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MTN EXPO@20: Sergeant Jennifer Nyatoo’s Love and Loyalty to MTN

Jennifer Nyatoo shows her first two MTN Phones

March 15th, 2019 as part of the 20 years in service anniversary celebrations, MTN held a special luncheon for its most loyal pioneer customers who have kept with it for 20 years at Boma Hotel-Gulu

MTN Uganda is all set to start a six-month-long celebration to mark 20 years of operations in Uganda. In 1998, MTN Uganda started operations, entering the Uganda market with an initial license of 20 years. MTN has since successfully applied and has been granted a 10-year extension to its license

The campaign will happen under the theme “Celebrating the past, inspiring the future”

In an exclusive classy and extravagant party in Gulu, to give back to its customers for their loyalty and love, MTN gave out gifts, recognized the contribution of many and accounted for what 20 years means to them.

In attendance other than the MTN dignitaries were Minister Henry Okello Oryem (Minster of State for Foreign Affairs and MP Chwa East), Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Maj. Santo Okot Lapolo.Celebrity Artist Jackie Chandiru, The Queen of the Nile treated her guests to a thrilling show defying odds and promised to get back to the top where she belongs in the music industry.

Today, a phone is a basic human need that even my illiterate grandmother in the village can afford to have and manage. But what did it mean to have a phone 20 years ago?

In this blog, I share with you the testimony of Retired Sergeant Jennifer Nyatoo (Private then) who was so impressed with MTN for loving them back to recognize them and offer them gifts after 20 years.

Jennifer was so thrilled when she received her call inviting her for a party at the Northern Paradise-Boma Hotel. Jennifer said, this call was as important as the call she received on her MTN phone of her promotion to Sergent.

Jennifer then decided to come along to the party with her first two phones. She says, “It was too prestigious to own a phone and as a lady in uniform she had to save her salary and sell her goat to buy her first phone at 180,000/- Uganda Shillings”

Twenty years ago, this was a lot of money as her salary was only 44,050 Uganda Shillings. Since then she has never changed her number. She remains in love with MTN and loyal to their service.

Mario Puzo, an American Author and Journalist once said, “The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” Jennifer’s greatest loyalty has been to her country and to MTN and has won her recognition and respect.

In Jennifer’s life we learn that loyal and love has its own way of rewarding us. Therefore, find something or idea to be loyal to and be patient for it to pay. This could be family and this could as well still be MTN.

Kudos MTN. Congratulations on your 20th Anniversary.

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The Politics of Porridge at Gulu University Guild Race

Gulu University’s Guild Porridge Contest

By David Martin Aliker

In 1996, at the climax of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) conflict, a young ambitious lawyer who had previously been elected President of the then prestigious Makerere University Students Guild Norbert Mao competed against Former Minister Hon. Betty Bigombe.

Norbert Mao recognized that Hon. Betty Bigombe who had the backing of the state had more resources than him and stood a better chance to win in the MP Gulu Municipality elections.

So he designed a strategy coded: “Tuki Iya, Pe Ituki Wiya.”  literally meaning you may play around with my stomach but not my mind in making a decision in this election.

This were times when electorates listened to ideas and Hon. Betty Bigombe lost the election despite governments heavy campaign funding and involvement to influence outcomes of the elections.

A few days ago, students of Gulu University based in the same Gulu Municipality started their campaigns to elect its Students Guild President.

One of its contestants launched his campaign with a porridge contest and all competitors required, was to turn up with a big bowel for porridge.

In his opinion, this is a strategy to unite students of Gulu University and of course feed their empty bellies.

Electorates are currently trying to make sense of this strategy hence this blog post.This has generated a lot of online debate on the strategic nature of his proposition.

As a student, porridge was a preserve for the poor students or low cost colleges as others enjoyed coffee and tea.

It was also offensive for your mind to be referred to as full of porridge for not getting right a simple question.

In any case, the philosophy of porridge is that it may be cool on top but really hot inside. Could this be the real identity of the candidate? Only time will tell.

However, if my experience in the last unsuccessful Gulu Mayoral election is anything to go by; then this is a potentially winning strategy.

We live in unique times where ideas are not necessarily important to win elections but identity with the poorest electorates.

Politically, this is a strategy that immediately gets your message across and introduces you instantly to the electorates.

The candidate is speaking the language of his electorates and there is a possibility that majority of electorates whose lives relate to the porridge philosophy will identify with it.

This could be those from humble backgrounds (read poor) who could be the majority poor students vote.

It’s politically correct to identify with the poor electorates who normally determine the winners of the election since their turn up and commitment is guaranteed.

But step back and get to think it of it; what does this strategy say of the University as a fountain of the intelligentsia of our community? Are ideas still important at our University elections?

In the most likely event that this candidate wins the election, would the public contend that our university students voted for porridge? Is porridge (food) the only thing that unites our University students?

This are not questions that deserves answers but reflections. In most cities, their university is their identity. For instance, University of Minnesota, University of Toronto, University of Nairobi, University of Cape Town. What identity do we want?

This election is not just about the University’s identity but also about the identity of the post war new city-Gulu just like its name Gulu University.

In view of the fact that Hon. Norbert Mao later became a distinguished local and national leader and President of the Democratic Party (a contender of the presidency of the country); the university therefore is where our leaders are natured.

The type of local leaders we will have is exactly what we have produced while at the University.

