Member Peace/Debate Club, Christ School Bundibugyo
The Rwenzori region has experienced several conflicts since 2006. With these new conflicts, and the fact that the Rwenzori Region shares border with Congo, these conflicts are likely to become trans-national, as the various ethnicities from both countries(who are related)get sapped into the conflict. The regions previous conflicts experienced portend to the fusion between pre-existing and new conflicts, which demand, concerted efforts to de-escalate and resolve them.
On the historical depth and context of these conflicts, although the recent conflicts could have some connections with historical incidents in the region, possess a distinguishable character of their “own,” and could have been triggered by recent recognition of cultural leaders/institutions by Uganda’s Central Government and poor political leadership at the local levels.
Peace is a precious stone that should be owned by every member of the community. Most people think peace keeping is a role of the government possibly by recruiting more people in the army and purchasing more guns to be able to settle any uprising or conflict and protect its people. However the truth is, peace starts with oneself, peace of heart, mind and soul. It does not need one to be a politician to participate actively in promoting peace. It can simply be through the daily things we do, in offices, gardens, markets, schools among others.
Looking closely at the recent clashes in the Rwenzori region and what was reaped, it calls for special attention in the matters of resolving these conflicts for a peaceful region. In promotion of peace in the Rwenzori region, African traditional morals are still relevant. In the times of our great fathers, informal education was significant and respect for the elders was greatly emphasized. This created a close relationship between the elderly and the youth, fables given at the fireside helped the young ones to grow in both moral and social values. For any dispute amongst themselves, clan meetings were held until a resolution was reached. This helped to promote peace and unity in the society. To the contrary to the present guns and powers are the suitable apparatus in resolving clashes.
Parents should monitor their children most especially the youth who are easily engaged in conspiracies. Students and elites have a great role to play in the movement of peace keeping in the Rwenzori region. Training institutions such as schools bring together people of different tribes, religion, nationality, sex and other contrasting aspects. Since they have a common obligation and goal to meet, they are proper in their interactions irrespective of all their differences in language, race and hence promote unity amongst the scholars, for the hopes of the future lie in such a generation free from tribal clashes. It is therefore a challenge to the teachers to not only teach about the “rainfall cycle” but also how to create peace by avoiding tribalism.
Religious leaders have a great role to play to ensure there is peace in the community by condemning acts of tribalism, murder, corruption, theft among others that distort peace of the people. This can also be achieved by emphasizing the concept of love for one another as the key factor of living in harmony with one another.
State officials have another role to play in peace building in the Rwenzori region. So, as long as state officials continue using public offices for personal interests; squander state resources and practice nepotism, spots of misunderstanding amongst local people will bind together to form a conflict and peace will become a mere fantasy. Therefore the anti-corrupt leaders are fundamental in creating a peaceful nation.
Use of social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, Televisions, radios in the struggle of promoting peace. Research shows that radios are more instrumental in passing on information to the locals.
It is important to host public figures in studios to address the public on the outcomes of clashes, cutting across the social, political and economic spectrum. However, it is also important for the local people to address their problems to their leaders to find amicable solutions before it is too late through community led Radio programs. Cultural institutions should be restrained from taking part in politics and be encouraged to focus on social -economic development. In addition, reconciliation and inter kingdom peace talks to promote inter kingdom coronation and conflict management is useful for legitimizing the entire peace building process in the region. Conflicts have done more harm than good. Therefore, fighting each other is not a solution for our social problems but through dialogue by involving all stake holders including politicians, government, cultural institutions and you (people) might have vital ramifications for resolving social linguistic tensions.
We cannot do everything at once but we can do something-; living and promoting peace is our role. Through school debates we shall continue to amplify our voices in response to violent conflicts and also it advocating for amicable ways of resolving conflicts and peace building but also influencing government to respond to issues of service delivery as its mandate and obligation it owes its gallant citizens