is tearing the country apart. • Overstaying in power: This brings tension with others who would also want to lead, as well as unpopularity that can destroy their positive contributions. They cited the incumbent President as a culprit. His length of time in power has led to the emergence of pressure groups fighting for his exit from power. • Vote rigging: This propelled Museveni to contest the alleged malpractice in the 1980 national election and to rebel against Obote II’s Government • Multiparty politics: The opening up of political space through the 2000 referendum gave birth to many political parties and divisionism along party lines. This created conflicts and unhealthy struggles for power in Uganda. • Poor implementation of good Government projects impedes recovery and development in Uganda, leaving the citizens angry and dissatisfied with the Government. For instance, compensation schemes in conflict-affected communities have not been implemented properly. • Unfair treatment of citizens, especially by police, army and the judiciary, invokes demonstrations and bitterness amongst citizens • Drug abuse has increased the involvement of youths in violence, theft and the “Iron Bar Hit Men Squad”. Drug abuse is caused by poverty and youth unemployment. • Poverty: This has forced many people to resort to dubious means of acquiring wealth, including involvement in armed robbery, cattle theft, buying witchcraft, rioting, drug abuse and collaborating with rebels and thugs. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Impacts of conflicts (CLICK once!) Negative • Loss and destruction of property: Conflicts damaged a lot of institutions and individual property, for example the property burnt by the LRA and FEDEMU fighters • Women and girls were raped and were either left vulnerable to or contracted diseases such as HIV/AIDS while others conceived and gave birth to bastards • Loss of lives: People like Bishop Luwum were killed by Amin and many civilians were killed by LRA, NRA, FEDEMU and UFM rebels • Amin’s expulsion of Asians resulted in an economic crisis since they controlled the business community in Uganda • Displacement of people from their homes/ancestral land into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps in Mukono town, Luwero and Nakitoma during the NRA Bush War and in northern Uganda during the LRA rebellion. The living conditions were extremely bad in such camps. • Delayed development as much money is spent to finance the wars/Ministry of Defence • Eviction of the poor and squatters by landlords and the rich who have bought huge chunks of land • Mob justice against perpetrators of witchcraft and theft especially in Mukono town and Nakisonga village. In December 2011, in Nakisonga village, 7 families took refuge at the police station because the community wanted to kill them over suspected practice of witchcraft. • Poverty: Conflicts left the local people impoverished and a number of youths have resorted to robbery to earn a living • Disappearanceof people during the panda gari (board the truck)period and operation weyambule (undress). Panda gari took place primarily under Amin and Obote, from 1971 to 1985, though it also took place less frequently during the beginning of Museveni’s regime. Operation weyambule was headed by a senior UPDF commander, Eli Kayanja. The objective of this operation was to fight army robbery, but later it was also used against members of the opposition. The latter operation took place in the first half of the first decade of this century, throughout the country. Both operations involved state actors taking civilians to unknown destinations. To date, many families have never seen their loved ones who were taken. • Emergence of Iron Bar Hit Men who have terrorised the entirety of Mukono and other neighbouring districts, claiming lives of innocent people • Child sacrifice, as a result of poverty, has led to growing levels of despair and frustration Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Impacts of conflicts (CLICK once!) Positive • Change of dictatorial leadership/regime: At times, conflict caused bad leaders to be removed and good ones to be ushered in • Checks and balances on the government: Demonstrations and strikes led to some remedial initiatives by Government to address inflation and other issues. It also enlightened Government about national issues and problems. • Improvement in service delivery: Because leaders may not want situations that led to the removal of past regimes to recur, they try to be as good as possible and provide services to the communities • The opposition leaders who are behind most of the demonstrations and strikes have helped keep the Government in check Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 STAKEHOLDERS Spoilers Peace Builders Conflicts Beneficiaries By-standers Victims Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Victims (CLICK once!) • Police who suffered at the hands of civilian protestors during riots as many were stoned and injured • Women were raped by rebels and others acquired sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Some women lost their husbands during conflicts and became widows. • Children were forcefully recruited as child soldiers and later died on the front line. Some became heads of households, while wars disrupted the education of others • The elderly who were left behind because they could not run were victims. A participant commented that ‘during the NRA war, we left our grandfather in the house with yellow banana (Bugoya) until we came and got him because he was too old to run’. • Men were targeted by rebels and they were on the run in hideouts most of the time during the conflict period • The business community, some of whom lost their trade items to looters and rebels while perishable items rotted in their stores • People with disabilities were left behind because their physical disability prevented them from running away from the insurgents and some were killed by fighters • Farmers who lost their animals and food to NRA fighters • Political leaders such as Dr. Kizza Besigye were many times teargassed and summoned by the police together with members of Activists for Change • Investors, especially Asians were expelled by Amin and lost their businesses and other property • The rich people lost their property to looters and some were attacked by the Iron Bar Hit Men • All the leaders who ruled Uganda from Independence to date because all the transitions in Uganda involved conflicts. They include the Kabaka, Obote, Amin, Tito Okello and Museveni. Previous leaders were overthrown and/or exiled as a result of conflicts. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Perpetrators The key perpetrators of the violence identified in Mukono district are: (CLICK once!) • FDC president Kizza Besigye led the ‘Walk to Work’ campaign that turned violent and disrupted people’s businesses. Many people were wounded and others died, including a police officer. • Men and women perpetrated domestic violence, leading to physical harm, separation/divorce and child abuse • Children who beat up or even kill their parents over money and land • Obote’s Mayumba kumi killed civilians suspected to be rebels, raped and forced girls into early marriages • Witchdoctors sacrificed children and Kato Kajubi (who murdered a child in Masaka) was accused of child sacrifice. The matter is still in the courts of law. • Radio stations that advertised witchdoctors have perpetrated violence • Amama Mbabazi (Prime Minister) was implicated in a corruption scandal • Iron bar hit men raped women and killed many people during their operation • The rich grabbed the land of the poor which was their only major source of livelihood, thereby increasing levels of homelessness and poverty • Middlemen and Local Council who were involved in the illegal sale of land in communities have prompted land conflicts in different communities • Religious leaders who were telling followers to vote for particular politicians because of religion, creating division and conflicts • Police tear gassed indiscriminately, affecting even non-protestors and patients in hospitals • The judiciary has delayed justice for the 2009 Buganda riots’ suspects • Criminals looted properties during conflicts • The communities perpetrated mob justice to suspects and killed some before they were taken to police or court Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Beneficiaries • Those who won the battles/wars, such as Museveni with his NRA/M Bush War, gained power and hold positions of responsibility • Tribesmen of the President, the Banyankole, have benefited from privileges and lucrative offices in Uganda • The international community like the USA and Russia were able to fulfil their interest and benefit from the sale of fire arms and even teargas • Thieves/thugs broke into houses of people displaced by conflicts and looted property • Ugandan citizens, for example Amin, chased Indians and distributed their property to other citizens • Technical people in the NGOs and Government benefited from recovery and reconstruction project funds after wars in Uganda • The media and news reporters published stories during the insurgencies which attracted many buyers and boosted their businesses • Investors took advantage of conflicts and got a lot of money out of businesses, especially during the reconstruction phase • Political leaders such as KizzaBesigye got votes out of sympathy and external support from abroad • Religious leaders from various faiths and denominations such as Catholics, Protestants and Muslims all benefited from the Government in the name of negotiating peace and were invited and funded to talk peace with Kony • Government took advantage of chaos to pass laws and keep themselves in power (for example the lift of the Presidential term limit) • Men, women, children and youth benefited from the funds sent by NGOs which supported them, especially in conflict areas like northern Uganda. (CLICK once!) Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Bystanders • The judiciary delayed justice, yet it had the capacity to provide justice on time. • Leaders in Government promoted their own interests over national interests. They undermined their own people and never consulted the citizens on what they thought was best for them • Religious leaders had the capacity to mediate (talk peace) because people listened to their voices but they did not mediate to settle conflicts in most cases • Red Cross and other relief agencies could have used opportunities during relief distribution to negotiate peace since they are respected by conflicting parties • Cultural leaders did not talk peace, yet their subjects listened to them • United Nations (UN) peace-keeping forces were not sent to Uganda to keep peace, yet conflicts took long in Uganda and the human rights situations worsened • Besigye and Museveni could have talked and sorted their differences but they remained adamant not to • President Obama had the capacity to talk to Besigye and Museveni but did not show any concern • Baganda elders and opinion leaders did not come out and tell the youths not to riot or react violently when KabakaMutebi was denied the chance to go to Kayunga in 2009 • The community kept quiet on information that would have helped end conflicts and did not report community criminals to the relevant authorities • The police also accepted bribes and released some criminals • Media reported negative stories that only painted the country black • The USA and Russia sold firearms and ammunitions to rebels in Uganda. (CLICK once!) Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Spoilers (CLICK once!) • Youths were used during conflicts to loot and fight wars, the causes of which they did not understand • Kizza Besigye and other opposition leaders incited people to join the ‘Walk to Work’ protest that caused destruction of property, lives and businesses • The local community knows a lot of information about criminals but refuse to report them to the police, increasing the rate of criminality and conflicts in communities • Funders of conflicts wanted wars to continue and they benefited a lot from businesses that sold arms and ammunitions • Religious leaders were supporting some parties to the conflict instead of being neutral and mediating to end conflicts • Neighbours who are rumour mongers cause conflicts in families and domestic violence that destabilises peace in homes and amongst neighbours • Power hungry leaders who cling onto power for long become dictators and spoil peace in the country Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Peace Builders (CLICK once!) • President Museveni with his NRA/M fought for peace in Uganda and also fought Kony out of the north • Religious leaders preached the gospel of peace and condemned wars, encouraging harmonious living among the people of Uganda • Traditional leaders like the Kabaka wanted development in their areas and preached the message of peace and unity amongst their subjects • Community leaders and opinion leaders struggled for peace and held meetings with their people and encouraged them to work hard and avoid situations that could jeopardise peace in their communities • Police protected law and order, as well as people and their property, and arrested law breaker • Relief agencies like the World Food Programme (WFP), UN and Red Cross supplied food and other essential items to the war-torn areas such as Karamoja Sub-Region and northern Uganda, promoting the wellbeing of the victims. They also resettled IDPs from camps to their homes • The Uganda Human Rights Commission and other humanitarian agencies spoke out openly condemning human rights abuses in conflict situations • Teachers taught about the dangers of war and encouraged students to avoid involving themselves in wars • Opposition leaders keep the ruling Government in check to ensure peace prevails in Uganda Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 LOOKING FORWARD Future
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 TALKING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CONFLICTS IN UGANDA The majority felt bad about the history of Uganda because of past and on-going conflicts and the visible indicators that have the potential to drag Uganda back into open conflict. A female participant commented: “The history of Uganda is like a chronic wound that keeps on bleeding and doesn’t heal. I rather look at scars to remind me, than seeing unhealed wounds. Seeing the recurrent cycle of conflicts in Uganda is a very painful reminder of all past sufferings, yet we want lasting peace in the country and the memory of happiness.” A male participants said: “I feel very bad about conflicts in Uganda -much as I did not feel some of them directly- because the effects continue up to our time. Everything my parents had was lost and paying school fees was a problem for them because the family had become poor.” Participants also felt talking about the history of conflict in Uganda offers learning opportunities that could help prevent the re-occurrence of similar events. Through understanding what happened, the nation can initiate and implement corrective programmes and policies for peace that address the recurring impacts of past violence. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Perspectives on Justice When participants were asked what justice meant in their view, they came with a variety of responses. Below are some highlights: (CLICK once!). • Justice means addressing conflicts and their root causes and impacts in Uganda at all levels for peace, unity and development • The personality and integrity of leaders in power and positions of responsibility were considered indispensable in ensuring justice prevails given their position, power and authority • Justice also means impartiality of judges/magistrates in courts and fair judgements, dialogue between the government and opposition, youth employment, equal distribution of resources, addressing corruption, consulting local people, compensating war victims adequately, transparency, equal treatment of people, trustworthiness, freedom, being a democratic leader, not allowing leaders who rig elections to contest them again and availability of accessible services for the citizens • The majority of the participants acknowledge that some attempts have been made for justice to prevail in Uganda but they strongly believe that justice has not yet been rendered to the different stakeholders of conflicts in the country • Judges and magistrates have been accepting bribes from culprits, constituting a denial of justice for the victims. The victims feel hurt and angry when they see culprits caught red-handed who are then released after a day or two. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Perspectives on Justice (cont.) (CLICK once!). • Many war veterans and people affected by conflicts, especially the NRA Bush War, have not been compensated by the President and the Government. The claimants have formed associations such as the Nabbale Veteran Association. • The failure to compensate has been attributed to corrupt government officials and a failure by the President and other concerned top officials to monitor the implementation of such programmes • The majority of the perpetrators have not been held accountable for their past actions, yet the victims are still living with haunting memories. Participants felt that the incumbent Government has an obligation to ensure justice is rendered to the different stakeholders. • The participants acknowledged some attempts have been made by Government and President Museveni to compensate some individuals and families that suffered during Museveni’s Bush War, such as giving scholarships to some war orphans, compensating families of the Mukura train wagon victims and initiating recovery programmes in northern Uganda and the Rwenzori area. This compensation however has been selective and based on the good will of the President/Government. • The youths revealed that one of the major justices that needs to be done today is addressing national issues: ‘the Government should do what people are demonstrating for or demanding. For example, if they are demonstrating against overstay in power of President Museveni, then he should step aside’. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Transitional Justice Mechanisms Amnesty Reparation • Reparations are ideal for helping the grieving communities cope with the losses incurred and work towards living positively with the memory of the these losses • It was felt reparations should be based on a thorough investigation and examination of harm and the reparations should be proportional to the harms suffered • A standard measure needs to be designed for compensation and existing structures such as Local Councils should be used in the process. There also needs to be a thorough evaluation of damages caused and resources should be decentralised and channelled regionally. • Reparations should not be directed to individual victims and families but also to the entire affected community • There is need to construct vocational schools for war orphans, provide special medical programmes for rape victims, sensitise the victims on reparations, provide start-up capital for the victims and construct churches and homes for the victims • The majority of the participants appreciated amnesty and recommended non-selective amnesty to those who denounce rebellion and those who are willing to repent for the sake of peace • Whereas some participants condemned amnesty as condoning impunity, the majority of them mentioned the contributions of amnesty in bringing rebels and the Government to the negotiating table, in motivating rebels to come out of captivity and in offering opportunities for reintegrating rebels, either into the community or the national army • Prior to granting amnesty, the community should be consulted and given a stake in the decision making process. Applicants for amnesty should be thoroughly assessed and granted protection by the state from the victims. • While not disputing the contribution of amnesty to ending rebellion in Uganda, some participants feel that the gravity of acts/atrocities committed and whether or not they were forced into rebellion should be considered before amnesty is granted Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Transitional Justice Mechanisms • Due to issues surrounding protection, collective truth-telling was considered the best approach as it does not expose perpetrators to dangers such as revenge or mob justice by victims and the Government • Participants found that truth-telling is an important avenue for understanding and addressing consequences of past human rights violations and other injustices in Uganda and to foster reconciliation and revive a feeling of harmony in the country • All stakeholders to conflicts should be subjected to truth-telling and be held accountable • The process, timing and motive of truth-telling needs to be clear otherwise truth-telling can be a risky life-threatening activity due to the emotions it can invoke, especially in individuals and families of the victims • Acceptable truth-telling can be done in writing and through round-table dialogue, while taking into consideration confidentiality • The majority of the participants viewed prosecution as an important mechanism for dealing with human rights violations. However, they also had overwhelming concerns about the manner in which it is being conducted in Uganda. • The participants said that the conflicts Uganda experienced were characterised by grave human rights violations. Perpetrators have not, however, been held to account through prosecutions and the victims are not happy seeing perpetrators walking free. • The majority of the participants feel that the perpetrators of violence should be prosecuted but their worry is that the current justice process has been vulnerable and subject to political interference, corruption, bribery and unjust remand processes • The participants felt that those who committed grave human rights violations, like rebel leaders who cannot be offered amnesty, should be prosecuted to discourage others, while their followers should be granted amnesty • The majority of magistrates are men. More women should be offered employment in justice institutions since they are more trusted and impartial. Prosecution Truth-telling Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Transitional Justice Mechanisms • Reconciliation was considered a viable and useful mechanism for peace-building and national unity • Reconciliation is needed in Uganda due to the vast number of conflicts that have plagued the country. Participants discussed and recommended using, in the quest for reconciliation, numerous avenues and platforms that included the use of cultural leaders and mediators/third parties, such as religious leaders, in the reconciliation process. • The process of reconciliation matters enormously, therefore there is need for psychological support to the affected parties and the involvement of conflicting parties in the process. Structures such as reconciliation teams need to be built. • Some ideas for reconciliation include: apologies from the perpetrators/their families, compensation for losses, acceptance of wrongs committed, the asking for forgiveness and contributions towards expenses such as burials and the returning of available stolen/looted properties. • Psychosocial support is indispensable in aiding healing processes after violence • Participants described huge psychological, medical and social problems emanating from harms suffered and the experiences of violence in Uganda. A man in Nkwanga had a nail with armour implanted in his head by rebels in the 1980s and he now suffers severe mental incapacitation. • Many