Friday, December 5, 2008

Luo music meets western fusion

Imagine the traditional "Lukeme" blending with a rock guitar. Someone actually turned that imagination into reality a long time ago. You should experience it.

For many years now, i have enjoyed the sounds of Geoffrey Oryema, a son of Acholi land who inspite of all the hardships he witnessed in his early life, has grown to exceptionally blend Luo music with western fusions in an awesome style. You can read more of this by following this link:

There is no doubt that Oryema is one of if not Uganda's best. While he has had little airplay on local Ugandan airwaves, he maintains a huge followership in Uganda. For starters, you have to listen or even watch him on You Tube, strumming his guitar and singing tunes like "Makambo", "Lapwony", "Africa calling", "Land of Anaka" it. The list is endless.

When you experience Oryema's music, you feel it run through not just your body but your soul as well. True to expectation, this is what happens when traditional luo music meets western fusion.

The sacking Jamwa serves up even more double standards in Uganda’s anti-corruption pretences

Uganda today, 4th December 2008, woke up to news that National Social Security Fund boss, David Jamwa Chandi is actually a casualty of the sack apparently on the orders of a certain Suruma, the Finance minister. In all fairness, Lwani applauds all anti-corruption drives and condemns all pretences in that regard. While it cost the country money to save an accomplice in the Temangalo-gate scandal, the powers that be have decided to sacrifice a pawn, moreover one who turned the fortunes of the fund around. It’s in moments like these that Uganda’s purported anti-corruption initiatives pass for pretences. While the tax payer continues to lose billions of shillings to primitive accumulation of wealth, the gurus in the corridors and dining tables of Kyadondo would rather have the little chicken get eaten by a fox than save it. This is just one in many high profile corruption cases where the top dogs are saved and puppies’ necks are ripped off. While Bakoko Bakoru, former minister of Gender and Social Development had to flee the country on the back of similar questionable transactions involving the workers' fund and Onegi Obel had a stint in Luzira prison, a security minister was forgiven and earlier on, a first brother was also forgiven. Selective forgiveness seems to be the order of the day but for only those at the core irrespective of the magnitude of crime. This is symptomatic of the proverbial struggle of desperate classes that has dogged the progress of this country. Don’t you think it would have been more prudent for all involved in the scandal to vacate office? Your response, if in the affirmative, is as good as mine.

Gulu City: Still a far fetched dream

Part of a "back-street" in Gulu town, Northern Uganda. Quantitative growth devoid of quality inevitably blurs Gulu's march to city status.

I was in Gulu this week and the feeling of being home after about 3 months was always going to be joyous. Apart from the congestion that greets you as you enter Cere Leno, there wasn’t so much change. The streets remained dusty, the awkward round about at the Caltex gas station still stood still like an elephant while the market still looked miserable, in dire need of a face lift. Now for starters, Gulu is one of the few so-called fastest growing towns in Uganda, clamoring for city status. It boasts airfield, an array of commercial banks, three huge hospitals, several NGOs, and of course several people. But on account of what I witnessed, I still ask myself; Is Gulu ready for city status? A few tiled houses and several even looking architectural design commercial buildings sprouting in and around a town dusting itself from the ravages of a two decade war are by all means commendable; however the destination-city status is still far fetched. A lot of qualitative work needs to be done. If only the quantitative growth can be matched by qualitative initiatives then Gulu’s march towards city status will be fast tracked.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Corruption in Uganda: The only dance that has stood the test of time

Today i again reiterate my notion of the struggles of the desparate in uganda and their contribution to fanning corruption. Often times, am left convinced that corruption remains functionally positive for the powers that be. Why? In a society with a ruling group that can do anything to strengthen their grip on power and peripheral group that badly wants to gate-crush into power, morality is hurled to the wind.....unfortunate! As a section of society was left shocked by President Museven's amnesty to the "Big fish" in the NSSF saga, a relatively smaller section was happy that some political god-fathers had been forgiven. On the other hand, some academics were so engrossed in arguing that corruption is a necessary evil as witnessed in its consonance with the history of humanity....Eve, Adam, Jesus' betrayal etc. What a society!
As legislation and institutions waiver at the breath of the "chief', donors under their more romantic title of development partners heap acclaim on the very "chief" for his comitment towards fighting corruption. Sad tale, isn't it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Silence in October

You must have noticed that the October 2008 was uncharacteristic of Lwani. However, there is no better time to bring an end to this loud silence than now, November 2008. With barely 6 weeks to bring the curtain down onto this eventful year, it will indeed be prudent to use our hindsight, insight and foresight to appraise this year. To break it down further, Lwani will for the next couple of weeks indulge into a ruthless appraisal of the year 2008.

Watch this space!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The NSSF saga..Keeping the tradition

Its not uncommon to hear the African adage...When you are eating, you are not supposed to talk and indeed when they were eating, there was no talking till Mwenda heard the chewing and swallowing and broke the news that the Monitor later on capitalised upon. True to tradition, Mr. Jamwa and accomplices did not talk till the eating was done.

