UGANDA: CATHOLIC CHURCH SEEKS US$250000 TO ORGANIZE UGANDA MARTYRS’ DAY CELEBRATION 2019

“I am here to let you know officially that Gulu Archdiocese is to animate Uganda Martyrs’ day celebration 2019 at Namugongo where millions of pilgrims from all over the world will converge to pray for intercession of the martyrs”
“It is an opportunity to learn from the Martyrs’ faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ (Mathew 24:13) and to seek their intercession. It is a moment of spiritual renewal as we strive to preach the gospel and fight the evils in our society today”
“The money is here in Uganda; even in Gulu we can raise this money from our Christians. Do you have some millionaires among you who can offer the nine hundred million shillings? This is project of God and God will make it succeed. Let the Kingdom of God be heard”
GULU-UGANDA: Gulu Archdiocese has drawn up a budget of UGX900, 000,000 (about US$250,000) to organize and animate the 2019 Uganda Martyrs’ day celebrations at the Namugongo Catholic shrine located outside the capital city, Kampala.
“I am here to let you know officially that Gulu Archdiocese is to animate Uganda Martyrs’ day celebration 2019 at Namugongo where millions of pilgrims from all over the world converge to pray for intercession of the martyrs”, says Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, Dr. John Baptist Odama.
He made these remarks on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 when meeting members of the press from his residence which is located about three kilometers west of Gulu town.
Gulu Archdiocese was chosen to organize this year’s annual event, which falls on every June 3, by the Uganda Episcopal Conference in June 2018. It is organizing on behalf of the Gulu Ecclesiastical Province which consists of the dioceses of Arua, Gulu, Lira and Nebbi.
The Archbishop says the money needed to organize the event can be raised locally from Christians in Uganda without thinking of money from donors.
“The money is here in Uganda; even in Gulu we can raise this money from our Christians. Do you have some millionaires among you who can offer the nine hundred million shillings? This is project of God and God will make it succeed. Let the Kingdom of God be heard”, says Archbishop Dr. Odama.
The Catholic Church in Uganda has four Ecclesiastical Provinces, they are: Kampala (the oldest province), Mbarara, Tororo and Gulu Ecclesiastical Provinces. They organize the Uganda Martyrss Day celebrations on rotational basis.
The Archdiocese of Gulu last animated the celebrations at Namugongo in 2003 soon after the beautification of Blessed Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa in 2002 by Saint Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
The two catechists were killed in 1918 and they are celebrated at local level on October 20 ever year at the Wi Polo Paimol Martyrs’ shrine in Kalongo Parish, Agago district in Gulu Archdiocese.
The original martyrs (23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics) were killed between January 31, 1885 and January 27, 1887 for converting to Christianity on orders from Kabaka Mwanga II, the then King of Buganda. The twenty-two Catholic Martyrs were beautified on June 6, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, and canonized on October 18, 1964 by Saint Pope Paul VI.
“It is an opportunity to learn from the Martyrs’ faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ (Mathew 24:13) and to seek their intercession. It is a moment of spiritual renewal as we strive to preach the gospel and fight the evils in our society today”, says Archbishop Dr. John Baptist Odama of Gulu Archdiocese.
The Theme guiding the celebration this year is “OBEY GOD ALWAYS AND EVERWHERE”. It was taken from the episode in the book of Acts of the Apostles, Chapter four, and verse nineteen: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than obey God”.
“Loyalty to God is a priority to every believer in God. I was inspired by these words of the Blessed Apostles to the Sanhedrin, which had ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Christ” says Dr. Odama.
An account has been opened in the Centenary Bank, Gulu Branch, where people can donate money: Account Name: Archdiocese of Gulu Namugongo Martyrs’ Day Celebrations 2019. Account Number: 3100059093.
About 400 African Catholics bishops are expected to grace the day.

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UGANDA: WOMEN AT ABERA IRRIGATION SCHEME DREAM BIG DESPITE WATER CRISIS.

