By Bonney Odongo and Joseph Ekol Ekol
Tears of repentance flowed endlessly and hearts remained filled with forgiving thoughts as hundreds of Langi and other fellow countrymen Friday concluded three days of prayers for repentance, forgiveness and thanksgiving.
Held at the Mayor’s Gardens in Lira starting Wednesday through to Friday, the prayers dubbed Lango Convocation ended with the extension of forgiveness to the LRA leader, Joseph Kony by the Lango Paramount Chief, Yosam Odur.
Odur said he has forgiven the rebel leader for his campaign of rape, abductions, conscripting young children into rebel ranks and killing of the people of Lango.
He also pledged to give Kony part of his land where he can come and settle if he could embrace peace by ending his war and crimes against humanity.
Kony was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005 but has evaded capture.
He was forced out of Uganda in 2006 after 20 years of war in northern Uganda during which hundreds of people were killed, orphaned and displaced.
His group, once reported to be crumbling in strength, is believed to be now operating in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or Central African Republic (CAR) or South Sudan.
Chief Yosam Odur addresses cultural leaders recently at the Cultural Centre in Lira. PHOTO/Bonney Odongo
“The people of Lango and Acholi are well known for our forgiving nature and struggle for peace in the country but [we] were disorganized by the LRA war that targeted innocent people,” said Chief Odur.
“Now am calling upon Joseph Kony to stop fighting and am even ready to offer him land for settlement.”
The prayers that saw Odur forgive Kony were organized by Lango religious leaders to give people of Lango and other tribes in Uganda time to repent to God for the wrongs committed by the country’s forefathers since independence.
Hundreds of Christians, cultural leaders and politician from around the country attended the three days of prayer.
The gathering also provided an opportunity for intertribal forgiveness for past mistakes under previous regimes.