The Moral of the story: Always keep your mouth either busy eating or talking but not both at a go. The choice is yours.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Corruption: The most established peagant on Uganda's "moral" contest

As records keep being made and broken in the battle of who the smartest corrupt civil servant is, Ugandans ought to look at the lighter side of this corruption pageant. Initially tales of corruption scandals took the ordinary Ugandan with shock, anger and bitterness but thanks to the dynamics of the day, surprise is no more. Ugandans have learnt not just to live with corruption but to envy the gurus of corruption as well. It is not uncommon to find Ugandans labelling corrupt people as “sharp” and those who are unable to outwit the system as “fala”. While all this labelling goes on, civil servants are locked in different races and various leagues trying to out-do eachother. In this contest, the size of the "loot" determines the "glory" at stake. Depending on which championship you win or lose, you will either become a "sharp" guy or a "falla."
What is the moral of this labelling? The optimism that Ugandans had two decades ago, regarding socio-economic progress has been dashed by the inherent inequalities of the system. The bulk of Ugandans are desperately poor, jobless and desperate, while the few are making strides at an alarming pace often bruising the toes of the less fortunate. The end result is an ever widening social divide which has left the underprivileged yearning for opportunities to “eat” as well. The end result....two desperate desperate to extend their dominance in eating and determining who takes what where and for how long and the other to get to the eating table.
When one visits the numerous bufundas where ordinary folks gather to wash away their stress and vent their frustrations, talk of Jamwa Chandi being a sharp young man and the Amamas tying to eat in order to catch up with their junior colleagues who have out-eaten them in earlier deals predominates. In the eyes of many ordinary Ugandans, corruption is a means to an end...a bus that can surely get one out of the path of the dreaded elephant...poverty. In anycase, not all that is immoral is bad after all, and corruption can be functionally positive in the eyes of many in the pearl of Africa.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Molokony....Uganda's ever trendy delicacy

A woman munches away at a hoof....restaurants that want to survive in bizness should add this delicacy to their menu.
One of the fondest memories of nutrition and my childhood is molokony...cow hooves for that matter. Once upon a time my siblings and i visited an aunt and she presented us with a huge chunk of meat, armed us with knives and welcomed us for lunch. It turns out that this was my inception into eating molokony. Recently i got a nostalgic feeling when i was at Transit Bar...opposite UMA show grounds in Kampala. Patrons and gurus were biting molokony and sipping soup with the traditional sound that characterises a child eating porriedge. Of course, boiled cassava was handy. A colleague of mine affirmed that this was a major attraction to the venue.

However, i also noticed that the misses and mistresses were shunning the cow hooves and opting for "Daudi Muteweta"....roasted swine caracases. In my heart i was like ...Happy are the ignorant for they do not know what they are missing.

Little do these misses and mistresses know that molokony is rich food especially for people suffering from the bone conditions of osteomalacia and osteoporosis and highly recommended for people with gout.

Osteomalacia is a disease occurring mostly in adult women that results from a deficiency in vitamin D or calcium and is characterised by a softening of the bones with accompanying pain and weakness while osteoporosis which literally means “porous bones”, occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content, particularly calcium.
In the case of osteoporosis, with time, bone mass and thus bone strength is decreased, resulting into bones becoming fragile and easy to break.

Most cases of osteoporosis occur as an acceleration of the normal aging process- referred to as primary osteoporosis. Thus, the aging group could potentially benefit from the delicacy.

So folks, please let them know about MOLOKONY..the real deal!

Of Kampala's much-sought-after buses

By now Kampalans who have passed by the constitutional square, especially at rush hours, must have noticed the lengthy fat queues awaiting entry into the "pioneer easy bus" buses.......while the taxi conductors jealously look on. It is clear there is a huge demand for these services majorly because of the lower charges in contrast with taxis. This leaves me wondering why more buses are not brought in. Imagine, when i move by these buses from town to Mutungo, i save 500 shillings as opposed to taxis. Am reliably informed that the savings of my folks from Gayaza actually doubles mine courtesy of these orange buses. Am yet to present graphical images of these queues, but for now...this is adequate for letting the powers that be, or their proxies know the urgency of these bus services. May we see more buses in the near future....Amen!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From the calm of the countryside to the hustle of Kampala

Accustomed to the relative calm and quiet of the countryside, only to be hit by the noise, dust and congestion in Kampala when i returned at the weekend. I must say "Kamunyes" or bread vans cum human vans donning blue and white stripes are one of Kampala's biggest tourist attractions or repellants, depending on which side of the debate you are on.
I always tell people who care to listen that the "Kamunye" industry is the biggest employer in Kampala with hundreds if not thousands of young men acting as drivers, conductors, stage monitors, taxi park sellers, ticket sellers and taxi guides to mention a few. But does Kampala need all these hundreds of taxis that only worsen the already nagging traffic jams and pollution? The other day, Ugandan journalist Timothy Kalyegira commented that if the smoke hovering over the olympic bird's nest in Beijing is what the west calls high levels of pollution then Kampala could possibly be declared a no-go zone. This summarizes the pollution levels in Kampala.
This time round, as i was travelling, fewer passengers risked eating "nyama choma" or roasted meat on the way maybe because of the fear of unsuspectingly eating dogs. As you may be aware, a couple of weeks ago, some Kampalans were nabbed slaughtering a dog and a few days later a local tabloid reported that hundreds of stray dogs in Kyambogo-a Kampala suburb had disappeared and it was feared that this meat is on sale to unsuspecting customers.
Otherwise, it was nice returning to Mutungo after a long time in Kitgum. They say East or West....Nyumbani ni bora....
Be blessed

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Northern Uganda: Away from hand-outs

For starters, rains are raging in most parts of northern Uganda and there is relative calm at the moment.
As the rains continue to rage in most parts of Northern Uganda, the natives are responding logically by getting down to business-tilling the land. Openning of large chunks of land remains a challenge due to heavy reliance on the hand hoe. Considering that the terrain is compartible with animal traction, local leaders and policy makers should devise means of advocating for and supporting animal traction so as to enhance bigger scale production and gradually reduce subsistence production.This is the right course if the region is to move away from hand-outs from NGOs. Hopefully WFP will be out of business by December.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monkey Sex

While humans have Have Chosen Codependence Over Independence & Trademarked it Love, Monkeys have taken love and satisfaction to another level. There are endless tales of humans so madly in love but devoid of sexual satisfaction. Our distant cousins..the monkeys...have on the other hand perfected the art of satisfaction derived from sex.

