We want peace - Kasese leaders

By John Thawite

The conflicts have also destroyed homes, gardens and displaced thousands of residents.

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Disgusted with endless conflicts in the Rwenzori sub-region, top religious and civil leaders in Kasese district have called for peaceful conflict resolution and pledged more prayer to end the impasse threatening the area.

They were speaking at a peace and dialogue meeting attended by various stakeholders at the Kasese Catholic Bishop’s hall in Kasese town.

The dialogue, intended to lay strategies to restore sanity in the district, was orgnaised by the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre and the Rwenzori Forum for Peace and Justice in conjunction with Peace and Justice Commission in the Catholic diocese of Kasese.

Recently, the sub-region has been a theatre of bloody clashes between security forces and the civilians in Kasese district and the Bamba and Bakonzo in Bundibugyo district since late February.

In the Kasese incidents, nine people have died while in the Bakonzo-Bamba conflicts, 30 people have died.

The conflicts have also destroyed homes, gardens and displaced thousands of residents.

The Catholic bishop, Aquirinus Kibira, warned that acting emotionally would cause more reprisal reactions and asked the residents to pray for peace.

“In this type of situation, there is no need to be emotional because reason flees when emotion sets in,” Kibira said.

He urged traditional, political and fellow religious leaders to stand firm and work together with central government to restore peace and added, “Let us pray for peace. And the Lord will give us peace.”

Bishop Jackson Thembo Nzerebende of the Anglican diocese of South Rwenzori, expressed concern at damaged image of the sub-region asking the residents to embracing the Holy Scriptures.

“Jesus came into the world  to restore the damaged relationship between human beings and God. Let us use these scriptures to repair our relations with one another,” Bishop Nzerebende urged.

Sheikh Swaib Musyenene appealed to the participants to always observe one another’s rights and freedoms starting at family level.

“In a democratic home, even children can make choices on the foods they want to eat or clothes to wear,” he said.

The Kasese district chairman-elect, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo, said the problems of the district are not tribal but how these conflicts are being handled.

Bigogo said there was a tendency by some district and central government personalities to favour some ethnic groups against others.