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Minister warns Rwenzori region against belief in superstition

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Added 2nd February 2017 08:27 AM

The minister of public service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa made the warning while addressing religious and political leaders, cultural institutions representatives, youths and other groups at the launch of the Rwenzori Peace Campaign held at Hotel Africana in Kampala

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The minister of public service Muruli Mukasa addressing groups from the Rwenzori region at the launch of the Rwenzori Peace campaign at Hotel Africana in kampala

The minister of public service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa made the warning while addressing religious and political leaders, cultural institutions representatives, youths and other groups at the launch of the Rwenzori Peace Campaign held at Hotel Africana in Kampala

People in the Rwenzori region have been warned against continued belief in superstition and choosing radical approaches to advance their demands, which had caused unending tension, violence and deaths in the area.

The minister of public service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa made the warning while addressing religious and political leaders, cultural institutions representatives, youths and other groups at the launch of the Rwenzori Peace Campaign held at Hotel Africana in Kampala

According to the minister, belief in superstition had caused the death of many royal guards during the recent clashes with the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), which culminated into the arrest of the Omusinga, Charles Mumbere and several other people.

Representatives from cultural institutions including Buganda, Toro, Obusinga, Obudingiya and other places attended the function including a group of youths from the Republic of South Sudan.

 eligious and cultural institutions representatives from wenzori region fly off doves as a sign of peace in the area Religious and cultural institutions representatives from Rwenzori region fly off doves as a sign of peace in the area.

 

At the function, the Global Peace Foundation country director, Milton Kambula handed over white doves to religious and cultural leaders and performed the act of flying them off as a sign of ushering peace in the Rwenzori region.  

The minister said that superstition partly caused the conflict when royalists believed that they would use charms and magic against the gun bullets and refused to take orders from UPDF.

He said fallacies were dangerous and must be avoided because they affect people’s reasoning to down play the power of technology. 

“Such beliefs have been tried before by former rebel Alice Lakwena, during the Mai Mai and Majji-Majji rebellions with bad consequences,” he explained.

He said the cycle of violence in the region for years had resulted negatively on development in the region yet the government did not wish to leave any area behind in the target to achieve the Vision 2040, where Uganda aims to achieve a middle-income status.

“We can’t afford to have violence and senseless deaths, because even death of one person makes us grief,” he stressed. 

He said people should avoid radical ideas that look attractive but dangerous and warned them against pursuing the creation of the ‘Bayiira State’, which he said would lead to self-destruction.

“The idea of a new state is out of question. The quest to unite Bakonjo in the DR Congo, Angola, Tanzania and Uganda under one nation must abandoned because none of those states can allow the alteration of the boundaries as drawn during the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 and confirmed at independence,” he explained.

He instead advised the people to opt for alternative means of sharing culture and other values that unite them wherever they may be. Muruli Mukasa also warned the Bakonjo against attempts to fight the existence of tourist sites in the area including National Parks for religious and economic reasons.

“You cannot fight poverty through rising against a National Park or tourism, let religious and cultural leaders help people find other means of survival,” he explained.He urged everyone to individually and collectively become part of the peace campaign and pass over messages of love, patriotism and harmony.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP and UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda, Rosa Malango attended the function and handed over souvenirs to representatives of key groups that were identified in rallying people to embrace peace in the region.

She advocated for strong partnerships in forging for peace in the Rwenzori region including government, civil society, private, cultural and religious institutions, which she said must have shared visions.

“We must come together to implement recommendations that have already been drawn and embrace people-to people reconciliations and dialogues as well as strengthen conflict resolution initiatives,” she said.

She asked for cooperation between people and security agencies through community policing and improve resilience to shocks and pledged that the UNDP will continue to support peace initiatives. She declared 2017 a year of transformation in the region.

Richard Businge, country director of International Alert appealed to government to explore peaceful resolutions and investigate the re-emergency of opportunists who want to benefit from the continued confusion.

He advocated for a change of approach and to adopt the approach of bottom-to top, where members of the respective communities are given priority and involved in finding lasting solutions to the conflict in the area.     

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