It seems male monkeys can’t orgasm unless the female they are mating with screams out his name, well I am only guessing it’s his name, the report stated that the females utter loud distinctive calls while fornicating which incites the males thrusting mechanism and results in ejaculation 59% of the time! Who knew there were scientists on the planet sitting around watching monkey sex and counting the number of thrusts? I don’t think I did want to know this, did you?

Hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha. Don't try this out in your bedroom.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Up.....Boys Just Wanna Have Fun

Can you attempt adding a caption to this picture? My guess may just be as good as yours. Whoever he is, i salute this young man for wearing a gallant smile while moving his body to the rythm of music. An old man told me last nite that whereas in their times dancing was done with such dignity, gentility and precision, the current generation does it with the roughness of climbing an anthill. Mr. Edu, were you en-route to an anthill? Over to you.

2008 Buganda crisis in perspective

For starters, its now 5 days since 3 Buganda Kingdom officials were arrested and detained by state for alledged terrorism amongst other crimes. The tabloids in Kampala today carried a statement from none other than afande Tinye, the army general who oversaw the infamous "operation north" in 1991 during whih period there was a media blackout in northern Uganda.

However, thats a story for another day.

Today Lwani puts the 2008 Buganda crisis in perspective. Flashback to 1966.....The issue of the 'lost counties' of Buyaga, Buwekula and Bugangaizi became a hot issue and a referendum was held in those counties, to resolve it.The Kabaka and the Lukiiko opposed this referendum and tried to organize a boycott against it but to no avail. This created tension between Obote and the Mengo establishment. Especially when the Kabaka refused to sign the instruments transferring the two counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, which opted to return to Bunyoro. Apparently the Kabaka had even gone ahead to mobilize an armed resistance against the UPC led government. Hell broke loose, Idi Amin led troops and attacked Lubiri, forcing the Kabaka to scamper for his life. In effect, a marraige of convinience, depicted in te photo below, came to a sad and infamous end. UPC appaently acted in favour of a republic and not a monarchy.

Fast forward to the future....2008 today, NRM-O in power, a general in state house, the Kabaka without 3 of his ministers whose where-abouts and wellbeing remain a matter of speculation. Inevitably the two centres of power, one national/superior and the other tribal/subordinate are at the cross roads. However, nobody knows what exactly went wrong. A marriage that has lasted over a decade and a half is in a balance. On July 31st 1993, Mutebi was crowned as Kabaka in a colourful ceremony, and in the eyes of many....the NRM had re-instated the Kabakaship.

Happier times followed with the Kabaka wedding lady Sylvia, and there was no doubt that all was well. The cultural institution was enjoying the affection of the national institution.

Today, a debate on land and the land ammendment act has become so passionate and tribal punctuated by accusations, counter accusations and suspicion whose end result is uncertainity. As the three Buganda ministers remain in detention, lets remember that the stick which is used to whip your co-wife will most lkely be the very stick that will be used to lash u. Could we be witnessing the 2008 Buganda crisis unfolding or even surpassing the much misunderstood and distorted 1966 Buganda crisis? I leave it to you to decipher.

Post-war reconstruction in northern Uganda: Has it taken off?

Guns have fallen silent in northern Uganda and as expected the need for the much-needed post-war reconstruction process surged to the fore. The ravages of this war are so far reaching that a concerted effort and sincere commitment towards reconstruction is the ultimate anti-dote. However, will the promise of this anti-dote usher in actual fulfillment? Talk of Northern Uganda entering a development phase-an evolution from emergency, has become the theme-song of humanitarian agencies, government and other development partners. IDPs are gradally treking back to their original homes away from the camps and hope is rife that sooner or later life will be back to normal. However with roads like the above in their current state, development partners have their work cut out.
However the reality on the ground seems far from the talk in NGO boardrooms and District council halls. While most of the villages to which the IDPs are returning are so remote that access to basic social ammenities like healthcare, education and water facilities is a toll order, the security in some of these places leaves alot to be desired. While public awareness tools like the above signpost warning against landmines are good, action needs to be taken in providing these returnees with protection from gangsters who remain a huge threat to the civillians. Social services like health have to be taken to the people and not just concentrated in under-staffed and ill-equipped health centres so far away from the masses. Mobile health services will come in handy and Village Health Teams should be evenly spread and adequately facilitated. Water facilities like springs and boreholes have to be constructed or protected. And of course psychosocial services are required to shape the mindset of the people who for two decades have witnessed the most horrific attrocities. Let monuments like the one of the 1995 Attiak massacre below, not reopen the wounds of suffering but rather inspire the masses to work harder in order to thrive and not just survive.
Development partners should not just engage in humanitarian marketing drives through bogus signposts and billboards, but rather work harder for greater impact on the lives on the masses. Some of the NGOs in northern Uganda and their employees are of very inferior quality and are literary masquareding as development partners and workers. Such agencies should either shape up or ship out. Agencies that work less towards impact and more towards process and vain routines have no place in the post war reconstruction efforts in Northern Uganda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Of Uganda's Loud-Mouthed Billionaires

