The Acholi of Northern Uganda

For years, the Acholi of Northern Uganda were caught in the grips of a war between the Ugandan government and the Lords Resistance Army. The civilian population suffered terrific abuse at the hands of both sides. Now in a post-conflict situation, the Acholi are left to deal with the very complex wounds of child abduction, rape and massive dislocation. Amandla’s Rose Marie Whalley recently returned from the region and talks to Gwen Schulman about the challenges faced by women and children, in particular, as they try to rebuild their families, communities and lives.

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An update on Uganda

CKUT’s Rosemary Walley speaks to Helen Mushila a masters student in Conflict Transformation Studies at Uganda’s Gulu University. She talks about the present situation with the Lord’s Resistance Army and the internal displaced in Uganda.

Book review: the Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa

Several Amandla members present a round table book review of Moses Isegawa’s epic “The Abyssinian Chronicles”. Told through the nuanced, captivating, and morally questionable main character Mugezi, The Abyssinian Chronicles explores the political and social upheavals of modern Uganda, and creates a portrait of modern Uganda.

The New York Times book review says this on Abyssinian Chronicles:

“Isegawa’s theme, periodically and sometimes haphazardly inserted, is that the implants of colonialism, proselytizing religions, party politics, capitalism, militarism and international financial aid have distorted Uganda’s authenticity and rendered it a realm of baleful imagination. Isegawa’s own imagination is suitably dark (like Mugezi, his narrator, he left Uganda as a very young man and is now a Dutch citizen). His book is also gaudy, sporadically brilliant, disjointed and often tongue-tied by writing that alternates between an absorbingly straightforward account of Uganda’s recent history and a lumpy porridge of ornate venting. It sometimes resembles a car crash.”

Latest AMANDLA show: Kibale Health Project and Liberian refugees in Ghana

A look at the Kibale Health and Conservation Project (KHCP).

On this edition of Amandla, we focussed on McGill’s involvement in Africa and some initiatives that faculty and students have undertaken in recent years to address health issues in the areas where they are working. We specifically discussed the KHCP – an initiative spearheaded by Dr. Lauren and Colin Chapman from the departments of Biology and Anthropology at McGill University. A major goal of the KHCP is the construction of a medical clinic just inside the main gates of Kibale National Park in South-Western Uganda.

To discuss the project, we are joined by Jesse Jenkinson, a recent graduate of McGill, and member of the KHCP. Since graduating, Jesse has been actively involved in the KHCP, and recently returned to Uganda to assist with the construction of the clinic and other logistic aspects of the project. We discussed the goals of the health centre, recent progress and challenges that lie ahead.

 

Diana Sharpe’s interview. Listen

[For more information about this project, or to contribute, you can visit: http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/anthro/chapman_files/CWeb/Clinic/ClinicHome.html]

And Roberto Nieto talks to Shannon from the Center for Youth Empowerment on the plight of Liberian refugees in a Ghanean refugee camp. Listen

Amandla: Analyse de la crise kenyane/ Analysis of the Kenyan crisis

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant l’émission Amandla du 9 janvier 2008 sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez la télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

Partie anglaise

Commentaires, analyses et entrevues sur la crise que vit le Kenya – Commentaires de Diana et de Moussa.

Vous pouvez écouter cette chronique en cliquant ici.

Voici un article du Courrier International (reprenant l’original anglais de la revue brtitannique: New Stateman) qui traite de la situation en prenant un point de vue différent de celui des grands médias.

 

Partie française

Burundi: Annonce du Forum National des femmes ex-combattantes avec pour thème: ” Ensemble pour un Burundi meilleur “ – Le Forum se tient le 8 et 9 janvier à Bujumbura. Cliquer ici pour entendre la chronique de Moussa et qui provient du site Burundais: Burundi Réalités.

Impacts de la situation kenyane sur les pays voisins – Les États comme le Burundi, l’Ouganda, le Rwanda et l’est de la République Démocratique du Congo (Nord-Kivu) subissent les conséquences de la crise au Kenya. La population vit une augmentation des prix des denrées alimentaires et énergétiques. Commentaires de Moussa, tirés des sites Burundi Réalités et Ouestaf.

 

 

Here are the subjects that were addressed in the January 2nd 2008 Amandla radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the show here (link valid for two months only).

 

 

English part.

Comments, analysis and interviews on the Kenyan crisis – Comments from Diana and Moussa.

You can listen to the discussion here.

Here is an article from the British paper, New Stateman, which deals with the subject, but with a different point of view compared to the mainstream media.

French part.

Burundi: National Forum on Women Ex-fighters which bears the slogan: “Together for a better Burundi” – The Forum is held between January 8 and 9, in Bujumbura. Click here to listen Moussa’s comments which are taken from the website: Burundi Réalités (in french).