 

“Our biggest challenge is that there is not enough water to irrigate our seedlings. Although they (management) ration water on rotational basis, the water is simply not enough. We are now forced to carry water from the river to help our seedlings”

 

“This project will not benefit us; the people it is meant to benefit. This water crisis could have been solved a long time ago if they were working as a team. We are not happy to see government resources going down the drains because of corruption”

 

GULU-UGANDA: It is 9.00 o’clock; local time in the morning (about 6.00 GMT) at Abera Irrigation Demonstration Scheme in Paibona Sub County in Gulu district, where a group of about ten beneficiaries are busy doing all kinds of work on their plots of land.

 

This is a 20-acre piece of land fenced off to avoid domestic animals from eating the few seedlings sprouting from a greenhouse.

 

There are various seedlings of horticultural crops like onions, tomatoes, cabbages and green peppers, ready for transplantations.

 

Outside the greenhouse, the twenty acres have been partitioned into plots which measure 40 by 50 meters each and given as demonstration plot to the local community of Paibona Ayweri village where the locals are learning Climate Smart Agriculture. Government wants them to be able to practice non rain fed agriculture using irrigation technology it is building in this place. But what lessons and challenges have women engaged in this project faced since starting work here?

 

Twenty year-old Ms. Aweko Prisca is busy marking holes where she would plant water melon seeds along a piece of sisal rope her husband, Mr. Orach Nelson (23) had tied to guide her work in a straight line. The young couple has a two-year old child who is not yet in school.

 

As she marks the holes, dust can be seen emanating from the holes, an indication that her plot has not tasted water in weeks, considering the dryness of the soil.

 

Her work reminds me of my geography lesson in ordinary level where the teacher taught about ‘dry farming’ practice in readiness of the onset of rainy season.

 

“Our biggest challenge is that there is not enough water to irrigate our seedlings. Although they (management) ration water on rotational basis, the water is simply not enough. We are now forced to carry water from the river to help our seedlings survive the drought”, says Ms. Aweko.

 

She believes the problem could have been caused by the fact that the water pump, which pumps water to the plots, is now being powered by solar instead of the original generator.

 

In another plot, a group of three women; Ms. Sister Lamunu (a widow of 58 years), Ms. Ajok Mary (46) and Ms. Ladoo Christine (55) are busy covering their sprouting water melon seedlings from, scotching sun heat with dry grass.

 

According to the three, they have learnt a lot from the Extension workers at the site on how to make money through horticulture instead of planting traditional crops like groundnuts, sesame, cassava, maize or sorghum.

 

They started working together as a group more than ten years ago and even have a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) to support them pay their ten grandchildren stay in schools.

 

Their vision is to get away from grass-thatched houses, which are susceptible to fire outbreaks to corrugated iron sheet roofs, buy goats and cattle through planting horticultural crops like water melon.

 

According to Ms. Ajok, their spouses are supportive of the work they do because they have seen the benefits and would even join them in their work. She says they have learned new techniques of farming which they never practiced including fertilizer application, pest ad disease control, early planting and post-harvest management amongst others.

 

According to the agronomist teaching the beneficiaries, Mr. Oloya Godman, this is a long time project and the beneficiaries are expected to plant four cycles of crops in one year; each lasting three and half months.

 

“We are already in the second cycle of the project, the first being in July 2018. We have four cycles in a year of three and half months each. This is not a short term project, but a long term one”, says Mr. Oloya.

 

However, Mr. Lukwiya Caesar (63), the man who donated his land for the project, ‘sees no future’ in the project because those managing the UGX. 3,000,000,000 (US$843,000) project do not work as a team because some of them are corrupt.

 

“This project will not benefit us, the people it is meant to benefit. This water crisis could have been solved a long time ago if they were working as a team. We are not happy to see government resources going down the drains because of corruption”, says the old man.

 

The chairman of Paibona sub-county, Mr. Watmon Richard, equally agrees with elder Lukwiya; arguing that as a political head of the sub-county who is mandated to monitor government projects in his area, he has not seen project documents like the Bill of Quantity of Abera Irrigation Scheme.

 

“This project would have very big impact on our people because we want our people to adapt to new farming practices but because of corruption I think the project will have very limited impact at the end of its two-year lifespan”, says Mr. Watmon.