Some of you must have heard about Gordon Wavamunno's net worth being declared at about 150 million dollars by none other than himself. Apparently the man wakes up undecided about which car to drive or which 10, 000 dollar suit to wear. I hear some of these billionaires houses are so huge that when Mr. Kaguta flies overhead, he mistakes them for vocational schools. How i wish the donors paid more attention to these tales of lavishness amidst spiralling poverty in this nation. How i wish some of these money bags gurus could donate 1/1000 of their dime for procuring mosquito nets for the multitudes of kids dying in the rural hells of this country. Who knows, some of these kids having been snatched from the fangs of death by the gurus would provide casual labour for them in future. Why casual labour? You may ask. But remember the education system is having its qualitative fibre devoured at breakneck speed by the powers that be. BEHOLD THE PEARL OF AFRICA!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ugandan Govt hospitals full of expired drugs

Its such a shame that several government hospitals, including Mulago, have huge stockpiles of expired drugs which could be dispensed to patients. In October 2007, Lwani brought to your attention the crisis in the health sector in Northern Uganda with the above picture being just a tip of the iceberg. In this picture, a section of several patients queue at a health Centre in Mucwini, Kitgum district, Northern Uganda all hoping to see the lone nursing assistant manning the health centre. In several cases their visits are futile because the nurse gets tired and goes away leaving these patients helpless. Today the Monitor newspaper reports that huge stockpiles of drugs have expired before reaching the multitudes of indisposed Ugandans. What a shame! Malinga and Zaramba should step up their monitoring and evaluation lest the Ugandan health sector is running closer to the dogs.


On a recent trip to northern Uganda, i was impressed by the semblace of co-existence between humans and apes...baboons. I this particular case a baboon majestically strolls past a lady at Karuma bridge.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wanted: No more of these images

With a resurgence of war hovering over Acholiland, we urge all pacifist to agitate for peace so that we do not witness such scenes. In the above picture, a man helps rescue a baby from the arms of a dead mother.

Assault on LRA rebels will be a disaster

The move by regional forces to strike Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army rebels in a bid to bring an end to the 22 year old northern insurgency may boomerang and could even worsen instability in a swathe of central Africa.
It is noteworthy that the prospects of a recourse to war have increased since the failure of talks to end two decades of conflict in April 2008, when guerrilla boss Joseph Kony left mediators waiting for days in a damp forest clearing in Nabanga and then failed to turn up.

The announcement last week by Paddy Ankunda and a re-affirmation by his boss President Kaguta Museveni that jointly with the DRC and GoSS, they would attack LRA left me dismayed. It should be too early to forget that the military option is also an uphill task, not just because the location of the LRA commanders remains unknown but there is no accurate knowledge of Kony’s strength, his preparedness and even the preparedness of the armies that want to go after him.

Northern Uganda currently has very insignificant numbers of UPDF as most of them have been moved to the Karamoja region and incase the LRA bounced back, they would sweep the returning population back to the camps and a new emergency would erupt.
Stories of the LRA over-running an SPLA outpost in Nabanga are still fresh and that is a sign that these rebels are up to the task: WAR
Certainly what the GoU failed to achieve in 20 years, I doubt if they can achieve it this time round.

The geo-political dynamics in Sudan pose a threat of the Khartoum establishment easily using the LRA to destabilize the GoSS. This should not be overlooked. Currently Uganda is not the country suffering the most direct impact of a war in its north that killed tens of thousands of people there and uprooted 2 million.The rebels have shifted beyond the country’s borders to one of the world’s most inaccessible areas, from where they have become another destabilising factor in a string of conflicts over a chunk of the continent rich in oil and minerals.For years the rebels operated from the Imatong Hills in southern Sudan, before moving into the forests of eastern Congo in 2005. They are dreaded by locals in both nations, emerging from their own long civil wars.
Recent LRA raids have added to fears for the stability of oil-producing south Sudan, where a 2005 peace deal with the northern government has looked increasingly shaky since north-south clashes last month over the Abyei region.This year, Kony’s fighters also attacked Central African Republic, edging closer to the Darfur theatre of conflict entangling the northern Sudanese army, Darfur rebels, Chad and guerrillas battling to topple the Chadian government.’OPTIONS NARROWING’
Hardened LRA fighters could certainly affect the balance of forces in other conflicts.
An offensive would likely fail, could result in heavy military casualties and would expose Congolese civilians in areas dominated by the rebels to retaliatory attacks.The last attempt to tackle the rebels in Congo ended in disaster in January 2006 when eight Guatemalan commandos were killed in a botched raid and gun battle with Kony’s forces.
As such war does not at all hold the key to peace in northern Uganda

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Uganda's Fate Hinges on the Enigmatic Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army

Northern Ugandans are hoping the rebel Lord's Resistance Army will soon sign a peace agreement with President Yoweri Museveni's government. Their hope is understandable. The LRA's 21-year insurgency and the Ugandan government's response have largely destroyed the region north of the Nile and south of Sudan. But resolving the conflict largely hinges on the enigmatic chairman of the LRA, Joseph Kony.He is the primary reason why the rebels have long been regarded as the most perplexing in sub-Saharan Africa.