The author is a blogger based in Gulu and can be reached on mdaliker@gmail.com

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Hon. Okin P.P’s Election Shines a Ray of Hope for Acholi Parliamentary Group (AGP)

Hon.Okin P.P

Early this week, Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) elected Hon. Okin Polly Phillip as its new Chairman.

Hon. Okin P.P is also an elected member of parliament for Chua West County, Kitgum District.

Besides, serving as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Local Government Accounts, Hon. Okin will have an uphill task to restore public confidence and cohesion in the current Acholi Parliamentary Group.

Acholi Parliamentary Group was formed in 1989 to address pressing issues that affected Acholi sub-region at the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA insurgency.

The group was essential in brokering peace to return in the region and it currently seeks to lobby for development for the Acholi people.

Bickering and personal vendetta is threatening to split the Acholi Parliamentary Group into two splinter groups.

One group is led by Hon. Odonga Otto, Aruu County Member of Parliament (MP)  and the mainstream is led by Hon. Ogenga Latigo, Agago North Member of Parliament (MP)

As of 2018 out of the 25 members, nine had reportedly left the group and also withdrawn their monthly 200,000 shillings contribution to the group. 

Historically, distinguished Acholi leaders were recognized for the position they took while representing the interest and aspirations of their people.

Ironically, Acholi leaders today are known for their wealth accumulated while in office than causes and ideas they identify with to lead their people.

While past Acholi leaders were selfless, our current leaders are so selfish that they would ask their mothers to strip naked to defend their land but be the first to receive compensation for the same land before their mothers are even dressed.

Distinguished Acholi leaders like Arch Bishop Janani Loum were known for their honesty as a leading voice of the voiceless in criticizing the excesses of President Idi Amin’s regime as he protested against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances of civilians and soldiers. 

The death of political leaders like Tiberio Okeny Atwoma, signaled one of the last phases in the end of a golden era of some of the best politicians the Acholi has ever seen. He is remembered as the ‘bulldozer’ who valued human rights.

He is seen by many observers as a hardworking, transparent and honest man who stood his ground no matter the circumstances, to see that human rights are observed.

Cultural leaders like the late Rwot Justine Acana I, the Rwot Payira of Acholi (head of Acholi clan chiefs) left a legendary legacy for protecting land rights of his people at great peril but remained firm even before the adversity of the colonial powers.

So how are we going to remember Acholi leaders of today? Will we remember them for their hotels or the size of the cars they drive?

When shall we see our leaders representing us and still believe they are genuine and not just political merchants bargaining against us behind closed doors where our pedestrian eyes can’t see?

Hon. Okin PP, this is the team you lead today. It is an insurmountable task as we see today and so did the task the great Acholi leaders that I referred to faced in their time.

Hon. Okin PP your election as evidenced on social media brings us a ray of hope that the real purpose of Acholi Parliamentary Group as designed by its founders may take a new trajectory of progress towards Unity and Development.

May the wisdom and intelligence of our forefathers like Tiberio Okeny, who also represented Chua constituency in the 1994 Constituency Assembly that paved the way for the making of the 1995 Uganda Constitution,inspire you to lead Acholi Parliamentary Group to unity and progress of their people.

As you lead Acholi arm yourself with tolerance and endurance to back up the wisdom and intelligence that you have attained from the roots of our ancestry to be resilient as our torchbearer to flush the light of development and unity for Acholi to prosper.

The Acholi Agenda not designed by us but as set by the unique political circumstance we find ourselves in, is the land question in Acholi.

The fate of our land is our fate and that of our children. What you will do and how you will defend it and promote its access for use by our people to enhance development will be the hallmark of your legacy as a leader.

In your team are some great souls with clean hands and intentions, identify them; in your team are elders, tap from their wisdom; in your team are some successful political merchants, win their hearts and tap from their talents, put to good use their talents.

We hope with your leadership, Acholi will constructively engage government on land and the aspiration of the Acholi will be realized.

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Gulu’s Rising Film Industry

Every generation is remembered by the cause they choose to get involved in and how they change its trajectory by taking action.

Gulu experienced a new phenomenon in yet another movie locally made and offering a voice to its youths on their every day experience.

Nuhood Films,Fesivo Pictures and Signature Films are the brains behind this new sensational movies.

The double  movie premier of Save a Mother and Shame of Puberty were a great inspiration that The President General of Uganda’s oldest Party-Democratic Party Hon. Nobert Mao described it as “one of his most unforgettable nights in 2018.”

At 6:00pm the gates were open and rivellers marched straight to a ready backdrop for a photo moment with their new celebrities.

On screen were slides showcasing the shooting of the movies and complements to local supporting organizations.

The MC of the night Lucky Da Ladies Wine was well dressed and kept rivellers wanting more of his jokes as ladies giggled the night away.

Pre-Event Entertainment

The curtain raiser was Gulu’s youngest Hip Hop sensation Young Kemboy. He did renditions of his own song with great stage movement and gestures to the amazement of guests calling himself “bad boy”

There after were guest performances from Cameroon futuring Daughy Fresh, O’Kreezy,CMB of Valley Curve Records.

The Luo Revolution Dancers brought more life to stage with exceptional dancing strokes showing exceptional skills.

Sherry Princess crowned the day with great vocals and lyrics that rivellers sung to as they entertained themselves.

The Movies

Save a Mother is a story of maternal health challenges that mothers go through during deliveries and how simple things like not having Mama Kits could cost their lives. In the movie Daphine dies because she is too poor to afford mama kits and nurses neglect her.