 

Brenda Akao, the Communications Officer Ministry of Water and Environment says the scheme is yet under construction and not yet handed out to the benefitting community. She urged the beneficiaries to be patient and wait until the scheme is fully completed for them to utilize it.

 

“We can sort out the issue of little water but we still want them to learn how lack of water affect the growth of crops as well as what happens when there is too much of it. The same applies to fertilizer” she stated without disclosing when the constriction will end.

 

So far, there are unspecified number of farmers benefitting from the Project. Akao says they will enroll more farmers from the area when the construction is completed.

 

According to Gulu district chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the project will train up to 500,000 farmers from the region from six farmer cooperatives.

 

 

 

 

 

UGANDA: AMIN’S KINSMEN APOLOGIZE FOR THE MURDER OF ARCHBISHOP JANANI LUWUM, RECONSILE WITH FAMILY

“What happened during the reign of Idi Amin, who is my kinsman, we still feel the pain after forty years. As the new generation, we need to put to end all the bad past and we move forward as reconciled Ugandans. Ugandans cannot heal this country if we pay evil for evil. That is why we invited Ben Okello-Luwun to Koboko on January 24, 2019 because we want a new beginning”

“Memorial is good because it looks backward, but the tragedy is that we must not get stuck in the bad history of the past. We should learn from the past but we should now learn the former bad things. Do not dwell in the past but look at the new thing which is the future”

KITGUM-UGANDA: Kinsmen of Uganda Dictator, Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, has offered an emotional apology to the people of Acholi for the February 16, 1977 murder of their son, the late Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire, Janani Luwum by Idi Amin.

The apology was delivered by Reverend Canon Stephen Gelenga, who belongs to the Kakwa tribe where dictator Amin also belong in West Nile during the fourth-second commemoration of his martyrdom at Wii-gweng village, Mucwini sub-county in Kitgum district.

“What happened during the reign of Idi Aminj, who is my kinsman, we still feel the pain after forty years. As the new generation, we need to put to end all the bad past and we move forward as reconciled Ugandans. Ugandans cannot heal this country if we pay evil for evil. That is why we invited Ben Okello-Luwun to Koboko on January 24, 2019 because we want a new beginning” said the man of God, drawing tears of forgiveness from most of the pilgrims.

On February 16 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered at Nakasero by then President of Uganda, Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada. This followed a period of great tension and ugly showdown between the Church and the Amin regime. His body was secretly transported and dumped at the church yard at Wii-gweng, Mucwini, Kitgum district/ he was buried there on February 19, 1977. This has been his resting place since.

It was the searing martyrdom of St. Janani that marked the pivotal point for the Amin regime and the subsequent liberation of Uganda. With the murder of the Archbishop, the international; community was finally and dramatically jolted from its jadedness even complacency about the Amin regime. An unthinkable line had been crossed by Amin. At the international level, the impact was huge. It became a game changer.

Archbishop Janani Luwum’s martyrdom prompted Canterbury Cathedral to establish the Modern Martyrs Chapel in the Cathedral; this was dedicated in July 1978 during the Lambeth Conference. In July 1998, St. Janani Luwum’s statue was unveiled on the West Wall of Westminister Abbey, London, among ten selected twentieth Century Martyrs.

The over thirty pilgrims from Koboko also visited the widow of Archbishop Janani Luwum, Mary Luwum and her siblings on the eve of the commemoration and had dinner with the family from where they requested for reconciliation anf forgiveness with the family.

The retired first bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum, bishop Macleod Baker Ocholla II, who led the reconciliation prayers, appealed to the family of the late Archbishop to now begin to accept Amin’s kinsmen as their own brothers and sisters now that the family has given them food to eat as Acholi culture dictates.

The bishop of Lango Diocese, Professor Alfred Olwa, preached on the theme” “Do not dwell in the past”, quoting from the book of Prophet Isiah, chapter 43; verses 16-20.

“Memorial is good because it looks backward, but the tragedy is that we must not get stuck in the bad history of the past. We should learn from the past but we should now learn the former bad things. Do not dwell in the past but look at the new thing which is the future”, said the bishop.