Supposedly possessed of supernatural powers at a young age, the Holy Spirit told a 20-something Kony to fight President Yoweri Museveni's government. Followers say he received other spirits, including: Juma Oris, a cabinet minister who served in the late Idi Amin's government; a Sudanese woman named Silli Silindi; an American called King Bruce; and one known as Who Are You? The motivation most commonly attributed to the LRA was to overthrow the Kampala government and establish rule of law according to the Ten Commandments.Yet the rebels contradict that belief in divine law with their forced recruitment of children to fill their ranks and their reliance on extreme violence.

As Matthew Green recounts in his fine book, "The Wizard of the Nile," the Reuters news agency dutifully noted for years that the rebels "are reviled for cutting off their victims' ears and padlocking their lips." No surprise that a major in the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) told this writer in January 2005 that the war in the north should be easily resolved. At the time, the rebels barely mustered a public presence. Many Ugandans had already judged Kony a sociopathic menace and never crossed Karuma Falls bridge, the demarcation point between the south and the north.

Since then, the LRA has abandoned its base in southern Sudan and resettled in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is now perceived as a destabilizing force in East Africa and beyond, if current speculation about a move into the Central African Republic proves to be true.

Labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, the LRA's Kony and four commanders were indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The circumstances convinced the rebels to enter into peace talks a year later with Museveni's government. The two sides have reached the precipice of a deal, which would make rebels eligible for military, government and diplomatic posts, only to see Kony back away from it in April.Still, the negotiations allowed the LRA to recast itself, at least in rhetoric, into a movement motivated by nationalist grievance.

Notes purportedly written by a representative of Kony, forwarded to World Politics Review from an Acholi website, outline the reasons for suspending participation in the peace talks. These include everything from the LRA's lack of faith in Southern Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar as a neutral mediator to the Ugandan government's lack of seriousness about ICC "interference" in attempting to prosecute LRA leaders while excusing the other party. "I cannot sign an agreement when displaced people are still suffering in the camps. What peace agreement would that be? It was not the LRA that forced people into the camps. The government and its army did that," reads a passage credited to Kony.His complaint is not easily dismissed.

Museveni's government did usher northern Ugandans into displacement camps in 1996 to allow the UPDF to crush the LRA. Ten years later, between 1.6 million and 1.8 million people lived in the IDP camps, surviving on handouts from the World Food Programme, and the rebels remained a threat. As Green points out, this internment strategy created "giant incubators of disease, alienation and despair." A 2005 study by the World Health Organization documented 1,000 deaths per week, mostly from malaria, HIV/AIDS and violence. And yet, the statistic more commonly associated with Uganda is economic growth that has averaged more than 5 percent since 2000, which is largely restricted to the southGreen, the Financial Times' West Africa bureau chief, correctly understands Uganda's bifurcated nature as a product of its colonial and post-colonial history.

The British first recruited the Acholi into the military to cement a divide-and-rule policy that favored the Baganda, the largest ethnic group, for the civil service. After independence, the military abilities of the Acholi made them an influential minority, at turns oppressive and suppressed. Two Acholi officers led the 1985 coup that ended Milton Obote's second presidency, and their soldiers rioted in Kampala. Less than a year later, Museveni, who rebelled against Obote's disputed 1980 election victory, seized power and sent his soldiers north to impose control. Their execution of civilians and looting of goods and cattle is acutely felt by some Acholi today, and their original abuses provided the impetus for Kony's rebellion.What makes Green's book so valuable is that he demystifies the LRA. He reports that the upper ranks are populated with former military officers from the 1980s who understand military structure and strategy.

The rebels have organized themselves into five brigades with a central command known as the "control altar," and they possess sophisticated weapons such as anti-tank rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and landmines. Their violence, according to Green, is not random; villagers suspected of helping the UPDF are mutilated. Massacring civilians made it clear that they could never mobilize against the LRA because Museveni's government could never protect them.To his immense credit, Green confirms that some Acholi in the IDP camps collaborate with the rebels by buying boots and supplies for them. Some donate because they want to help their captive relatives or because they are given assurances that the LRA's goal is to overthrow Museveni. In parts of the Acholi diaspora, Kony is seen as he perceives himself to be -- as a liberator, a "genuine freedom fighter."

However, Green concludes that the LRA's persistence is less a testament to his leadership and more the symptom of a national malaise. "Museveni's failure was not his inability to kill one man, it was his failure to convince people north of the Nile that he cared."That cannot exculpate the LRA's violence and its cruelty to its Acholi kin and other ethnic groups in northern Uganda. Nor does Green explicitly indicate whether Kony can resolve himself to signing a peace deal. Green deserves praise for recognizing that journalists in sub-Saharan Africa also engage in myth-making and stereotypes of violence. "There was something irresistible about the idea of Kony as darkness personified in the heart of Africa, enslaving women, summoning spirits," Green writes. "Voodoo, harems, barbarism and magic -- he was every primitive cliché rolled into one."When that's removed, what remains is ample reason for skepticism about any peace agreement.

Kony has likely killed two of his deputies, and fellow indictees, over disagreements, which augurs poorly for potential moderates. If his forces are on the run, then they could prey on civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan or even the Central African Republic. Meanwhile, northern Uganda will not be helped by an agreement that is promoted out of political expediency by Museveni's government. If no one is sanctioned for violence, then impunity shall reign.