In the second movie, Akello’s puberty experience of menstration makes her drop out of school because they are so poor to afford Medicare and Sanitary pads.

She laters learns to makes cheap re-useable sanitary pads and resumes school and becomes an agent of change..

In both movies the theme of poverty comes out exceedingly well with the help of great actors with strong characters. This indeed is the every day story of the poor living in our communities.

The  Panel Discussion.

This was the climax of the informative and entertaining event.

Guest were treated to great remarks on the film from Stephen Komakech of Irene Gleason Foundation (IGF); and reputable charity worker and Director of Christian Counseling Fellowship(CCF) Achan Alice. She reiterated the commitment of CCF on their mandate to save mothers and support girls to resume school after giving birth. Her message was “Pregnancy or no pregnancy, no girl should be denied access to education.”

In Hon. Mao’s remarks he castigated government on distributing free condoms and failing to distribute free sanitary pads. He said this is practising inequality. “If men and women are equal, why are there no lorries distributing free sanitary pads like they do for condoms” Mao remarked.

Mao also urged local government leaders to support such initiatives of young people.

The moderator of the panel discussion was Stephen Balmoi who did his job with great experience,class and professionalism asking great interview questions.

Over and above, this experience was a true testimony of the power of the film industry in advocacy and how young people can use their talent to voice out their concerns for their community as active and responsible citizens.

The Smiling Panda Bar and Restaurant remains the best venue to premier movies in northern Uganda and as an entertainment spot. Like the sub title of the movie mentioned, no voice raised is too small.

 

 

Gulu Gets First Beauty and Fashion International College

By David Martin Aliker

Be sure what you want and be sure about yourself. Fashion is not just beauty, it’s about good attitude. You have to believe in yourself and be strong. Adriana Lima

As a Corporate Master of Ceremony (MC) based in Gulu, northern Uganda, I have noticed that most corporate weddings in northern Uganda hire the services of Kampala Fashion Designers and Beauticians. Why are are we not confident of our own fashion designers and beauticians?

A wedding is a lifetime milestone that most times happens only once in a life time. Imagine your wedding as the most important day in your life and your beautician fails to show up from Kampala or you fail to make it for your wedding because of the often public transport challenges we all experience on Gulu-Kampala road?

While northern Uganda does not lack talented fashion designers and beauticians, those in Kampala have developed a professional brand to their business.

Beauticians and fashion designers like any profession thrive on training to develop expertise.

Unfortunately, the mindset in northern Uganda is that fashion designers and beauticians are for Kampala slay queens who don’t mind looking like stray girls of the night life.

Emilliana Fashion and Beauty International College is the first of its kind established in Gulu, northern Uganda to train professional fashion designers and beauticians that can meet the demand of northern Uganda’s international guests and Residents. The School is located in Pece Division, African Quarters, Musa Ali Road, Plot 5.Gulu Municipal.

Class in progress

In one year, they have already enrolled 68 students for its two years program with support from Comboni Samaritans and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

The School offers Uganda National Examination Board recognized Diploma in 2 years and 1 Year certificate course.

Its fees structure like any other secondary school in northern Uganda is affordable. Students are expected to pay six hundred thousand Shillings (600,000/=) per term for its diploma program and four hundred and fifty thousand (450,000) for certificate courses. Students are expected to bring along their own requirements.

The School also offers day and evening programs to enable those who are working to join them and learn how to make extra money from their passions.

“We hope to train beauticians and fashion designers who understand people’s shape and skin color for makeups and dressing.” remarked one of the school administrators.

The schools greatest challenge is that some instructors have to travel from Kampala because northern Uganda does not have qualified and experienced instructors for Cosmetology and fashion and design.

However, in two years graduates from this school stand a chance of getting employed in the school depending on their passions and performance.

In the meantime, the school is partnering with Tina International School of Beauty in Kampala.

“I got inspired to join this school because every time I pay for a beauty therapy artist to work on my nails and make up; most of them are from Kampala and I keep imagining how much they make to keep them in the business in northern Uganda.” remarked Brenda a student and former graduate of Gulu University.

According to the College Director, more local beauticians and fashion designers need to be more creative and professional. She encourages people to join the fashion and beauty world to be able to create more jobs and compete with the rest of the world.

Emilliana Fashion and Beauty International School was privileged a few months ago to be visited by Miss Uganda in her regional tours and she encouraged them to show case Beauty from northern Uganda to the world.

Finally, Gianni Versace an Italian fashion designer once said, “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” Emilliana Fashion and Beauty International School is here to enable us express ourselves by way of dressing and beauty.

For inquiries, you can reach out to Emiliana Fashion and Beauty International School at: Email: Emillianafashion497@gmail.com

Tel: 0780956888

The author is a Blogger based in Gulu and can be reached on mdaliker@gmail.com

FUFA DRUM: ACCOUNTABILITY Vs IMPUNITY DEBATE!

Poster Advertising Acholi Vs West Nile Game

By David Martin Aliker

In the last one week, there has been a great concern on accountability for the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) Drum football games between Teams Acholi and West Nile.

Acholi Technical Management Committee (TMC) released a financial report to FUFA that seem to contradict the report they gave to their fans.

On Sunday, Team Lango that played against Buganda and had a good attendance but in a clear observation was less than the attendance at Pece Stadium when Acholi Province played against West Nile Province.

Lango TMC declared that they raised eighty one million shillings (81m) while previously Acholi TMC declared sixty one million shillings (61m).

