Guest Post I By Mwaka Lutukmoi : – TEARS FOR AN INNOCENT KILLER – NYAC PA LAKWARO KA IYE, IMADO (Acholi saying of taking responsibility) and NYUKA KA OTON ICIB PE NANGE (Acholi wisdom, a split milk can’t be removed) , yes these are akin to the inhuman beating of an old woman, by her grandson.
He is among many in war turned trauma entangled places who committed crimes they didn’t under influence of trauma, drugs and mental health issues, condemned and declared idiots, who are to only face nothing but death punishment or life time in jail.
Their crime includes violent attacks that result to bodily injuries and even death. These offenders both juvenile and adults in Achol, lango, Teso Kasese and war affected places in Uganda.
The top innocent killer ( Ongwen) is now committed to the international criminal court ( ICC), a court at the verge of decay ,but now the innocent killer becomes their exhibits of money well spent, I am sure he will receive his verdict to prove that ICC is real. This man is called Ongwen, former abductee cum notorious rebel commando of Lord’s Resistance, a commander.
The arrest and Trial of Ongwen at The Hague caused mixed reactions from many. To majority of Acholi, whose hundreds of children got lost, abducted, made child soldiers, commanders and others sex slaves want Ongwen pardoned, in Ongwen the ” killer” is a symbol of their children, who are either dead or living in a Jungle and the middle of nowhere.
Many either died or are surviving. Acholi ably welcomed home their tormentors who were LRA commanders, and child soldiers home in the community. But the same government that did nothing to protect the children from being abducted, later condemned and ignored them are now chest thumping for apprehending the criminals. Government should have spent billions in mental health issues in a highly traumatic society. Unfortunately, if it’s to be, it’s up to Acholi community.
THE INHUMANE TOTURE OF AN OLD WOMAN IN ACHOLI THAT WENT VIRAL.
” The idiot has been arrested ” screamed one Ugandan security operative, ” He deserves the hottest part of hell, kill him, he deserves death ” another ” it’s despicable, he must be reprimanded ” says a religious leader, ” idiot, drug abuser who has been on and off of police over time, deserves life!” One prominent leader said.
Every one, every leader wants to be seen as a rescuer and a great condemner! Is this leadership? Another prominent person opined ” we are baying for his blood, and we can’t sleep, he doesn’t need to be quarantined, but be removed from CORONA life saver and we help burying ” added.
These are some of the few known reactions of people on a guy , who beat up an older grandmother in her 80s, he must be in his early 20s. Does he deserves hell, death, life in prison, or government build a mental health institute strictly for the people affected by war in northern eastern and other parts of Uganda?
MY TAKE ON THE ABUSER!
I cried, I felt she was my own grandmother who passed on in my arms in the hospital at 89 in 2016! I loved my grandmother so much. I love old women, and men, they are our Gold!
A friend Tokuma Caroline called me and told me of the passing of her grandmother, mego Adol, I cried! Mego at her 90s I believe, was a friend to my late grandmother , mego Norah, I fondly called Naa and loved me so much.
That’s how I love old people, and why we must love and protect them. When I saw this boy beat the grandmother, I felt, like committing a crime! But what will be the difference between me and him, where will my leadership must have gone?
Yes, among dogs that are hit by a stone and the one that cries bitterly will have recieved the stone. When you lost your child, you witnessed pain of wars, you may reverse your condemnation of the tormentors.
He is not alone, they are in thousands in Acholi. In Lango, in Teso and Bakonzo in kasese where ADF and government wrecked harvoc on the people. More than hundreds of children were tortured and abducted by ADF rebels in Kasese, like hundreds in Northern Uganda. Northern Uganda is worse because it took longer, others termed it as a brilliant genocide.
Government and parliament pass a reparation law that will enable creation of trauma or mental health centers in areas of war. This will help to reconstruct wasted people like what we saw and witness daily, reparation will help restock, rebuild and revamp areas like education and health. It must be specific.