Archbishop of the Church of Uganda appealed to Ugandans to emulate the courage of Janani Luwum who was not afraid to point out the political and social evils of his time and sacrifice life for the truth. He appealed to Christians not to keep quiet if the people are suffering.

In his letter, read by Minister Ms. Esther Bayo, General Museveni described the late Archbishop Janani Luwum as ‘an icon who stood for truth and respect for human rights for all, a great martyr and a compelling model for all’’.

Hundreds of Christians thronged the pavilion. responding to alter call by bishop Olwa.

 

US GOVERNMENT URGED TO PICK FRESH INTERESTS IN GOVERNANCE IN UGANDA – HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

“The question is does Uganda qualify to be such a state? If it does qualify, as it definitely qualifies, then it is right and fitting for the US government to pick fresh interests in the issue of governance in Uganda – putting into consideration of what happened in Iraq and Libya. It is important that any regime change is positive”

“It is not sufficient justification that regime change must happen in Uganda without recovery of assets privatized in Uganda”

“As a community of Apaa, we only wish to live peacefully on our land. Violent attempts to evict our people from the area started after the area of Apaa was supposedly gazetted as East Madi Game Reserve, a process that took place illegitimately while our people were relocated in Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp during the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict”

GULU-UGANDA: A twenty-seven year old Ugandan human rights activist, Mr. J.B. Uhuru, has called on the government of the United States of America to pick up fresh interests in the issues of governance in Uganda as it did in Iraq and Libya.

Mr. Uhuru quoted the first black South African president, the late Nelson Mandela, as having once said that ‘for any unpopular government that never respects humanity, such government must be exposed, denounced and its corrupt officials sent to exile’.

“The question is does Uganda qualify to be such a state? If it does qualify, as it definitely qualifies, then it is right and fitting for the US government to pick interests in the issues of governance in Uganda afresh putting into consideration of what happened in Iraq and Libya. It is important that any regime change is positive”, Says Mr. Uhuru adding; “It is not sufficient justification that regime change must happen in Uganda without recovery of assets privatized in Uganda”.

He made these remarks during an interview with this reporter on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 following his release from prison on bail on Friday, February 8, 2019. He was charged by the regime of Dictator Yoweri Museveni, who has already ruled this East African nation for 33 years, for organizing and leading unlawful demonstration over disputed Apaa land saga in Gulu City on Monday, February 4, 2019.

Apaa land saga started way back in 2002 when Adjumani local government requested Uganda parliament to gazette the area into a Wild Life Game reserve yet the area is in Amuru district, formerly Kilak controlled hunting ground, neighboring East Madi controlled hunting ground when the locals were still in concentration camps later baptized Internally Displace Persons’ Camp.

The People only returned to the area after the LRA and government signed cessation of hostilities agreement in 2006 and the LRA relocated to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the same year. In September 2016, the minister of Local Government, Mr. Tom Butime declared the area part of Adjumani district much to the chagrin of the Acholi community.

In July 2018 a group of over two hundred residents of Apaa pitched camp at the compound of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Gulu to drum international intervention into the long running land issue which has killed more than 20 people and injured several others.

“As a community of Apaa, we only wish to live peacefully on our land. Violent attempts to evict our people from the area started after the area of Apaa was supposedly gazetted as East Madi Game Reserve, a process that took place illegitimately while our people were relocated in Internally displaced Persons’ Camps during the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict”, reads part of a petition to The Speaker of Uganda parliament dated August 6, 2018.

On February 4, 2019 J.B Uhuru joined Acholi members of parliament from the disputed area in a demonstration on the streets of Gulu town in protest of government inaction to stop renewed violence in the area. He was arrested together with the five Members of Parliament and bundled onto a waiting police car during which he suffered injuries in the waist and lost his wrist watch to the policemen who forcefully broke up the rally accusing them of convening an illegal assembly.

 

Uhuru says it was wrong for the Police to act with iron hands after he informed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) about the peaceful demonstration in writing as required by the Public Order Management Act (2013).

This is not the first demonstration that Mr. Uhuru organized in Gulu as a human rights activist. The first time he organized a demonstration in Gulu was in protest of persistence power (electricity) blackout in the city. He was simply sprayed with red pepper in November 2018 while one person was struck dead by police stray bullets shortly after they opened fire at the demonstrators.