Uganda: Hasn't the 'Genocide' in the North Been a Fortune?

This artcle was written by a reknown political analyst-Sam Akaki, i know some of you could have read it but due to its thoroughness, i decided to reproduce it here. Ladies and Gentle men, read it.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few", British World War Two Prime Minister, Mr Winston Churchill, the one who named Uganda "The Pearl of Africa" once said.

Today, as Joseph Kony refuses to sign the long-awaited peace accord, Mr Churchill must be turning in his grave, agonising about northern Uganda, where he passed through on his way to the Sudan and Egypt, according to his 1908 book, 'My Africa Journey', which mentions one Jemisi Opoka, as a porter.

In his agony, Mr Churchill might paraphrase is famous statement and say, instead, "Never in the field of human conflict has so few benefited so much from the innocent blood of so many men, women and children".

From life-career warmongers who waged a self-serving wars in Luwero, the DR Congo, the Sudan and are now in Somalia - to the unemployed and unemployable who became instant peace negotiators; from international arms traders posing as diplomats, civil servants to small time local crooks - all have made fortunes, literally, from the 20-year-long genocide in northern Uganda.

Genocide, incidentally, "means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; and (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," (Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide).

How was genocide allowed to become a gold mine? On February 25, 2002, former Mwenge South MP Dora Byamukama tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the government to declare the north a disaster area. The government rejected the motion, despite unanimous approval by Parliament!

In 2002, Uganda diverted 23% of the national budget, over 50% of which came from the donors, to defence, specifically to wage war in the north. And on July 4, 2007, the British Secretary for International Development Douglas Alexander told the House of Commons: "The Juba Peace Initiative Fund (JPIF) had an initial operational budget of $4.2 million. This has been fully funded by donors, and will be used to pay allowances and related expenses".

To prove the point, recently, the Sunday Monitor reported that "Dr David Matsanga, the (former) LRA lead negotiator", had been "arrested by South Sudanese soldiers at Juba Airport in possession of $20,000".

Shortly afterwards, Maj. Gen. James Kazini, the former Army Commander was sentenced to a three-year jail term for profiteering from the existence of ghost soldiers on the UPDF payroll.
According to the ghost-soldier report by former Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi, "there was Shs1.9 billion still on the salary account as remainder from payment of soldier's salaries as of May 2003. The money "used to disappear without a trace," the report concluded.

Of course the money can be traced to those palaces, top-of-the range cars and business premises which dot the hills and valleys in Uganda. Very few, if any of the owners of these assets obtained a loan from any financial institution to acquire them. They paid in cash, in blood money!

Makerere and foreign university departments of "peace studies" are also benefiting from the genocide. Students who spend time in the concentration camps to gather "empirical" evidence are guaranteed excellent grades and jobs, if they are well connected. Thousands of office-based and brief-case NGOs have cropped up in Uganda and abroad, purporting to be assisting the surviving orphans, child soldiers and rape victims of genocide.

Local and international arms dealers, and some UPDF officers, have used the genocide as "cloud cover" to conduct lucrative arms trade with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, dissident armed groups in Southern Sudan and Darfur.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have also used the proceeds of genocide to justify wasted donor funds. Factoring in all "blood-related" assets and employment as clear signs of "robust" economic activities, they produced misleading reports claiming that Uganda was recording a "consistent" high economic growth rate since 1990, a period coinciding with the genocide in the north.

To cap it all, President Museveni is likely to benefit the most from the genocide. Sooner or later, self-confessed LRA terrorists Mr Onen Kamdulu and Ms Jennifer Aryemo will give evidence, ensuring Dr Kizza Besigye's conviction and possible execution for working with Mr Joseph Kony to topple the government of Uganda by force of arms! Hasn't the genocide in the north been a political and financial gold mine for a few?

Uganda rebels say Kony will meet mediators

Uganda's fugitive guerrilla Joseph Kony will meet mediators on Saturday on the Sudan-Congo border and may even sign a final peace deal, a rebel negotiator said on Wednesday.

But the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) still wants more details on how Uganda's government plans to use traditional reconciliation rituals to help him avoid prosecution for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Talks to end Kony's 22-year insurgency looked to have collapsed last month when the LRA commander sacked his chief negotiator and then failed to appear at a signing ceremony in a forest clearing on the remote frontier.

Kony's new negotiator, James Obita, told Reuters that the elusive rebel boss would turn up this time.

"On May 10 Kony is ready to meet leaders from northern Uganda, the mediator (south Sudan's Vice President Riek Machar) and probably sign the final peace agreement," he said.
"But he requests that we hold a workshop to clarify the relationship between the traditional justice systems and the ICC."

Uganda's civil war has killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted 2 million more and destabilised neighbouring parts of oil-producing southern Sudan and mineral-rich eastern Congo.
This year, LRA fighters have also attacked villages and killed civilians in Central African Republic, aid workers say.

Obita was among LRA representatives visiting the Ugandan capital Kampala for talks with religious and traditional leaders on how to save nearly two years of negotiations.
At the centre of their discussions is a government offer to call for the scrapping of ICC indictments naming LRA leaders if Kony signs a final peace deal. Ancient northern Uganda reconciliation rituals would be used instead, it says.

Kony and two of his top deputies are wanted for war crimes including rape, murder and the kidnapping of thousands of children to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves.
One of those deputies, Okot Odhiambo, was said to have been killed in fierce inter-LRA fighting last month.