There is no doubt that Acholi Province Technical Management Committee (TMC) is a very competent, hard working group of passionate volunteers. They have over time done commendable work with the highest level of integrity and dignity.

But this time round, there is a lot of doubt, distrust and low public opinion of their accountability.

Many fans who think they care about the future of the game think, this issue should be ignored and it should be business as usual. But another school of thought who stand impunity can’t think this issue should be challenged and that Acholi TMC should come clean.

Acholi TMC has in their ranks very reputable public characters with unique public standing hence the confidence entrusted to them to lead Acholi Province. The individual silence of these personalities on the issue of accountability who are reputed for honesty is so loud. Is this all about collective responsibility or it’s because ‘fish begins to rot from the head?

Tomorrow is Thursday, TMCs proposed date for a comprehensive accountability. Other than figures, these are issues that can guide you to restore public confidence.

Lapeny pe labal is a proverb in Acholi. Since it’s not wrong to ask questions; I have 10 questions that should enhance accountability.

10 Questions to TMC

In 2009, American Rapper 50 Cents played a song titled 21 Questions. In the lyrics of the song, he asked,” Would you love me if I was down and out? Its 2019 and 10 years since he played the song and I have only 10 questions after which TMC can ask,” Would you love me if I was down and out?.

  1. Other than the sealed FUFA tickets, where there any other an authorized printed tickets?
  2. In your report to FUFA, it was signed by one Makmot. Was he permitted to act on your behalf or he impersonated as a member of Acholi TMC?
  3. Did you write receipts on making payments to all your volunteers?
  4. One 04 served you as sales representative and claims his remittance has not been reflected in your accountability. Is it true he handed to you as a team 2.8million Shillings?
  5. Did TMC permit all the sales persons (volunteers inclusive) and sales points? If not who were your official delegated sales persons?
  6. Did Acholi TMC approve the financial report sent to FUFA on its letter head signed by your representative Lamex?
  7. Is it true that your bouncers were paid at different rates with no receipts and requested not to speak up with the corporate bouncers? If so, who did you delegate to make payments?
  8. In your FUFA report, it indicates you paid for a public address system at 1.2 million shillings. Is this true? If so, which service provider?
  9. Did Acholi TMC delegate a member to receive money from MPs on its behalf? If so, has it been reflected in your official report to FUFA?
  10. Was money counted, saved and disbursed from Gulu District Council in accordance to your plan?

In the event that most answers to this questions is a YES, then its only imperative that the responsible persons have to ask the fans the same question, Would you love me if I was down and out? To answer this question one has to also question their own morality whether they stand for impunity or against impunity.

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “It’s wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” While the public may never hold any volunteers to be criminally liable; the reputation of this members if proven so  remains dented as corrupt and undeserving members of this society and what the leadership decides to do after failing to meet public confidence is how it will be remembered in the future.

Author is a Blogger based in Gulu.

How Football is Uniting Northern Uganda.

By David Martin Aliker

Last Sunday, more than five hundred Acholi football fans travelled to Lira to support their Langi brothers who were competing against Buganda at the FUFA Drum football competition.

This was to reciprocate the gesture by Lango football fans who previously came in a big number to support Acholi as they played against Westnile.

In both games Lango and Acholi lost to their visiting teams but the fans never lost but gained more love and friendship from each other.

The FUFA Drum is an idea inspired by the management of football in the country to inspire unity and love for football in the country.

But where did this love for each other between Acholi fans and Lango fans begin ?

A year ago, in the first FUFA Drum football competition between Teams Acholi and Lango that took place in Lira; something unique happened after the host team Lango lost.

A business woman famously known as Arao Susan who owns Gastapo Bar at Ojok Oyite lane in Lira in the company of her bar patrons invited successful Acholi fans to her bar and freely offered them 6 crates of beer.

The fans who were organizing to travel back to Gulu decided to extend the time of their journey back home.

This gesture moved the fans to party mood and the celebration went on till late. As the party went on, other bars that loved the good gesture invited Acholi fans and hosted them to more partying.

In return, Acholi fans from their base in Guru Guru Bar in cemetery road decided to reciprocate the gesture and host Lango fans to a two day party after a return match and this sparked great love.

It’s important to note that historically,there were hard feelings between the two ethnic groups since the Langi blamed Acholi for bringing down a government led by their own son President Milton Obote.

But this simple gesture of a drink is changing the narrative of this two ethnic groups that have so much in common to agree about than to disagree on.

Prior to the match last Sunday, Acholi team that was playing in Karamoja passed by and delivered a gift of a bull to their Langi counterparts after they felt indebted to the huge support they gained from their Langi counterparts when they played Westnile.

During last Sunday’s celebrations in Lira, Gastapo again pioneered a platform on WhatsApp and called it Acholi/Lango Platform to keep and maintain the harmonious relationship currently shared among this two ethnic groups.

Already, Westnile is in the hook. When Acholi hosted them a few weeks ago, despite losing Acholi Paramount Chief hosted them to a party and many mini parties were organized by fans in love with each other.

Unexpectedly, this party took two days and now they are planning to keep the love at all cost.

It’s also important to note that historically, Westnile had nostalgic feelings about the Acholi for perpetuating atrocities in the past regime blaming Acholi military leaders for especially the Ombaci Masacre while Acholi leaders blamed them for the killings by President Amins soldiers. Amin hailed from Westnile.

All this unfortunate narratives have been broken down by football.