Impacts of the Kenyan crisis on the neighboring countries – States like Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Nord-Kivu) suffer the consequences of Kenya’s crisis. The population is subject to a raise in food and oil prices. Comments by Moussa, coming from the websites: Burundi Réalités and Ouestaf (both in french).

 

Émission Amandla du 9 mai 2007/ Amandla show from May 9th 2007

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant l’émission Amandla du 9 mai dernier sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez la télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

Interview avec la présidente d’AMARC-Africa (World Association ofGrace Githaiga Community Broadcasters (AMARC) Africa): Grace Githaiga (photo ci-contre) – en anglais. Elle est aussi directrice-exécutive d’Econews Africa. Elle nous parle de l’impact des radios communautaires en Afrique de l’Est (Ouganda, Kenya, Tanzanie). Elles opèrent dans différents contextes politiques et abordent les sujets liés à la justice sociale.

Analyse sur une division au sein du parti d’opposition zimbabwéen, le MDC – en anglais. Analyse tirée du New-York Times. Le Movement for Democratic Change vit un tumulte interne, alors que la situation sur le terrain s’aggrave. En effet, depuis longtemps déjà, la population du Zimbabwe est affamée et rien n’est fait pour améliorer sa condition (voir Zimonline).

Mini-revue de la musique ghanéenne – en anglais.

Les agro-industries, nourrir la planète ou gonfler les profits?- en français. Analyse de l’industrie agro-alimentaire tirée du site d’Agoravox. On s’inquiète de la mainmise des multinationales de l’alimentation qui contrôlent la chaîne alimentaire et qui transforment la faim en marché.

Scandale à la Banque Mondiale – en français. Analyse du pétrin dans lequel Paul Wolfowitz, président de la Banque Mondiale s’est mis.
Here are the subjects that were addressed in the May 9th Amandla radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the show here (link valid for two months only).

Interview with the president of l’AMARC-Africa (World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) Africa): Grace Githaiga (see picture above) – in english. She’s also the executive director of Econews Africa. She talks about the impacts of community radios in eastern Africa (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). They operate in different political contexts and are located in places where there are no other radios. They address social justice issues which makes them popular and the public response is important.

Mini-review on music in Ghana – in english.

Analysis of a split within the MDC, the zimbawean opposition party – in english. Taken from the New-York Times. A split occurs within the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) while the situation in Zimbawe worsen. People are starving and nothing seems to be done.

The agrobusiness, feeding the world or pumping up profits ? – in french. Analysis of the agrobusiness from the Agoravox website. The influence of that industry is worrying. The agro-multinationals control the food chain and turns hunger into a market.

Scandal at the Worldbank – in french. Analysis of the trouble that Paul Wolfowitz, president of the Worldbank, has fallen into.

L’Ouganda, seul en Somalie/ Uganda, alone in Somalia

Selon Courrier International, les Ougandais commencent à regretter leur aventure en Somalie. Surtout qu’aucun autre États africain ne participe à la force d’interposition:

Le 29 mars dernier, l’armée éthiopienne, présente à Mogadiscio, a lancé une violente offensive contre les milices islamistes. Les affrontements ont fait de nombreuses victimes, parmi lesquelles un soldat ougandais appartenant à la force de paix de l’Union africaine. Le quotidien de Kampala The New Vision remet en cause la participation de son pays à cette force.

La flambée de violence insensée qui touche la Somalie a fait sa première victime dans les rangs ougandais. Le caporal Wilberforce Rwegira a donné sa vie pour son pays et pour l’Afrique. Il avait une noble mission, il était venu aider un voisin. Il a participé à une opération non agressive de stabilisation en Somalie. Il est mort en faisant son devoir, en protégeant le palais présidentiel, Villa Somalia.

Jusqu’à maintenant, l’Ouganda a été le seul pays à répondre à l’appel pour le maintien de la paix en Somalie. Des cinquante nations de ce vaste continent, c’est le seul à avoir tenu parole en déployant rapidement deux bataillons dans la Corne de l’Afrique, déchirée par la guerre et l’anarchie.

L’Ouganda a agi de la sorte pour mettre un terme à la prolifération incontrôlée des armes et pour ramener la paix et la sécurité dans la région, guidé par l’idée qu’il était temps d’appliquer des “solutions africaines aux problèmes africains”. Après des siècles d’interventions étrangères, les Africains se chargeraient enfin de leurs affaires.

Mais l’Ouganda a été lâchement abandonné par ses frères de l’Union africaine (UA). Ceux-ci ne se sont engagés à envoyer que la moitié des 8 000 soldats nécessaires sur place. Pis encore, certains traînent maintenant des pieds et laissent l’Ouganda dans une impasse.

Les Ethiopiens ne peuvent pas se retirer tant que les troupes de maintien de la paix de l’UA ne seront pas suffisantes sur place. Mais la présence des forces éthiopiennes à Mogadiscio ne fait que jeter de l’huile sur le feu en raison de l’ancienne hostilité entre les deux pays. C’est comme si les soldats soudanais se battaient dans les rues de Kampala.

