On 17th of August 2016, Key Kasese District leaders converged at Virina Gardens, Kasese Municipality to analyze conflicts and Human Rights violations occurring in the District and agree on interventions aimed at reaching a sustainable solution to the development challenges. Key leaders like LCV Chairperson, Resident District commissioner, District internal security officer, Regional Police commander, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders( representing Bakonzo, Banyabindi and Basongora ethnic groups), sub county Chairpersons and their District councilors from sub counties of; L.Katwe,Kitswamba,Karusandara, Munkunyu and Katwe Kabatoro Town Council, and other influential stakeholders including Media, representatives of other CSOs like NAYODE, KADNET among others physically and through delegation turned up to discuss way forward for a peaceful Kasese. Good Hope Foundation for Rural Development(GHFRD) facilitated the District Meeting under the project Titled; Community action to prevent and manage conflicts and Human Rights violations in Rwenzori region, funded by EU through HIVOS and RWECO. A total of thirty five (35) influential District leaders attended and participated.
|Hon.Muthanaba Patrick, highlighting state of peace in Kasese District,Hinting on proposed District split as potential conflict trigger|
During high informed discussions, the following issues were raised;
- Leaders in Kasese District incite violence through their non conflict sensitive languages
- Conflicts in Kasese have relationship with politics. Some Politicians feel a conflicting Kasese is fertile for Political self centered or party maneuvers than when it is peaceful.
- Land conflicts in Kasese are fueled by land grabbers who are well positioned in the leadership of both central and local government and engage local people for their self interests.
- Failure to implement court rulings, concerning land cases also triggers land conflicts in the District.
- There is a lot of Hypocrisy among Kasese Leaders who pretend to be serving their people where as they are working towards fulfilling agendas of other influential external people.
- Most politicians lack leadership skills and generally have limited knowledge about conflicts prevention, management and Human Rights violation prevention.
- The different ethnic groups in Kasese are accommodative of each other but only incited into violence by bad politics.
- There are several lacunars in the cultural institutions law, which have been used by different ethnic groups to seek for cultural institutions in what ever way they wish hence triggering conflicts.
- The approach of community influenced action is the best one if concentration is really made on local people in empowering them to determine their civically well informed destiny. People should be skilled to be in control of their leaders, not being miss-guided by leaders for self interests.
|Participants raising pertinent issues about conflicts and Human Rights violations in Kasese District|
The above issues guided participants to agree on the following resolutions/way forward as interventions that will lead to a peaceful Kasese;
- Training local Leaders especially Politicians in Conflicts prevention and management as well as conflict sensitivity during public actions.
- All religious leaders should be brought on board and know their roles as far as conflict prevention and management is concerned.
- GHFRD should increase the number of sub counties in their area of operation, if possible because so many people need to be involved in Prevention and management of public conflicts.
- Civic education on electoral processes should be conducted in order to avoid violent History repeating itself in future especially within Kasese.
- Mapping other potential NGOs working in the District on Peace related projects and teaming up to avoid duplication of work, but rather maximize impact.
The Meeting ended with remarks by the regional Community liaison officer, ASP Sunday B from East Rwenzori regional Police head quarters, emphasizing on community policing as a way of reducing conflicts, and announced that the government is in the process of creating a monitoring mechanism for activities of politicians within their communities with an aim of early identification of political actions that could trigger conflicts in communities. He communicated that according to their investigations, conflicts in Rwenzori are being fueled by some Politicians and influential civil servants with self interests and promised to work with any stakeholder to ensure a peaceful Rwenzori and Kasese District in Particular.