The Hague-based ICC says its warrants remain active, and that Uganda is legally obliged to hand over its targets.

On Wednesday, a group of 40 non-governmental organisations urged all parties in the conflict not to give up on talks.

"A failure to secure the peace and resort to a `military solution' would trigger renewed fears of insecurity and threaten the considerable progress made on the ground in northern Uganda," it said.

Hopes for Peace: Dwindling

An ardent fan of "Lwani" inquired from me two days ago if i still honestly believe that Kony will put pen to paper let alone formally commit himself to peace. I replied in a lengthy e-mail to him and i will share with all of you today that my hopes for a peaceful northern Uganda seem to be dwindling faster than i'd ever anticipated.

There is an apparent information gap right now. No one seems to know exactly waht either side is up to. Mr. machar says he has lost track of Kony, Kaguta and Amama seem in bullish mood while Rugunda remains optimistic. It leaves you wondering what the common man on the dusty paths of Attiak or Omia Anyima is thinking.

But the little hope i have is that there will be no recourse to war. Otherwise all the semblances of strides towards normalcy in th north will be lost.

Monday, April 14, 2008

LRA/GoU peace negotiations: Poison Chalice?

A couple of days ago, i started the poison chalice debate on this blog. Little did i know that indeed the much anticipated signing of the peace agreement between the LRA and GoU was in essence a poisoned chalice.

When the news that Kony had not only declined signing, but had also killed his second in command came in, it just served to confirm my fears.

It reminded me of a publication by Dr. Deborah Goodwin of the Royal Military academy of Sandhurst which i read in my political science class. "A poison Chalice: Negotiating with Extremists" is quite appropriate. But what would you expect if both parties in the negotiation are extremists?

For now lets pray that much as the bushes in northern Uganda are regenerating quite fast due to the raging rains, LRA does not use it as a den to unleash terror on the masses there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The ravages of war

Exhibits of war. A sign of a once-upon-a-time homestead. Such sights are not uncommon when you traverse northern Uganda. However hope is rife that with the return process gaining momentum, homes not just huts will sprout afresh.


Its a joy to watch such homely settings returning after decades of turmoil. Hopefully things will just get better with the peace process underway. For now, optimism remains high.

Childhood memories

Children take time off to socialize and rekindle the happiness that a child is entitled to. I normally tell people who care to listen that my childhood memories are filled with the majestic boran and Zebu bulls and cows traversing their grazing grounds something reminiscent of the pre-conflict era in Acholiland. But the kids of the "revolution" in Acholiland today are actually lucky to survive malnutrition. Thank God, the peace accord signing process is underway.

Alone but unfreightened

A lonely little boy stares at strangers in their compound

Hoping against hope

A school boy treks to school using a newly opened route in Northern Uganda.
Its re-assuring to witness children that have been betrayed and forgotten by the powers that be, trying hard to gain knowledgde that will help them realise and offset the deprivation they have suffered over the past 2 decades.

The return process

A newly constructed homestead in one of the remote areas of Northern Uganda.
After over two months without a post, Lwani returns. As usual, i will share with you what i saw while i was away. In a nutshell, the return process in Northern Uganda continues to gain momentum and i was impressed by what i saw. Against all odds, the wretched of the earth continue to struggle to overcome the inequities and absurdities of our society. Lwani will continue to be their voice.

Poisoned chalice?

This morning my anxiety was high because of the screaming headlines on BBC, "Uganda rebels due to sign peace".

I imagined Kony inspecting a guard of honuor prior to signing the agreement at a camp in the jungle town of Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan, with journalists flashing their cameras at one of the most elusive rebel leaders in History. However, i remembered that the signing was put off last week after Mr or rather Lt. Gen Kony said he was sick. I hoped another excuse wouldn't come up and i still hope by the end of today, a stroke of Kony's pen will mark the end of the insurgency atleast in principle.

This will be good news to the over Two million people were displaced in the conflict, during which the LRA allegedly abducted thousands of children to serve as child soldiers.

However the impediment to this could be the POISONED CHALICE way back in Kampala and at the Hague. I leave it to you to guess what this poisoned chalice is.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Exclusive on Lwani

As usual, Lwani brings you exclusive photos. A group of LRA rebels were captured in this un-dated photo treking through the jungles in an undisclosed location.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On their way home?

An un-dated photo shows a section of LRA gurus taking a walk in an undisclosed location. Watch the man in the middle ground with pips-"Odhiambo." He is the heir to the late Otti Vincent. Many people like me are hoping that these guys will soon walk back home not as rebels any more, but as ex-rebels.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Drumming up support for Plan B against LRA? Think Thrice!

As the war drums begin to gain momentum in Kampala, and many hearts throb faster at the mention of a purported plan B against the LRA, Lwani would like to remind you all about similar scenarios in 1998 and the infamous 2002 Operation "Iron Fist". The story is told in our village of a cat that set out to attack moles by poking its paws into a mole hole only for the moles to use another exit hole and begin to play with the kitten left behind.

The moral of the story: Experience shows that every time we think that we shall dismantle the LRA from their bases in south sudan and elsewhere, the spill over effect has been worse. Remember Barlonyo, Barlegi, Patongo, Pajong etc. the list is endless.

However, forewarned is forearmed.