It’s important to note that this new initiative has no formal structure of leadership. It’s like any informal grassroots movement that desires a leadership with a clear idea on how to nature and promote and protect this new found love.

In conclusion, the love for football has united the north and enabled them to put to past their unfortunate history. Every one’s biggest fear is politicians and the electoral season that is due. Every generation chooses how it ought to be remembered. Northern Uganda should shun any one who will come in between this unity and love for each other.

The author is a Blogger based in Gulu.

Gulu to Plant One Million Trees Every Planting Season

By David Martin Aliker

Today Gulu which will soon turn into a city is celebrating for the first time World Environment Day.

CEED Uganda organized a community dialogue with support from GIZ in partnership with Gulu District Local Government, Ker Kwaro Acholi, Advance Africa,Gulu University and Afrigreen Sustain.

The theme of the dialogue is: Fight Air Pollution to Protect Human Health and Environment.

A few days ago, great pictures of a green Gulu captured the attention of the nation.

Social media was awash with praises and complements for Gulu’s leadership. But how prepared is the district to keep Gulu Green and it’s zero tolerance to its air pollution? How can Gulu engage its community to promote and protect its environment in a sustainable manner in view of the prevailing large scale tree cutting for commercial purpose?

According to World Health Organization (WHO) Ugandans are more likely to die from air pollution than those in Tanzania, Rwanda, and twice as likely as those in Kenya.

Uganda lacks real-time, sufficient and publicly accessible air quality monitoring network. Scarcity of reliable data and air pollution exposure information is a major issue in Uganda.

Air pollution in Uganda is driven by rapid urbanization and population growth in urban areas.

Uganda’s dirty air is characterized by smoke from car exhaust, industry, residential trash burning, road dust, and soot from indoor biomass-fuelled cookstoves for cooking.

Air pollution in Uganda has reached worrying levels and exposes people to health risks.

The number of respiratory tract infections has soared in the recent past – a warning that air pollution is rapidly becoming a serious environmental threat.

Several studies have linked mounting respiratory tract infections such as asthma and chronic bronchitis to air pollution.

The effects can be extremely serious. Research shows a connection between air pollution and lung cancer, and suggests it may contribute to childhood mortality.

Gulu District is currently one of the leading districts in the country’s urbanization process with a high influx of internal migration.

Way forward

Gulu District is already working on an ordinance to manage its environment in a very sustainable way. Ker Kwaro Acholi in partnership with Gulu District Local Government is commendably working on this ordinance, it’s challenges not withstanding. The involvement and participation of the community remains a major challenge for the community to own up to this idea.

The Program Director of Ceed Uganda, Benard Loum speaking at this event on behalf of the commitment of civil society made a pronouncement that they commit to ensuring that one million tress are planted every planting season.

Just like other cities around the world, Gulu must ban the most polluting cars from entering city centers as its zero-emission zones and regulate its urban transport system. It must also promote the use of environmentally friendly cooking stoves and abolish random residential trash burning in the city.

As we celebrate World Environment Day, Gulu must move from talking to action. There is need to involve the cultural institutions and grassroots organizations on how to promote, protect and restore the environment.

The Blogger is an Author and member of Gulu Writers Club

Past Conflicts Responsible for Current Lawlessness in Arua

By David Martin Aliker

The Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Arua Alice Akello has lamented past conflicts as responsible for the current lawlessness in Arua.

“Today the youths here do not listen to elders and authority any more but are busy consuming drugs and alcohol hence an increase in mob justice.”

The Deputy RDC Alice Akello was opening a workshop organized by Refugee Law Project at Desert Breeze Hotel in Arua.

The theme of the workshop was, “Realizing Justice for Conflict-affected Women in West Nile: Which Way Forward?”

This workshop was attended by civil servants, opinion leaders, members of civil society, religious leaders and cultural leaders who are major stakeholders in addressing current conflict needs in Arua.

In her remarks, the Deputy RDC commended Refugee Law Project for working with government to address justice needs resulting from past conflicts.

She urged different civil society organizations to partner with government to address the current challenges of the youths to guarantee a great future for the youths.

Refugee Law Project (RLP) has been engaging in setting the agenda and influencing local and international stakeholders’ perspectives on critical TJ issues within Uganda and the region since 2006.

With funding from European Union, RLP periodically convenes Justice Tafakari Forums which are platforms that bring together likeminded actors from civil society organizations, opinion leaders such as religious and cultural leaders, legal and political actors, as well as the media fraternity to reflect on the processes, progress, challenges and opportunities for RLP and partners who work within the local, national and international justice structures.

RLP Manager Jackson Odong reiterated that there is need for leaders to be informed about current justice needs of women so that they speak from an informed point of view.

Jackson inquired if current leaders understand adequately the harms that women have suffered in the past conflicts.

Jackson also wondered how this justice needs for victims can be addressed so that victims can heal.He inquired whether village courts are good enough to address this issues or whether current international justice processes at the ICC is addressing adequately their justice needs.

A representative of victims of the Ombaci Massacre wondered the position of government on victims receiving justice. He said government does not express itself clearly whether they are against victims receiving justice or whether they intend to get involved in supporting them to access justice.

He also lamented the fact that over time, locals have ignored their plea and no longer speak on their plight as RLP does.

The one day workshop was the second Justice Tafakari Forum discussion in West Nile.The first one took place in Adjumani, both areas of long standing conflicts in northern Uganda.

Author is a Blogger based in Gulu

Striker Tito Okello Eyeing Uganda Cranes Dream.

