Northern Uganda must reject renewed calls for war in the area, which greatly needs government support to transform, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, has said.
“The people of Northern Uganda have suffered from war; those talking about war are absolutely sick and must be told in their faces,” said Hon. Oulanyah.
The Deputy Speaker was speaking at the Northern Uganda Forum held during the Uganda North American Association Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, Sunday.
The Lord’s Resistance Army under rebel leader Joseph Kony ravaged Northern Uganda from the late 1980s, setting back development and progress for over a decade.
The rebels, following failed attempts of negotiations and a peaceful end to the conflict were eventually pushed out of Northern Uganda and are currently in the Central African Republic where they continue to cause mayhem pursued by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
“What we need is support, which government has sourced from development partners,” said Oulanyah, and without mentioning anyone, adding that “Our major problem is attitude of some of the players who are calling for war in Northern Uganda. These we must resent them with all the sneer on our faces.”
He said that the story of Northern Uganda is one of hope, which must be restored and that the region must first work on prejudice before trying to do its own public relations.
Oulanyah said that the shadows of conflict had hidden a lot of issues including land conflicts, which must be addressed, now that the war is over.
He appealed to Ugandans in the diaspora not to simply look on, but to assist Northern Uganda regain its lost glory.
The former Chair of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Hon. Felix Okot Ogong (NRM, Dokolo), appealed to the people of Northern Uganda to look at the future and take up the available opportunities in order to transform the region.
He said that with the government support and political will, the region must now focus on manufacturing, services and entertainment for development as people move from agriculture, which is affected by unpredictable weather changes.
The Minister of Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, highlighted governments programmes intended to transform and develop Northern Uganda.
She said government had launched PRDP 3 and NUSAF 3 2016 – 2021 intended to focus on household income enhancement and livelihood improvement as a drive towards a middle income economy.
“Both programmes have addressed problems at the low level and created organised groups at the middle level, hence the need for cooperatives to organize and empower people to produce more,” she said.