Censorship Is No Solution To Northern Uganda Crises

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Now, this year for the first time, I am being told by the UNAA president, Lt. Frank Musisi, that I cannot organize the Forum when in fact it was started by northern Ugandans to highlight the devastation that has resulted from the war there.

[Global: Op-Ed]

In recent days there have been reports and online discussions about a dispute in advance of the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) Convention which will be held this year in Chicago, IL., from September 4 to 6.

Some people have questioned an invitation I extended to Hon. Mrs.  Janet Museveni, Minister of State for Karamoja, Member of Parliament, and Uganda's First Lady.

I wish to dispel many falsehoods regarding this invitation: Mrs. Museveni has been invited in her capacity as a minister whose portfolio covers a region in crisis and turmoil; a region which has experienced devastation.

First some background.

I have been a Vice President of UNAA; I have been a Board Member; I have always been there for the organization. The Northern Forum, which comprises a panel at UNAA Conventions, to discuss the war and devastation in northern Uganda, was not always popular. It has suddenly become very popular. When it started 15 years ago, nobody wanted to have the northern issue even brought up at the UNAA Convention.

Eventually when the issue of the conflict and devastation in northern Uganda was brought up,  it was supposed to be only an "interest section" at the annual gatherings, and not even considered part of the regular UNAA Convention items.

When I started inviting knowledgeable people, including Uganda government officials, who could give us definitive answers as to what they were doing in the north, then people  began to wonder about what was really happening in the north. There was increased interest and the Northern Forum became popular.

This year, I followed the procedure which I have been using for years in organizing the Northern Forum--which was to invite the speakers for the panel. There had never been any objection in the past.

Now, this year for the first time, I am being told by the UNAA president, Lt. Frank Musisi, that I cannot organize the Forum when in fact it was started by northern Ugandans to highlight the devastation that has resulted from the war there.

Why? Is it because I invited Hon. Mrs. Janet Museveni as one of the speakers? She has been invited in her capacity as a minister in charge of a region that is included in the devastated areas--in the north.

The Forum suddenly has become very important to some people.  So, why am I being challenged for the first time by the UNAA president alone? Most of the UNAA board does not even know that he is challenging me.

I believe there is somebody that has a personal agenda in objecting to my organizing the Forum this year.  If you read the Ugandan newspapers you will see that there is a big famine in Karamoja. We want to know what is happening there. There is no part of northern Uganda  that has not suffered. The Acholi sub-region has suffered more; but all of the north needs to be restored and developed.

Let us talk and come up with a compromise. At this time, there is still time to work together.

We are working for the same goal after all. Which is to bring sustainable peace and development to northern Uganda.  That is why it is important to hear all voices.


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"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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