victims of the past Luwero war are still being haunted by memories of the war and the psychological, social and economic consequences • There are no available and accessible services for those suffering from psycho-social issues • There is a need to investigate, register and treat those with mental dysfunctions. There should be special hospitals to support the victims, religious leaders should pray for them, victims should be offered social and counselling support and their basic needs should be met. • Participants also revealed an increase in drug abuse by youths as a major reason why they commit violence, robbery and theft. They would benefit from psychosocial support. Reconciliation Accountability Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Transitional Justice Mechanisms • The participants treasured their traditional justice institutions but also revealed that governments have done a lot to weaken the institutions in Uganda through politics • The Buganda Kingdom has traditional institutions that enforce traditional justice, headed by the Kabaka • Participants attached a strong importance to the Kingdom and revealed how resourceful the institution has been in addressing conflicts and pushing for development in the area • Much as the NRM Government reinstituted the traditional institutions, it should not politically interfere with the Kingdom’s activities • The Kingdom was credited with involving itself in dialogue/peace talks with the central Government to ensure harmony prevails between the Buganda Kingdom and the central Government • The Buganda Kingdom is reviving its structures at all levels and has been heavily involved in peace building within the Kingdom. It has allowed the Buganda Land Board to handle land grievances/cases, encouraged the Baganda to invest in agriculture for food self-sufficiency and food security, carried out regular visits and sensitisation within the Kingdom, launched community development projects and revived traditional courts to administer justice. • Participants appreciated the revival of the traditional courts because they were liked for their openness, trustworthiness, truthfulness, lack of corruption and the giving of realistic punishments, unlike formal courts • Memorialisation was viewed as a healing mechanism relevant for supporting positive living in dealing with the violent past murders and massacres • The people who perished during the wars in Uganda need to be remembered. This could occur through the construction of memorial sites like those built for the Rwandan genocide, the organisation of memorial prayers in affected communities to commemorate the fallen victims and the organisation of annual memorial lectures like the one organised for the late former Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Governor Joseph Mubiru, who was allegedly killed by Amin. Memorial schools, hospitals and roads should also be constructed in the victims’ names. • There is a need for the truths and facts to come out about the number of people who died. Structures should be built for the orphans and widows left behind. The reasons behind why the violence was perpetrated should also be investigated. • Films and documentaries on past experiences and regime changes should be produced and screened to enlighten the citizens about the past and offer them avenues to learn and prevent similar acts from happening again. Projects and programmes such as loan schemes should also be designed and implemented to support victims, orphans, and widows. • Participants found that there is negative memorialisation taking place in Uganda that impedes healing and reconciliation processes. Some of these are negative talks about the deceased, poor maintenance of memorial sites like the Namugongo shrines, the memory of people who disappeared under mysterious circumstances and who were never confirmed alive or dead, the display of skulls of Luwero victims along the roadside and investors grading and exhuming mass graves Memorialization Traditional Justice Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Messages to Leaders/Institutions • To President Museveni: • Deal with the corrupt officials and punish them severely, for they have tarnished the name of your Government because of corruption • Talk with the opposition to seek their opinion, talk peace and reconcile with them once and for all to avoid too many riots. If that proves hard, look for a mediator. • Get out of power so that other people can lead, maybe the situation will change for the better. There is a saying that “even the best dancer leaves the stage”. • Thanks for the free education initiative, but reduce tuition fees at university level. Most of the parents are poor and therefore cannot afford the current rate of tuition. • Pay the retired people and compensate veterans so that in 2016 when you come, you do not find problems • Thanks for returning the properties of the Buganda Kingdom, I request you to return the remaining land back to Buganda • Restore presidential term limits, and also initiate parliamentary term limits to give the impression to those in the bush and the opposition that at one time they may also lead this country • Dialogue with Besigye and find ways to address current conflicts between you since you are the major actors in the current conflicts. Reconcile and forget the past. To Besigye • Find a way to meet the President such that you can resolve your differences. People are tired of what you are doing. To IGP Kale Kayihura • Well done in controlling rioters but our children from villages suffer innocently while in Kampala on riot days when they are not taking part. I therefore encourage serious scrutiny of the culprits. To Moses Ali • Thanks for denouncing rebellion and I urge other rebels in the north and Uganda in general to denounce rebellion and join the Government To Musisi Jennifer • Stop mistreating people in the city. Let people have freedom and enjoy living in their city. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Messages to Leaders/Institutions (Cont.) To Woman MP Hon. Peace Kasira • Come and consult the people who voted for you and constitute a committee at village and parish levels for easy mobilisation To Government • Increase salaries of civil servants. They are meagre, which is why they are tempted to be corrupt to address gaps in their livelihoods. To the LC V Chairperson of Mukono, Lukooya Mukome • You promised to improve on health service delivery, roads in the districts and a technical school. Work upon fulfilling these promises. To the Opposition • You are doing a great job to keep the Government in check but do it peacefully to allow the government to continue with the good work To civil servants • Stop tarnishing the name of Government and the President by delivering poor services Do your jobs right. To the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Mukono • Protect us from the rampant cattle theft in the district. If you cannot, forward the matter to the President to help us. To the 9th Parliament • Reinstate presidential term limits • Please intensify the fight against corruption. So far so good, but let the struggle continue. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Recommendations (CLICK once!). • Government should investigate and address the reasons why there are re-current demonstrations and strikes in Uganda • The police should find alternative ways of quelling demonstration other than with tear gas and guns • There should be a peaceful handover of power just like it is done by religious leaders who serve for specified periods of time and retire • The curriculum should be designed to develop job makers rather than seekers to address the daunting youth unemployment in Uganda • Protestors should use non-violent ways, such as hunger strikes and boycotts of lectures by students • Beneficiaries from amnesty should be granted adequate protection by the state from victims and even the state itself • The affected community should be consulted and given the privilege of vetting who should and should not benefit from amnesty • The state should not interfere with the operation of traditional institutions such as the Buganda Kingdom but instead should strengthen them to complement one another • There is a need to conduct regular research and assessment of psychosocial situations in war-affected communities and enrol sufferers in rehabilitation programmes • There is a need to construct rehabilitation facilities in conflict-affected communities to address mental health issues caused by conflicts Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Acknowledgements (CLICK once!). Refugee Law Project (RLP), School of Law, Makerere University is very grateful for the contributions made by different individuals and organisations during the National Reconciliation & Transitional Justice Audit research in Mukono District. First, sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the following Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and institutions for their representation and active participation in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in Mukono town: NGO Forum-Mukono, Peace Initiative and Rights Agency (PIRA), World Vision, African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child abuse and Neglect-Uganda Chapter (ANPPCAN), Child Care and Youth Employment Foundation (CCAYEF), BukaddeMagezi Foundation-Mukono, Vision for Integrated Development-Uganda (VIDU), Juvenile Welfare Services (JWS) and Uganda Christian University Mukono. Second, we would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the Mukono District Authority and Local Government for granting us permission to conduct the study in the district as well as their active participation in the FGD with Civil Society and Local Government. Further, appreciation goes to Ssali Gertrude for her excellent interpretation during FGDs in Nabbale Sub-County, Mukono. Above all, we express sincere appreciation to all our FGD and KII participants in Nabbale Sub-County and Mukono Town for offering us their valuable time and to the Swedish International Development Agency and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing financial support for this research. The research team comprised of Wamimbi Jimmy, Hope ZainabNatukunda, Veve Richard, OpinyShaffic and OkotBenardKasozi as the team leader. This Field Brief was written by OkotBenardKasozi with valuable input from Annelieke van de Wiel and Kari Griffiths, all of the RLP.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Presentation prepared by OpinyShaffic, with inputs and edits from Dr. Chris Dolan, Annelieke van de Wiel and Moses Alfred Nsubuga.
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Acknowledgements for pictures & maps Websites • http://box765.bluehost.com/suspended.page/disabled.cgi/weinformers.net • http://www.ugandapicks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/President-Museveni.jpg • http://redpepper.co.ug/welcome/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/IGP-kale-kayihura.jpg • http://www.nbs.ug/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/4gc-285x280.jpg • http://www.weinformers.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Moses-Ali.jpg • http://www.bukedde.co.ug/bukedde_cms/gall_content/2012/6/2012_6$largeimg222_Jun_2012_111756503.jpg • http://www.newvision.co.ug/newvision_cms/gall_content/2012/5/2012_5$largeimg230_May_2012_103915837.jpg • http://semuwemba.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/museveni.png • gpulse.com/images/articles/daily/20060406_105_447.jpg • http://4.bp.blogspot.com/nRloYlnwB4s/TdgGbOpkVuI/AAAAAAAAAtE/sUcN71FcDzI/s1600/Kampala%252C+May+12%252C+2011%252C+Bwette.10.jpg • http://www.galgalanews.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012
BRIEF 10 of 18: Mukono District NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Watch this space for Brief 11: KaseseDistrict