By Pascal Kwesiga
An International peace building organization has backed calls from some politicians to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for northern Uganda to promote “healing” among the population.
Andrew Byaruhanga, an official in charge of Oil and Gas at International Alert, said there are stories that the people who bore the brunt of the over two decades of Lord Resistance Army insurgency in the northern region, have never been told, which can be brought to light by the commission.
“Without a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we are not heading anywhere. There are stories that the people want to tell and this is very important for psychosocial healing process,” he added.
Byaruhanga was discussing a paper on the youth perceptions of economic opportunities in northern Uganda at Uganda Christian University on Friday.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he noted, would go a long way in changing the negative perceptions and perceived injustices against the people of the northern region.
“We have a whole generation that has grown up in camps and if the problems they are facing are passed on to the next generation, we shall never have a unified Uganda,” he added.
The organization’s officials presented research findings showing the level of unemployment, formal training and economic opportunities for the people in the region.
Rev. Canon Dr. Uzziah Maate, the head of the department of development studies at the University, criticized government officials who have repeatedly said in public that NRM cadres ought to be considered first when public allocating jobs.
“This is wrong because my political leaning has nothing to do with my job. I also have a right to a job in the public sector,” he added.
Maate blamed the failure of government projects like NAADs to a policy by government to have them implemented outside the mainstream local government structures.
Bernard Atuhaire, a senior research and communications officer at International Alert, asked government to treat the youth of northern Uganda uniquely in the national youth policy that is currently under review by cabinet.