“We had planned to start the demonstration with praying for the people of Apaa at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Unfortunately, police violently arrested us while walking for the prayer, well before the demonstration had even started. I was thrown into a police car, injured in the waist and taken to police cell. They removed my shoes and wrist watch but up to now I have never received my watch back”, says Mr. Uhuru.

The legislators were unconditionally released from Gulu Central Police station for delays without charge. According to the Leader of Opposition in Uganda Parliament, Ms. Betty Aol Ocan, the police always act on ‘order from above’, which is unfair to the people of Uganda who would like to express their grievances with government in ways guaranteed by the constitution.

“We, as citizens and the International community, must put pressure on government of Uganda to try to follow the law and to continuously inform Ugandans on what is happening in the country”, says the legislator.

The Prime Minister of Acholi cultural institution, Mr. Ambrose Olaa says the government has hidden interests in Apaa land which makes it difficult to be trusted to resolve problems there.

The government uses the Public Order Management Act to clump down of oppositions and restrict their activities. Dictator Yoweri Museveni is on record to have said to the effect that there would be no opposition in Uganda by the 2021 election cycle.

UGANDA: STRATEGIC LOCATION MAKES GULU HAVE BETTER ECONOMIC DAYS AS REGIONAL CITY-MP

“Gulu was planned long ago by our colonial masters as a regional headquarters for the greater northern Uganda because of its strategic location. If it is declared a city because of that comparative advantage, it will become a gateway to the region. We already have the second longest airport. This is economics, not politics”
“You should fight hard and get rid of these petty crimes from within the Municipality. You must know that we have very good image internationally and we must protect that name. Before the end of 2019, Gulu will have enough power to spur industrialization. You must get ready for this development”
GULU-UGANDA: The Member of Parliament for Gulu Municipality, Mr. Lyandro Komakech, has appealed to the business community to embrace international trade instead of getting stuck in petty trade as the Municipality will soon be gazetted as a regional city.
He said because of its strategic location in the region, Gulu will soon be opened as a gateway to international trade but he laments that the local leaders are still ill-prepared to receive the new city.
“Gulu was planned long ago by our colonial masters as a regional headquarter for the greater northern Uganda because of its strategic location. If it is declared a city because of that comparative advantage, it will become a gateway to the region. We already have the second longest airport. This is economics, not politics”, says the legislator.
He made these remarks on Monday, January 21, 2019 while handing over torches to local council one and two chairpersons of the municipality to enable them provide security within their areas of jurisdiction.
The security torches were procured from Dubai by the legislator at a total cost of shillings 2.2 million (about US$600) to enable the local leaders get rid of wrong elements in their communities, especially street kids who have become a security threat.
Some of these kids have since grown into adults and their common crimes include robbery, housebreaking, pickpocketing, and waylaying people at night, among others.
“You should fight hard and get rid of these petty crimes from within the Municipality. You must know that we have very good image internationally and we must protect that name. Before the end of 2019, Gulu will have enough power to spur industrialization. You must get ready for this development”, says Mr. Komakech.
Government is planning for five regional cities i.e. Gulu, Mbarara, Mbale, Arua and Jinja municipalities and the Uganda National Planning Authority is still preparing a technical report to be submitted to the Ministry of Local Government before it is tabled in parliament for approval. Each of these cities will have two divisions.
According to the Gulu District Chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, Gulu Municipal Council authorities should begin planning for a second sports stadium in the proposed new Western Division and a golf course now. The stadium should be built to international standards.
A member of the National Planning Authority in Uganda, Professor Sam Obwoya-Kinyera, said the authority has already completed its work of drawing up a master plan for the regional cities but what is remains is the political will to implement it.
“It is in the plan to establish regional cities but implementation is another thing. It needs follow-up by your political leaders. You may require political patronage these days unlike in the past where we used to look at Uganda as Ugandans. These days we look at where we come from which matters in implementation”, says Professor Kinyera; adding that Mbarara and Arua Municipalities are far ahead of other Municipalities in terms of readiness.
Gulu Municipality plans to extend its boundaries to engulf sub-counties from neighboring districts in order to meet the basic requirement of a city in which requires a population of five hundred thousand people.
According to the Member of Parliament of Aruu North, Mr. Samuel Odonga-Otto, the establishment of regional cities is being delayed by government because it has put an embargo of creating new constituencies yet these new cities will require new Members of Parliament.
“There should be a law operationalizing it but government doesn‘t want it coming”, says the legislator.

