Press Release 31. July:
Who are we?
We are Acholi youth. We are not an organization or a political party affiliated group nor are we any political party sympathizers. Acholi Youth Agenda is an ideology that stems from the belief that Acholi Sub Region should not have this abject poverty, 83% youth unemployment, high HIV- AIDS prevalence, the current surge in malaria deaths, loss of respect for culture and identity, maternal health challenges, infrastructural depreciation, moral decay, social deconstruction….. And yet there is an abled people, a knowledgeable elite and a hardworking people that must act and act now!
We stand to welcome developmental initiatives which are sustainable in meeting the current needs of the people without compromising the abilities of the Future Generation of Acholi. On the other hand we stand to constructively condemn, refute and disassociate from acts, resolutions and alignments that fail the purpose of our coexistence as Acholi but rather meet the interest of political heads and that of persons as stakeholders.
Regardless of our political affiliations (which some of our individual members subscribe), there is a road with a pot hole waiting for any of us, there is a unequipped and failed health care system waiting for us, there is a sorry education system of UPE, USE and the dysfunctional University etc to nurture our children, there are widespread land conflicts to the disadvantage of all of us and above all, there is our proud identity to lose. The questions in Acholi are too big for politics alone to answer. It is rather one of a committed Acholi for Acholi. We need a new wave of thinking that shall develop and protect our interest. Acholi Youth Agenda is the new thinking.
• What is the new thinking and why
Every generation has a mandate to fulfill. The pre- war Acholi under the Janani Luwum (R.I.P), Adimola (R.I.P), Okeny Tiberio (R.I.P) and Erinayo Oryema did their part in keeping our land and identityintact during tough times of armed struggles, the war time leaders ushered in with a politics that cooled down the LRA war and achieved the Peace at hand. It is therefore time for a new wave of thinking to usher in conventional approaches to post war questions which a united Acholi has not yet addressed their minds to.
1. Don’t you and I have the potential to mobilize and organize fellow Acholi to realize that our commitment to governance issues makes us check our leaders and improves service delivery?
2. We have often times been neglected, noting the clear irresponsibility exhibited during the days we were in camps and the nodding syndrome and now the uncoordinated planning on use and ownership our land.
3. Can you and I walk the talk? And make demands as equal bonafide citizens of this country? The talk that we have a constitutionally granted power to influence policy, that we definitely need change?
4. Can we translate our good speeches and emotional talks to tangible and constructive action towards change? Than parading coffins on streets and moving youth to Karuma and above spreading hate speech with no tangible results.
5. Don’t we have what it takes to be in charge of this region and country?
6. Can’t we question the failed unity of our leaders? We are gifted with the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Professors, LC5 chairperson’s forum, Acholi In Diaspora andabove all Ker Kwaro Acholi but what have they done to unite us? Are we united?
7. Can we safe guard our interest by having a regional demand that any government that comes into power has to respect and undoubtedly meet?
An organized Acholi needs an agenda for which she lives to achieve. We appeal to Ugandans and International community that the acts of marching with and Burning coffins on streets of Gulu was not generally the collective voice of the Acholi, the acts of Marching to Karuma by hoodwinked hired crime preventers to block Rtd. Brig. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi or any other Politician was not the voice of the Acholi, the current ridiculous and abusive media talk shows by self-styledacholi politicians are not in the interest of the Acholi as a generation BUT chauvinistic, opportunists and political party puppets and we as the informed young generation of this land ask that the above acts and injustices to be utterly condemned. Even the threats to arrest us should be condemned to the greatest terms. We have the freedom of speech and expression and for our people ass the Acholi, we have an enormous responsibility to utter the ordeals that is often ignored by the very people who should be our trusted and beloved leadership. We condemn the recent arrests of our colleagues in Jal fresh. The will and quest of the people shall never be arrested for we shall stand as a support so constant to it that generations shall stand to remember.
Where do we see Acholi going?
The life and living we need shall only be got once we get assertive on demanding from our leaders the social services we need.
Given our youthful nature, even when not mobilized, political rallies, debates and politicking have given us a chance to play, shout and demonstrate to our peers and to the whole world that we are tough, eloquent, indomitable, courageous, have what it takes, among others.
We have been used, exploited, sidelined and left to rot. The Acholi get attention only during election. Using their money, Political leaders mobilize us, use us, mock us and lie to us. But despite their insincerity, we are limited by choice but serve them as way of survival or identity. Political leaders never appreciate the contributions of the Acholi yet we present a good tax Base, we contribute to the country’s bread basket.
How do the youth get practically involved?
The practical involvement of the youth is rather low and the political arena continues to be dominated by older generations. The interests of youths are often not adequately reflected in decision-making and in the design of important policies.
We have all come to the realization that the current government is preoccupied with sustaining itself in power at whatever cost; that this government can no longer perform the roles that decent governments ought to perform. The presidents’ leadership cannot deliver the Uganda we envisage; it is an order too tall for him to deliver. He does not represent the future that Uganda deserves; surprisingly, we have equally lost faith in the current opposition political parties and their leadership. Some opposition leaders are in bed with the ruling government.
Every minute that passes with the current regime in office, precious Ugandan lives are lost to preventable diseases, staggering amounts of money are stolen with impunity, millions of children are condemned to a bleak future by an inept Universal Primary Education, stunted growth and disunity is sowed through tribalism, nepotism and favoritism.
This has gone too far. It is time for positive change. It is time for a new wave of leadership. One for us all and from all of us.
The members of Acholi Youth Agenda among others (Authors of this document)
1. Mr. Jomeo Richard – Youth activist
2. Rt. Hon. Fred Ongom –Dep. PM Gulu University
3. Mr. Andrew Ogwetta Otto – former Guild President Gulu University.
4. Hon. Oginga Odinga – councilor Tegwana Pece Division
5. Mr. Okot Thomas Lutuku – Media activist
6. Ms. Amony Francesca –Women activist
7. Mr.PayiraBonie – journalist at Jal fresh 96.9
8. Mr Langwen Peter