Tito Okello after scoring against West Nile

By David Martin Aliker

Saturday 11th, 2019 as Manchester City was tussling it out with Liverpool to determine who the Champions of English Premier League 2018/2019 were; in Uganda’s Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) Drum, Acholi were playing West Nile in a thrilling match at the Green Light Stadium in Arua.

More than one thousand fans from Acholi traveled for more than 4 hours to Arua to witness this clash with last years’ runners up in the FUFA Drum Tournament.

Ordinarily, local football fans would have preferred to watch Manchester City play against Liverpool in the English Premiership League finals but something was different; a new breed of local football stars locally groomed had inspired a new sensation with local football under FUFA’s Drum Football Initiative.

The FUFA Drum is a football competition that is played by the 16 provinces of Uganda and is aimed at taking the game to the masses and its theme is ‘Celebrating Our Ancestry’

The FUFA Drum second edition is getting more exciting by the day as top contenders are losing in the first rounds and it may in the end; prove to be the most thrilling since the tournament’s inception last year.

One such player is a lanky center forward Tito Okello alias OT9 (1996) currently plying his trade for Vipers Football Club (Vipers FC).

Previously, Tito has played at Bul F.C (Jinja), Tanzanian duo of African Lyon and Mbeya City (Tanzania) as well as the reigning Uganda Premier league champions Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA).

Humble Beginnings

Like all stars with humble beginnings, their past is rarely known as they strive to become stars.

As a pupil of UNIFAT Primary School, Tito was a young and tiny player known for playing among the big boys at Kaunda Grounds in an Under 12 program by Alliance for African Assistance, a local charity with a focus on children.

In June 2004 when Trevor Dudley, the founder of Kampala Kids League (KKL) launched another league in Gulu; Tito got the opportunity to play in the Gulu Kids League (GKL) and excelled.

After the tournament, the Diocesan Football Club (D.F.C) identified him and recruited Tito to their club.

While at Diocesan Football Club, Tito was invited to join Gulu University Club then Coached by Peter Onen (Bul F.C) to participate in the Regional League.

It’s at this stage that Gulu University Football Club joined the big league but Tito would then win himself a slot at a real professional contract paid up league of players at Bul F.C where Peter Onen currently is Coach.

From Bul F.C, Tito got his first international opportunity to play for the Tanzanian duo of African Lyon and Mbeya City (Tanzania) and eventually returned to Uganda Premier league champions Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA).

It’s from KCCA that Tito had a brief stint in Asia with China based top football club, House of Sport Lisboae Benfica (Benfica De Macau) and eventually back to Uganda’s Vipers F.C with a focus on a national duty.

Cranes Dream

In October 2016, Tito told a Chimps Report journalist that,” I am working hard to put myself in the best shape possible not only for the team but also to catch the eye of the national team bench”

If this dream is anything to go by, then Uganda National Team Head Coach Sébastien Desabre must know that Tito’s eyes are on him and his team.

As evidenced, Tito has matured in the game and gained the much needed experience, talents and spectacular skills for national duty.

Patriotic Tito seem to have had his eyes on a national call up since resigning his professional stint in China and returning to play in the top national premier league.

Tito currently leads the scoring chart with 4 goals, with 1 goal against Karamoja, 2 goals against Bunyoro and 1 goal against West Nile where he also won the Man of the Match FUFA Awards.He has scored in all Drum 2019 matches.

As Uganda braces itself to play hosts and record tournament winners Egypt in group A alongside Zimbabwe and two-time African Cup of Nations (AFCON) winners Democratic Republic of Congo (winners in 1968 and 1974); there is a hungry Elephant waiting to blow its trumpet in Egypt.

The author is a Gulu Blogger and a member of Gulu Writers Club

Email: mdaliker@gmail.com

Why You Must Attend Ceed’s Gulu Go Green Marathon

Gulu Go Green,2019

By Aliker David Martin

Historically, the geographical place called Gulu was believed to have acquired its name from its environment.

It is reported that around 1910, a British man stood under a thick hermaphroditic Olam tree and asked for the name of the place with a fig tree (Olam) of the species of ficus sycamores which can live up to 800 years.

It’s at this point that water used to flow making that noise gulugulugulugulu….This water flowed from underground, and flowed north all the way to Oyitino dam, the storage site for today’s  Gulu municipal water supply.

It is his limited words that made him capture the historical moment by referring to the place in reference to the noise water made that gave Gulu its name.

Gulu will be hosting its second conference in a month on its environment on 26th April, 2019 organized by Ceed in partnership with Gulu District Local Government (GDLG).

Ceed is a non for profit organization that seeks to empower young people to become the most positive change agents in their communities.

Last week, April 11th -12th, 2019 Cambridge Centre of African Studies, Makerere University School of Social Sciences, Gulu University, Human Rights Focus (Gulu), and the Centre for African Research (Gulu) hosted a major international conference on Rethinking Sustainable

Development from Northern Uganda  at Bomah Hotel, Gulu.

So why is the environment becoming of interest to Gulu’s academia, NGOs and the people of Gulu?

Post-war northern Uganda is facing a multidimensional environmental crisis at present, involving deforestation, land grabbing, destructive resource extraction, unsustainable urbanization and climate change.

