Prossy Acayo laying a tile with her name engraved on it
It was yet another day of tears as returnees of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) reflected on the hard times they went through at Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi traditional institution in Bardege division, Gulu municipality.
This was during the peace path prayer organised by Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice where the survivors laid tiles that had their names or the names of those still missing engraved on them.
Judith Acana, the Women’s Initiative programme officer said peace path was started five years ago from The Hague and it is used in the rehabilitation of those who lost their dear ones or went through horrific experiences.
Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi dance group entertaining guests during the peace prayer
Acana added that having consulted with affected women at the grass root, they have pointed out that the guns going silent does not mean existence of peace in the homes.
“Some victims say they were better off in the bush than at home,” Acana told cultural and political leaders during the event that was held on Saturday.
She added that such a situation creates a lot of challenges faced by women who have come back to their homes in terms of access to peace.
Under the Wamare Women’s Initiative, selected women are subjected to two weeks training on the different aspects of life that are done through guidance and counseling.
After the training, peace path is initiated to symbolise total forgiveness. It is supposed to be embraced by all survivors from Acholi, Lango, eastern and West Nile sub-regions to cover the entire greater north.
Johnny Ben Okello, the councillor for for Bardege called for close collaboration with psychosocial providing institutions such as Gulu University to reach out to many people who are still traumatised by the effects of war.
He noted that the process of providing counselling should not stop in towns, but rather up to the homes in villages so that people can start having a positive mind embrace development.
Emmanuel Lagedo, the deputy prime minister said the Acholi culture recognises the rights of all people including women and children.
Lagedo said what happened during the war where women were abused was uncultured and it was carried out by people with selfish aims.
“Our culture teaches so much the, spirit of unity and if someone makes a mistake should be forgiven,” he added.