Women driving the production process in Northern Uganda

A group of women engaged in charcoal burning and selling in an IDP camp in southern Pader district, northern Uganda, loading commodities onto a customer's pick-up truck.
As IDPs return home, i would like to commend the women in northern Uganda for strongly standing besides their families at the forefront of the production processes against all odds.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Animal captivity

Can u see the lady on the tree? A monkey stares at me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Crisis of Public transport in Northern Uganda

The Aswa River Bridge along the Gulu-Kitgum highway. Safety has been hurled to the doldrums and with such dismal standards of infrastructure, both passengers and investors in the public transport industry in the region are at a huge risk.

The Crisis of Public transport in Northern Uganda

The Crisis of Public transport in Northern Uganda

"Fix yourself here"-A passenger seems to be telling another. These folks were my fellow passengers over the weekend as i traveled from Kitgum to Pader in a bid to have a feel of what the local populace goes through while in transit using public means.

Such sights are close to normal in many areas of the Ugandan countryside, but very few of you could have attempted to have a feel of whats its like perching on a truck, clinging to a bicycle or to another luggage. Over the weekend, i not only witnessed, but also had a feel of what its like traveling from Kitgum to Pader and HORRIBLE is the word that can just attempt to describe it. Kids wailing and mothers pleading on their behalf while chicken "wail" in agony. That was the scenario. I had the chance to take a few pics during my journey and share it with you.

My concern though is the crisis of public transport in northern Uganda. Very few entrepreneurs are willing to sink their capital in a transport belt characterized by bad roads. Its a shame that beyond Gulu, there are no tarmac roads . The few that look like tarmac in Kitgum are actually patched roads that always keep the works department of the local government justifying heavy expenditure on road works.

This is therefore a plea for responsive and responsible governance lest road carnage will always be the theme song of the populace up north.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Its very strange to say "Listen to my pictures" but today i received an e-mail from a long lost OB, who asked me why i was not putting my good writing skills to use. I told him to visit Lwani for my official response.

Everybody else seems to be writing and very few of you seem to be reading all the many writings. This partially explains why so many newspapers, blogs and other publications have closed shop within a few months of their inauguration, except Lwani.

It is on the basis of this that i developed this philosophy-speaking and speaking very loudly through pictures.

Comrades, at Lwani, the pictures communicate effectively. So Listen to my pictures.

Opinion Poll

Lwani is compiling a list of the 10 most bizzare happenings that have plagued the Pearl of Africa in the past 22 years. All your suggestions should be e-mailed to

In solidarity with our brothers in Kenya

Ever since the mayhem in Kenya began, Lwani has not commented on it. This however is not to say that here at Lwani we are not concerned. It hurts so much to see a hitherto role model state plunge itself into the abyss of chaos, uncertainity and bloodshed.

To all of you brothers and sisters who live in nations that are being run by power hungry despots, "Be weary of the stick that is used to hit your co-wife because it might be used to hit you too". Those were the words of my grandfather who once upon a time lived in Lukulya.

Ponder upon those words and don't shut up. ACT and ACT now!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

"With my animals, the world is at my feet" A proud warrior in Karamoja's ancestral savannas.

Fashion at its best

"Take an image of us back to your land" These seem to be the silent words of these friendly warriors. Check out the tall guy in the middle, his outfit is my pick of January 2008.

Animals and animals

Karimojong herdsmen proudly interact with their diverse set of animals. I love their sense of style. You know proper style should be appropriate. Having men in skirts especially when its so hot is biologically, socially and gender friendly.

Beauty queens in Karamoja

Whoever thought Karamoja is all about wars, rustling and cows should think twice. Beauty queens are in abundance too.

Warriors in Karamoja

A group of Karimojong warriors strike a pose for a photo session. Did you ever know that cameras can disarm? Someone tell the UPDF.

The centre of attraction

From a distance, it all seemed small and insignificant. But as we drew closer, the reality was indeed a new revelation. One of the numerous hills in Acholiland, Northen Uganda.

God's creation

When i presented pictures of Agoro hills in Kitgum last year, many of my ardent readers and viewers thought Agoro was the best. Little did they know that this land called Acholiland has far reaching beauty.

From a distance

So many hundreds of metres deep down the foot of this hill, rural folks go about their usual business. Ladies and Gentlemen, try your guess as to where exactly in Acholiland, this picture was taken.

Beauty undefiled!

I have always insisted that whoever is ill-travelled will think such beautiful scenaries only exist in certain parts of the world and not nothern Uganda. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the beauty of one of the many eye-catching hills of Acholiland.

Water crisis

A young man quenches his thirst at a spring in Lira. How safe are the consumers of water from such unprotected sources? I wonder what happened to the PAYE that is creamed off my salary every month!

And what next after eating?

Alot of food aid might be given to these needy IDPs but after eating and digestion has taken its course, where should they go for natur's call. A delapidated latrine in one of the IDP camps in southern Pader district stares at you in the face.

Thirsty? You are not alone

Even as the rains continue to water some parts of the country, water remains a huge need of the IDPs in northern Uganda. In this picture, long qeues remain a characteristic of the masses' determination to access water. What happened to the millions of dollars in grants and aid to the water sector in Uganda. My fellas in DWD, pliz holla back.

The Return of Lwani

After over 2 months' AWOL, Lwani returns, this time, even bigger and better. As some of you enjoy the onset of a new year, situations are not anybetter in northern Uganda. An entire generation continues to live in betrayal. However, some of us continue to act as a voice for these innocent souls. Fellow humans, let the plight of these children not only be known, but be heard. The struggle continues.

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