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Hon. Lyndro Komakeck

Northern Uganda Post war conflict ignored mental health issues  

GULU-UGANDA: This year 2020, the government is releasing UGX 20 billion to cater for the child-mothers formerly abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels who waged a twenty-year rebellion in northern Uganda, made into sex slaves and have since returned with children born in captivity. These children were rejected by their maternal uncles and are now living in urban centers.

An additional UGX 20 billion will be released for the cattle to pay for cattle which were either eaten by the rebels or by the government forces.

Mr. Lyandro Komakech, who is a Member of Parliament, disclosed this during a closed door workshop organized by the Uganda Law Society held at the Churchill Courts’ Hotel in Gulu City on Monday, July 20, 2020.

Finda-Uganda, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) working in Northern Uganda profiled the returnees, mostly the young children who were abducted during insurgency, have now returned back with their children.

“Government should now pay school fees for their children, and allot pieces of land to those whose parents cast out, according to research conducted by NGOs working to rehabilitate these returnees with their children. “Government cannot subject the former war children to pay their fees, and yet they are the vulnerable kids as do their mothers,” says Mr. Agon, MP, Kumi Municipality.

Ms. Evelyn Amony, a  formerly abducted child, now a mother three children, says when they came back from the bush, they did not understand the Amnesty law. They were given amnesty as if they were fighters.

“Now we have understood that Amnesty should be given to people who took arms to fight the government. We have been abducted as children and we came back with our children. Why were we treated as if we were fighters?”

Government through the Amnesty Commission, gave each returnee panga, which was a tool used in the bush as a tool of war which, they returnees argue traumatize them.

“When we went to our family, they said we wanted to kill them with the Panga we got,” Amony said,

Saying, now they have learned that Amnesty Commission should have given them money not only blankets and panga, something, she claimed not done cause trauma or suicide

The research finding is that 52% of women who have returned from the LRA captivity have been neglected by the community. Most of t5he neglected LRA former abducted child-mothers now in the last IDP camp Queen cell in Gulu City

Ms. Nighty Lanyero was abducted at a painful scene, when she went to bury her mother at Anaka Sub

County in Nwoya district, all her brothers and sister including her father were burnt in the hut. When she returned with three children in 2004, she went to her auntie who was taking care of her father’ s

Estate in Kanyagoga, Gulu City West Division, told her that she sold the land and bought yet

another piece of land at Unyama , seven kilometer on Gulu-Kitgum road.


Lanyero who returned back with three children could not solder with the pain of living being rejected by

Her biological family now decided to go and have a man who could look after her and the children who were born in captivity. She decided to get together with someone.

Later they have two children, but the new husband says he cannot look after children born in captivity,

Lanyero went and confronted the auntie who later showed her land in Unyama which happened to be public land.

Lanyero lived in that land, but when her antie learned of her situation, she instigated that she is a witch, forcing the community destroyed her hut, she had to live for a year on a road reserve in Unyama.

She took the matter to Gulu High Court, but later the judgment was passed on her absent, Lanyero says

This is why cases of suicide are very high in Northern Uganda.

According to MP Lyandro Komakech, the approach the government is handling psychosocial support for victims of war is misplaced because if you ignore psychological support to returnees, it can lead to mental breakdown because of depression, a major cause of mental illness.

“Psychosocial support been ignored, ever since the war ended, and yet mental health is yet at the central pillar of the rehabilitation process. Because at the end of the day however good the government would put infrastructure, as long as we have not dealt with mental health, I think we shall not, in any way, reform the process for making our victims recover from the war. So, for me that is where the focus would be, that the transitional system bill should be a victims center. It should include amnesty that is conditional, that means that perpetrator who come from war must undergo a truth telling process through traditional leaders” says the legislator.

“To me, the most important thing is, when you look at the policy, when you read in detail, the cardinal

pillars of the transitional justice policy is formal justice, traditional justice, reparation and truth telling.

 In all these you see that the component of traditional justice policy is actual well well-grounded in the

policy which has given a lot of responsibility to cultural leaders for me that was the greatest score ever

done in that policy, because it has given a lot of responsibility to formerly to cultural leaders because at

the end of the day we have been talking about ‘Mato-Oput’ and every things is now part of policy

It is no longer what you say this is culture, it is now part of what you say this culture, it is now part of

hybrid jurisprudent that Uganda is beginning to develop. When you look at ‘Mato-Oput’ it is

becoming a formal policy process which is now going to be included into a new law the transitional bill,

then you know for the first time in African with Uganda being the only country that shall have made a law and have a policy that included certain fundamental values of our culture into the mainstream of

Common Law for me that is the greatest score we have ever got from policy”, says the legislator .

He says because you cannot compare any country in the world that has brought on board its traditional justice mechanism, to work alongside the Common Law, it’s a first time, so it is a hybrid policy that will also develop a hybrid law, that will enrich our jurisprudence then we begin to win somethings  in Africa our value can be part and parcel of what the British called the common law for me that is score number one.

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