Environmental justice has been ignored by post-war transitional justice, peace-building, and reconstruction agendas among key actors, graft is getting deeply rooted in the regulation of these environmental crimes and valuable tree species like Shea nut trees and Afrizelia Africana (Beyo) trees are being destroyed.(Arthur Owor,2019)

A year ago, I opined in Chimpreports an Online News Source my opinion on, “Climate Change: Gulu Going Green in Preparation for City Status.”

In this article, I reiterated that Gulu Municipal had started the process of integrating its Green City Action Plan into its Development Plan.

Gulu Municipality through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) in partnership with Global Green Growth Initiative (GGGI) were piloting the green growth model of development to develop the Gulu Green Growth Action Plan (GGGAP) to integrate green growth in its Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

This included mainstreaming climate adaptation and mitigation strategies into all aspects of the municipal policies, planning and projects; and incorporating policies to help implement the municipal’s plans for high-density urban development into all sectors and to integrate social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects into housing policies.

Ceed therefore, intends to complement Gulu Municipal’s efforts in the process of integrating its Green City Action Plan into a reality

In its third edition of the annual Gulu Go Green Conference for the 2019, its rallying theme is “Carbon Offset, Our Responsibility”.

So what is our responsibility as stakeholders?

Our responsibility is to act now to avert the negative consequences of climate change and make Gulu city a Green City.

You can act now by attending the conference scheduled for Friday 26th, April 2019 from 2:00 pm-5:00pm at Boma Hotel in Gulu.

Other than the conference, you may register to participate in the Gulu Go Green Marathon on 28th April, 2019 to create awareness on Greening Gulu.

Finally, the Gulu Go Green Campaign is a community’s call to live in an environmentally friendly place in line with the city’s vision of a Transformed, Industrial, Hospitable and Sustainable City.

So attend the marathon and receive seedlings and at the convenience of your home, plant a tree in your compound every year and conserve the environment to make Gulu a Green City.

The Author is a Blogger Based in Gulu and a member of Gulu Writers Club(GWC)

Email: mdaliker@gmail.com

Gulu Gets its First Lingerie Only Shop

XO’s Lingerie World in Gulu

By Aliker David Martin

Ugandan media a few weeks ago was awash with debates on Miss Curvy contest and how it can promote Tourism.
The State Minister for Tourism Mr. Kawanda Godfrey Ssubi supported this event by saying, “Uganda’s Miss Curvy is meant to promote beauty in diversity.”
Uganda is honestly blessed with well curved beautiful women with big boobs and booty.

But where do they find fitting bras and underpants?
Have you ever imagined up country where our sizable ladies find fitting bras and underpants. Certainly, their plight is left to the indignity of buying second hand bras and underpants bought in bails and never bought in the open.
Their sense of fashion and design is more reason to think ladies from up country barely understand the latest fashion and design.
A few Chinese nylon new panties are also an option in the market sold by vendors at the park and road side markets.
According to an online health expert, a healthy lady should replace her underwear every three to five months.
As Gulu gears up to become a city, this will no more be the plight of your sizable and model looking ladies.
XO’s Lingerie World has opened its doors to ladies who appreciate and understand trending Lingerie.
Last Sunday, XO’s Lingerie World launched its products at O’café Open Mic Sunday Show.
A group of Models were identified to showcase the beauty of having this Lingerie on; giving its guests new meaning in looking great inside as well as outside.
If a lady feels good when well dressed from the outside, how good does it feel to look and feel good both in and out?
XO’s Lingerie World product variety includes: matching bras and panties in all sizes and wide variety of fashions, shape wear, swimwear, nightwear and hosiery.
In the event that your preference is unavailable, it takes them two weeks to import their products from the UK.
This products can be found in their shop above Sinabel Super Market.

The CEO of XO’s Lingerie World, who also doubles as the CEO of Artisan Apparel -Uganda Ketty Promise says,”They intend to redefine Lingerie fashion and design up north of Uganda.”

She also says, their next event will be to show case men’s Lingerie.
It’s price ratings are: panty sets are 130.000, single panties range from 10k to 20k bras in different sizes range from 50,000, 80,000, 100,000, 150,000, swimsuits 40,000 upwards, nighties from 50,000 upwards.
While this costing may worry a hand out minded post conflict community, the life style industry is not for your every day hassle but trending and fashion geek slay queens .
Besides, one wonders how much would you pay to avoid the indignity of a second hand bra or panties that possibly has lost shape.
Why not regain back your pride and freedom to dress how you feel by avoiding products that sends butterflies in your stomach when shopping by the road side and a passer-by can’t allow you the freedom to make a choice.
The Easter Season is at hand and the Open Mic Festival is scheduled for 20th April,2019.

It’s also a moment for gifts and surprises.
The men who like to see them on should love to pay for them too. Change the tide in your relationship surprise your loved ones with a trending Lingerie from XO’s Lingerie World.

XO’s Lingerie Products

The author is a Blogger based in Gulu

Email: mdaliker@gmail.com


Article Review: Assessing the Health Risks of Consuming ‘Sachet’ Alcohol in Acoli, Uganda

By Aliker David Martin

Last week, Daily Monitor reported on a Study that found deadly metals in sachet Waragi sold in Acholi. 

This is a scientific scholarly article of more ten thousand words in over than twenty pages

In this blog post, my intention is to review this scholarly article to a more user friendly and shorter article. 

Since it’s a scientific report and I am from the arts orientation, there is a higher chance I would not digest this reading in totality but hope to make meaning from it like any literate.

The Research article, “Assessing the health risks of consuming ‘sachet’ alcohol in Acoli, Uganda” is the work of 3 distinguished scholars. 

