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ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF GULU
PEACE DAYS – ADJUMANI:
JANUARY 3RD & 4, 2006
(Click here for the program)
Press release – for use anytime December 22, 2005
The Archdiocese of Gulu is organizing Peace Days that will take place from January 3rd to 4th 2006 in Adjumani. All the three bishops in the Province: Frederick Drandua (Arua), Martin Luluga (Nebbi), Joseph Franzelli (Lira) together with the Archbishop John Baptist Odama will be present. Besides the Province of Gulu, other three Ecclesiatical Provinces, i.e Tororo (Eastern), Kampala (Central) and Mbarara (Western) will come with their groups as a move towards national reconciliation and unity of the Church and Country. The guest of honour will be Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala.
The celebration will also have a significant cross-boarder connection considering the Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) factors in the peace and security of Uganda. From the latter we have invited Mahagi diocese, while from the former we have invited the dioceses of Yei and Torit, and the Archdiocese of Juba in Southern Sudan to participate.
The Purpose of the celebration is to initiate a process of healing of memories and reconciliation for the people and communities in the province, thus contributing to national reconciliation. The objectives include:
The lead agent organising the event is the Justice and Peace Commissions (JPC) of Gulu Archdiocese. In 2001, the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Ecclesiastical Province of Gulu started closer cooperation in order to address the issues of Justice, Human Rights, and Peace within the province, which covers the sub-regions of Lango, Acholi and West Nile.
In their meeting held in Ediofe, Arua in June 2005, the Provincial Justice and Peace Commissions resolved and agreed on celebrating the Annual World Day of Peace, at Provincial level – thus the Provincial Peace Days. Accordingly they chose Arua diocese to host this inaugural event. The venue for the celebration will be Adjumani.
Why Adjumani? Adjumani district, much as it is adversely affected by the violence caused by the so-called Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, has got very little attention compared to other areas within the Province. Hosting Peace Days celebration in Adjumani will not only be solidarity with and to the people of Adjumani but also put her on spot for Uganda as a country, and the world to come to terms with the magnitude of the LRA war in the region.
There is a long history and cycle of violence and revenge that has raged in the Province, which has broken relations and created a lot of mistrust among the common people. The cycle of violence and revenge began with the overthrow of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) government, commonly known as Obote 1. The blood coups in January 1971 as most people know, show Idi Amin Dada rallying the people of West Nile against the Acholi and Langi, perceived as pro-Obote. The former, especially starting with those in the army, which later spread, murdered several of the later.
In 1979, with support of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), comprising Uganda exiles, many of who were from Acholi and Lango overthrow Idi Amin Dada and his dictatorship. Most of the fighters, who were the victims and survivors of Idi Amin’s killer machinery came and went to West Nile with a spirit of revenge. The occasion came in 1981, when after the 1980 disputed elections purported won by UPC, rebellion broke out in West Nile. As a result, many people from West Nile were killed and driven into exile in the DRC and the Sudan.
These historical events are still haunting the people of the region. When the LRA started terrorising Lango and Acholi sub-regions, extending to the link of West Nile; Karuma-PakwAach road through Murchison Falls National Park, the sentiments were ignited – “You Acholi have started again” (referring to activities of the LRA perceived as an Acholi aggression).
The Peace Days therefore is an opportunity for the re-discovery to live in Love, Unity and Peace.
Programme Officer, Research, Documentation and Publication
Justice and Peace Commission of Gulu Archdiocese