By David Imaa
Makerere University College of Humanities and Social Sciences school of Liberal studies and Performing Arts Department of religious and peace studies, has outsourced funding in partnership with Oxford University to do a research on challenges in Tororo District in a bid to forge peaceful coexistence of its resident communities.
During a stakeholders meeting on Thursday, Dr Christine Mbabazi, a lecturer at Makerere University college of humanities and a researcher, said the project is being launched in Tororo and it will reach out to 50 leaders and 500 community members in the sub-counties of Osukuru, Kwapa, Mukuju, Rubongi, Mulanda municipality, Agururu and Amagoro, targeting social cohesion in leaders.
Stakeholders in attendance were cultural, religious, political leaders organization youth educationists, and security departments respectively.
Dr Mbabazi said the main focus is going to be the Japadholas and the Itesots stating that currently, they are undertaking the same work in the districts of Namayingo, Mayuge, Bugiri and Iganga, to transform leaders and locals from being a community which doesn’t cherish unity.
Over the years, the two neighboring ethnic communities have been embroiled in border conflicts and a delegation comprising government representatives, legislators and the local leadership of Tororo district were in the United Kingdom last year to establish the contested boundary between the Iteso and Japadhola.
Mbabazi also implored the cultural leaders to see how to set up cultural sites for which they will try outsource funding in order to promote the areas’ history and culture as symbols of peace.
Iteso cultural union chairperson, Papa Albert Ologe, commended the academia for such initiatives and promised support in the fostering of peace and coexistence amongst the two tribes in Tororo. He however cited some implementing partners who have continued to rubbish some cultural norms which are good.
The Tieng Adhola cultural institution Prime Minister, Jago Josel Obbo, also promised commitment and cooperation from their subjects towards the program.
Prime minister Obbo requested Makerere University academia to support the cultural leadership towards achieving sustainable development through this project and for leaders to be trained on peace and conflicts management to be able to handle matters arising even when the university project will no longer be in the district.
Catherine Akongo, who represented the Tororo District Education Officer, called upon the researchers to focus on NEEDS OF Women since currently there is no one bothered as women are intimidated and some can’t account for money given to them to manage government programs.
Amula Albert, the Deputy District Commissioner, commended the initiative by Makerere and Oxford University and pledges to support the program since their main focus now is peace and coexistence citing which will lead the district towards social economic transformation and development.