Il est grand temps pour l’UA et ses membres de passer à l’action après les déclarations solennelles qu’ils font si volontiers lors de leurs différents sommets et d’envoyer des troupes en nombre suffisant pour sauver ce qui est peut-être la dernière chance de pacification de la Somalie et de la région.

En l’absence d’action concrète immédiate, non seulement les forces ougandaises se trouveraient confrontées à un risque inacceptable, mais la population tout entière serait également condamnée à d’interminables souffrances. L’Ouganda ne peut continuer à porter ce fardeau tout seul. L’Union africaine doit prendre ses responsabilités.

Here is an editorial from the Ugandan newspaper, The New Vision, it criticizes the inaction of the African Union in Somalia while Uganda had his first soldier killed:

 The first Ugandan soldier died in the senseless violence of Somalia. He gave his life for his country and for Africa. His mission was an honourable one. He was sent to assist a neighbour in need. He took part in a well-intentioned operation to stabilise Somalia. He died performing his duty: protecting the presidential palace, Villa Somalia.

Uganda is the only country so far that has headed the call for peacekeeping troops in Somalia. It is the only country in this formidable continent of over 50 states that kept its word and promptly deployed two battalions in the anarchic, war-stricken Horn of Africa nation.

Uganda did so because it wanted to stem the uncontrolled proliferation of arms and restore peace and security in the region, driven by a belief that it was time for ‘African solutions to African problems’. Finally, after centuries of foreign interventions, Africans themselves would take charge of their own affairs.

Uganda has been let down miserably by its brothers in the African Union. Only half of the required 8,000 strong peacekeeping force has so far been pledged. Worse still, even the countries that promised to contribute troops are dragging their feet, leaving Ugandans in a precarious catch-22 situation.

The Ethiopians cannot withdraw before enough AU peacekeepers are in place. Yet, the continued presence of Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu is fuelling the conflict, considering the long-time hostility between the two countries. It would be like Sudanese troops fighting in the streets of Kampala.

It is high time the AU and its member states acted on the pompous declarations they ever so often make in their various summits and expeditiously deploy a credible force to save this latest and possibly final opportunity to pacify Somalia and the region.

Failure to act now will not only expose Ugandan peacekeepers to unacceptable risks but also condemn an entire population to prolonged suffering and death. Uganda cannot continue to bear the brunt of this mission alone. The AU must assume its responsibility.

Déforestation en Ouganda/ Uganda’s deforestation

L’Ouganda n’est pas seulement au prise avec son mouvement rebelle au Nord (L’armée de résistance du Seigneur) ou avec ses 1500 soldats engagés en Somalie. Le pays est aussi aux prise avec un ennemi plus insidieux: la déforestation. Selon l’ONU, le pays pourrait perdre TOUT son couvert forestier d’ici 50 ans!.

Uganda isn’t only engaged in battles against the rebels from the North (Lord’s Resistance Army) or in Somalia with 1500 soldiers fighting over there; the country must face a more insidious enemy: deforestation. According to the United Nations, Uganda could loose ALL his forests within the next 50 years!

IRIN:

Uganda could lose all its forest cover in 50 years if the current rate of destruction is not reversed, thereby upsetting the ecosystem and exposing the country to further environmental degradation, analysts have warned.

“Forests and trees have been cut at rates that exceed sustainable levels; characterised by the prevention of forest regeneration by grazing and fires,” Paul Drichi, director of technical services at the National Forestry Authority (NFA), said.

“Many urban and peri-urban forest reserves are also under threat of degazettement for industrial development and housing,” he added.

About 4.9 million hectares of forest cover existed in Uganda in the early 1990s but this had decreased to 3.6 million hectares in 2005, an annual depletion rate of 2 percent. This is considered high by international standards, Drichi added.

Various experts said the current rate of deforestation was already causing environmental-related problems in some parts of Uganda. Regions that used to be cold and malaria-free have experienced rising temperatures, providing good conditions for disease spread.

Comment sortir l’Ouganda de la pauvreté?/ How to drag Uganda out from poverty?

(Liens en anglais/ links in english)

Voici un commentaire paru dans le journal ougandais Sunday Monitor. Il est écrit par Teddy Sseezi-Cheeye qui explique comment l’épargne nationale doit devenir une des clefs du développement de l’Ouganda.

Here is a commentary in the ugandan newspaper Sunday Monitor. It’s written by Teddy Sseezi-Cheeye who says that national savings coming from the population must become a key element for the development of Uganda. The last words of the commentary are:

In Africa we do not seem to care about the suffering or even death of our people because many do not actively participate in any meaningful economic activity and therefore are not seen as valuable clients. Therefore, development in African countries, like Uganda, might continue to be elusive until African leaders recognise that the main drivers of development must be the Africans themselves; not foreign investors. Foreign investors can only complement local initiative.