Other than Tom Juma whose original nationality is not known to the blogger, Ochan Otim (PhD) and Dr.Olara Otunu are Ugandans hailing from Acholi sub region. 

The blogger believes this could have inspired their interest in this research in view of the fact that the authors received no particular funding from any publicly known research funding agency for this research.

The scholars Ochan Otim (PhD) is from the Department of Humanities and Sciences, University of California—Los Angeles, California. 

Tom Juma identifies with the Environmental Monitoring Division, City of Los Angeles, Playa Del Rey, California.

Olara Otunu is Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, New York, New York, United States of America respectively and former President of Uganda People’s Party (UPC).

Catherine Haighton, Northumbria University, UK of Plos One Journal edited this work. Plos One is a nonprofit open-access science, technology and medicine publisher, innovator and advocacy organization with a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature under an open-content license.

Introduction:

As an introduction, the scholars opin that the sub-Saharan countries of Africa are currently experiencing an increase in adult mortality partly believed to be due to the heavy consumption of cheaply and widely available spirits in the region. Acholi sub region is referred to as a case in point.

To define the context of their research, the authors use Acholi sub region as their sample study area and share details on the Acholi demography.

The conflict background of the Acholi community is also placed into perspectives. This later helps to illustrate the factors driving alcohol production and consumption in Acoli.

In comparison, the scholars argue that historically, the cultural or recreational consumption of alcoholic beverages (wholly unrefined or ‘opaque beers’ in current lexicon) in Acoli was a highly controlled social affair, going as far back as the ‘discovery’ of fermentation (immortalized in a classic Acoli play Yom Cwiny Oneko Latina–Generosity Kills the Generous One.)

They further argue that  most of the opaque beers (lacoi/ malwa  and kwete in Uganda, and several in Tanzania are not only rich in nutrients , but also have no known side effects.

However in today’s industrial world of technology, the scholars argue that these opaque beers have been largely replaced by industrially distilled and blended spirits sold in easily affordable sachets or tots. Ethyl alcohol (ethanol), the main intoxicant in the sachets, has no known nutritional values, but has strong physiological effects. 

They further reiterate that the sachets/tot packaged spirits do not only have higher concentrations of ethanol than the opaque beers (up to 40% by volume), but contain toxic metals and organic pollutants as well (unpublished material), or blended with toxic substances by unscrupulous producers and sellers of alcohol.

Ethanol, a prime health risk suspect

In justifying their research on Ethanol (alcohol) as a prime health risk suspect responsible for the increased mortality rate in Acoli, the scholars argue that the well established research evidence on causal relationships between alcohol consumption and cancer of the larynx, and liver is reason good enough for this study.

Study design 

In their study design, the main goal of the study was to initiate an investigation into the link between alcohol consumption and health risk in Uganda in general and Acholi region in particular. 

Their approach was to assess the health risk associated with consuming heavy metal contaminated alcoholic products sold to the former internment camp residences.

The hopes and aspiration of these scholars is that their findings will help authorities in Uganda in developing the necessary and appropriate alcohol quality assurance standards and enforcement policies to minimize health risks associated with unsafe alcohol consumption.

Materials and methods

In this study, the methodology was intensely scientific and statistical in nature. Thirteen brands of 100-mlsachet-packaged spirits were used for this study. 

These purchases were done without attempts to pick true random samples because of the logistical challenges and the restrictions encountered in attempts to collect representative samples of the sachet types sold and consumed in the study area. 

That said, they mention that much diversity as possible was included on a first encounter basis.

Factors driving alcohol production and consumption in Acoli

The Scholars also noted that while it is important to establish that alcohol consumption in the Acoli population increases health risks significantly; there were majorly 3 factors driving alcohol production and consumption in Acoli namely:• The positive effects of increased economic activities that occurred after the war.• The rise in income that came with the end of the war.• The relative peace now prevailing in the region. 

Besides these 3 factors, the scholars observed that there are also lingering negative effects of the 20-year war. For instance, deprivation of livelihood in the internment camps during the war led to other downstream effects such as trauma, idleness, depression, violence, theft and others.

Cynically, the scholars also argue that the alcohol economy may also be driven by the dynamics of national politics in which regional marginalization is often a handy tool in the hands of those in power. 

For example, the increased supply of alcohol in the region may be a conscious or sub-conscious act of regional marginalization. Alcohol production and consumption may also be deliberately encouraged to serve certain political interests.

Study limitations. 

Several factors which are known to increase health risks of alcoholic consumption were not considered in this study. For instance, lack of materials used in the production of the Ugandan spirits studied to its health risks. 

The information of the ‘pots’ used for fermentation, distillation, or for storing the distillate before packaging, for example, was not available. 

Similarly, the soil in which the grains, cassava, or the potatoes used in the brewing process are grown, and the water used during the entire production process could account for the high level of metals and the variability observed in distillates.

Conclusion

The study found that consuming sachet packaged spirits in Uganda over a lifetime correlates with pronounced health risks in the Acoli population of Uganda.

This finding emphasizes the need to include ethanol as a factor in any estimates of health risks due to the consumption of alcoholic drinks in this population.

Other than public education about the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption, fun and productive socio economic activities must be developed to engage people away from excessive drinking. 

Finally, new policies based on the principle that no amount of alcohol is safe should be adopted to address the causes of alcohol related mortality in Uganda.

The review is by a Gulu Based Blogger and can be reached on mdaliker@gmail.com

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