UGANDA: WHY TIME BOUND CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE IS DIFFICULT TO PRACTISE IN NORTHERN UGANDA

“A farmer who decides to plant sorghum today, which takes six months to mature, may not get the same quantity of the yield as it was in the past. It would yield fewer crops because there is not enough rain these days. That is why we are telling farmers that agriculture is time bound. Farmers should learn to adopt climate smart practices. You should spend the least time possible to produce the same amount of crops”.
“If you are going to open your land in two weeks it means you will receive less rain by two weeks also. If it rains for three months and you plant a crop which takes three months to mature, it means your crops will be ready for harvest if you spend less time in land preparation involving the use of mechanization practices like ox-ploughs or tractors instead of getting stuck with hand hoes which takes you two weeks to open the same size of land”.
GULU-UGANDA: According to the Senior Agricultural Engineer in Gulu district, Mr. Anywar Geoffrey, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have been telling farmers in northern Uganda to practice Climate smart agriculture if they want to get profits out of their sweat but very few have embraced it.
He says farmers who plant an acre of sorghum, which takes six months to mature, may not get the same amount of the harvested sorghum today than the farmers of the past decades. It would yield fewer crops because the climate has since changed and the world now receives erratic rainfall thereby affecting our yields.
“A farmer who decides to plant sorghum today, which takes six months to mature, may not get the same quantity of the yield as it was in the past. It would yield fewer crops because there is not enough rain these days. That is why we are telling farmers that agriculture is time bound. Farmers should learn to adopt climate smart practices. You should spend the least time possible to produce the same amount of crops”, says Mr. Anywar.
He made these remarks during an ‘expert talk’ on best agricultural practices to journalists of the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) from its center in Gulu Town on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.
He advised farmers in northern Uganda to spend the least time possible in preparing their land for planting because the rainfall pattern has since changed. He said a farmer using hand hoes will take up to two weeks to open up an acre of land whereas it would take a farmer using ox-plough four days to open the same acre of land.
“If you are going to open your land in two weeks it means you will receive less rain by two weeks also. If it rains for three months and you plant a crop which takes three months to mature, it means your crops will be ready for harvest if you spend less time in land preparation involving the use of mechanization practices like ox-ploughs or tractors instead of getting stuck with hand hoes which takes you two weeks to open the same size of land”, Mr. Anywar.
This practice Mr. Anywar said is the concept behind Climate Smart Agriculture. He said it works best when farmers wisely choose the type of seeds to plant in order to make quick money instead of insisting on growing traditional indigenous seeds which are, although sweeter and more tolerant to changing weather patterns, takes more time to mature than improved seeds.
“You should select a variety which takes shorter time to mature to reduce the time spent in farming. You should plant early and if possible a farmer should prepare his/her land during the dry season. You should think ahead of time”, he said.
According to the Gulu district Local government chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, about 70% of farmers in northern Uganda are outside the money economy because they practice subsistence farming.
He says these farmers don’t have means of opening up more land and as a result they put to use less than 40% of the land they own; which is about one and half acres of land to seven acres per person.
“You cannot blame them. Using hand hoes is not feasible. By now a serious farmer should be preparing their land so that by the time rainfall starts, your seeds are already ready. Real farmers have their crops flowering by April”, says the chairman.
Farmers in northern Uganda used to own large herds of cattle before the advent of the General Yoweri Museveni’s regime 33 years ago, but these animals, which were used traditionally as indigenous bank and animal traction, were all rustled away under unclear circumstances. Although government promised cattle restocking, the program is slow and cannot solve the poverty question in the region.
According to Mr. Mapenduzi, the current government program, Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), will see Gulu district benefitting from ten pairs of oxen plus ox-ploughs to assist subsistence farmers; which according to him is still not enough to combat biting poverty.
The use of other forms of agricultural mechanizations remains restricted to large commercial farms majority if which are in Amuru and Nwoya districts. Outside these farms, small holder farmer are incapable of adopting the other forms of mechanizations involving the use of tractors, combine harvesters, hand pushed tractors and bull dozers due to the multiple barriers like land fragmentation, abundance of woodlands and lack of credits.