CULTURAL INSTITUTION. The various cultural institutions must ensure, cultural norms are not only taught but make use of schools and must be written down and also use media.
The cultural institution is important, in Acholi, at 42 now I haven’t seen a young man beating an old person. We would be beaten by elders and you don’t open your mouth, to cry was a crime. I have seen old women beating up big sons and they fold hands.
In Acholi culture, we respect anyone older than you even by weeks. An old person can beat you and curse. You fear when they are annoyed.
When an old woman gets her breast and points heaven telling God ” if this breast didn’t feed you or your mother, let me die” that will be the end of you.
Besides, I am in several wazup groups, I see young people, who claim to be knowledgeable, abuse elders and leaders. Let the informal education come back.
COMMUNITY LEADERS AND MEMBERS. Let local governments come up with budgets for for mental health and support of these formerly abducted children or those traumatized at home.
In Gulu, we have several groups formed, Aguu boys rob and kill, tumbafu squared now defunct. And also let the community members come together and report such characters.
Finally, I did a research on violence and social change, sponsored by Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation( New York) in 2013 . The title ” Livelihood strategies adopted by children living in child headed households in Gulu, after the war ” it gave many strategies to avert what we are seeing now . I personally engaged in what I can. I will publish a book on the same.
I saw many people coming up to raise funds to support the victim, I contributed but we must brace ourselves ready to cough more. Many are out there.
Again, I heard the boy asking the old woman ” where is our home?” The boy felt not part of that home. Possibly a reason he is on drugs. Many children are born out of wedlock. Hundreds born in captivity as results of rape.
Their mothers were abducted. Many were born but parents died in the war, or with AIDS. In the North, Uganda’s prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is 6.5% Acholi during war was in double digits. Now 11% but was far more during war. Of 8 people in our house hold, we lost 6 to AIDS. Left with orphans. Most head homes.
Again, culturally in Acholi, a nephew, niece, call them bastards are taken as second class citizens. Children and mothers of your uncles keep reminding you, you won’t inherit nothing here, go to your home. “Okeyo” ma muwa” ( mere nephew) that’s how they reduce them. So a person under trauma and influence of drugs like the boy we saw can kill. I remember a bad feeling I had but I am humble, I kept quiet. I remember an uncle telling us, ” where’s your home, leave my land”.
Today there are lots of land conflicts and deaths in Acholi, Lango, Teso and even Kasese It comes from the same, trauma or culture. Many old people now dead, before people were herded to IDP camps, their parents could have given land to their sisters of failed marriage.
During old days, money or dowry of your sister helps you marry, the wealth circulates around. Now incase of failed marriage, women’ family fear returning dowry, so they give land. Because culture is dead, children of these people end up selling these land thus conflicts and abusing.
Like my grandmother, had 5 kids, they all died remaining orphans. Relatives of her husband, our grandfather’s brother and relatives drugged the old woman my grandmother to court. She spent 10 years going to court.
The 52 plots we grew up in in Agwee – Laroo had to be taken. She is their mother and we orphans can’t inherit. It took the step children of my grandfather, who stood up and said, much as they are orphans, they are children of our sisters. In the end, court sent us back home. Of 52 plots, the orphans now has 7 plots and the rest taken by relatives. Thank God, we are sober death or beating would have occurred. By the way, not all elders are respectful.
In early years, there was no trauma, it was worse, okeyo or nephews eat the head of goats or chickens. You are ridiculed. This is a great culture because it keeps marriage, no divorce. No one wants to be a second class citizen.
Yes, I condemn the acts, but its more than the eye can see. No one must lay hands on a human being, worse for an elder or a woman.
An elder is a blessing, a woman is a symbol of peace. When a father beats you, you run to a mother, when chased from a father’s house, you go to mother’s kitchen, when chased away from father land, you go to mother land. A mother is gold, yes women.
Mwaka Lutukumoi, the writer is a former war victim.