UGANDA: WHAT IT MEANS TO HARRIET ANENA FOR WINNING THE WOLE SOYINKA PRICE FOR LITERATURE, 2018

“I am a politically conscious person as you can see from the title- ‘A Nation in Labor’. This is a politically laden title. When we were growing up, we didn’t sleep at home at most times but we would sleep in swamps because we would fear being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels whenever they attacked the town center. If you don’t hear news that rebels have attacked, then you stay and sleep at home that day”.

GULU-UGANDA: Ms. Harriet Anena, a novice poet whose maiden book, ‘A Nation in Labor’, is the co-winner of the 2018 Wole Soyinka African Price for Literature Award together with tested Nigerian Professor Tanure Ojaide; who already boasts of twenty titles to his name. The two shared cash price of $10,000. The runner-up of this prestigious award, Mr. Sarvio Gbodamosi, is a PhD student.

“It has been great shaking the hand of the man, Wole Soyinka, for the first time. I had the opportunity to take some photographs with him. It was incredible winning this price together with people with PhDs. I first saw Wole Soyinka in Nairobi, Kenya on stage in 2015 when he was giving key note address during a writers’ symposium” says Ms. Anena.

Ms. Anena, who was born and grew up in wartime Gulu district of northern Uganda, began her writing career as a high school student of literature in 2004. She says at that time she had not yet thought of publishing a book until 2010 when she attended Femwrite ‘Book Club’.

Femwrite is an association of female writers in Uganda which mentors, encourages and supports young upcoming female members like Ms. Anena in publishing their works.

“I am a politically conscious person as you can see from the title – ‘A Nation in Labor’. This is a politically laden title. When we were growing up, we didn’t sleep at home at most times but we would sleep in swamps because we would fear being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels whenever they attacked the town center. If you don’t hear news that rebels have attacked, then you stay and sleep at home that day”, recalls Anena.

Most of the fifty-three short poems in this book are her recollections on experiences she went through during the LRA war which engulfed the region at the time she was born and the post-war recovery challenges. The shortest poem in this collection is only four lines with eleven words while the longest poem is just thirty-four lines.

“When you write every day, you feel something is amiss. You have to write. Reading is important. It can be lonely and discouraging if you don’t see the fruit”, says Anena.

Writing the Foreword of the anthology, Professor Laban Erapu of Bishop Stuart University, said this book is not a conventional collection of poems by a young untried poet but it is a mature collection by a seasoned poet who displays the mastery of a wordsmith.

“What makes this an outstanding collection of poems is the valiant spirit that is the godfather of this prodigious talent that eloquently speaks for itself from the first page to the last. I am proud to be a part of this work and humbled to have been asked to witness its birth”, writes Professor Erapu.

Who is Harriet Anena?

Ms. Anena is the fifth child in a family of eight children of retired civil servant, Mr. Moro Samuel Jackson. Her mother is a housewife.

Ms. Anena began her education at Christ Church Nursery School before joining Gulu Public Primary School in 1993. She went to Sacred Heart Secondary School in 2000 for her Ordinary Level secondary education before moving on to Gulu Central High School in 2004 where she studied Literature for the Award of Uganda Advance Certificate of Education (UACE).

She joined Makerere University in 2006 offering Bachelors’ degree in Mass Communication and she joined the same University for a Master’s degree in Human Rights in 2012.

She began her working career at the Monitor Publications Limited as a Correspondent based in Kitgum, 442 kilometers north of Kampala before moving on to work with the African Center for Media Excellence (ACME) in Kampala as the online Content Editor.

She lives in Kampala where she runs a company called Word Oven, a Ugandan editing firm.

With the Wole Soyinka Award, Harriet is focused to publishing other books which she hopes will emerge as future best sellers.