END OF YEAR PEACE PRAYER 31ST DECEMBER 2007
MESSAGE FROM ACHOLI RELIGIOUS LEADERS PEACE INITIATIVE
Theme: “Women are Peace builders by Nature”
Dear Brethren and People of God,
On behalf of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative and on my own behalf, I greet you in the name of Peace as we and enter the year 2008.
The religious leaders of Acholi pass this message of hope to all men and women who have made it to this day after a series of struggle to build peace in Northern, Eastern, and West Nile regions of Uganda. All your contributions in different sector, levels and walk of life are acknowledged especially as we see the twinkle of peace in the vicinity.
Participation of every stakeholder i.e. religious leaders, cultural leaders, political leaders, women, military, youth and all peace lovers should be given ultimate thinking.
Feeling of remorse for all those victims of conflict should prepare us for reconciling with those who might have offended us. Humanity should feel as one to proactively address their problems for sustainable development of our nation Uganda.
Our Theme: “Women are peace builders by nature”
Women contribution in building peace in this region has been give due recognition by religious leaders. At home they are mothers (live givers), first nurses and teachers, home builders and homecare’s, peace builders and peace preservers. Women are symbols of unity, harmony, peace, love and care for all. In Acholi culture, grandmothers are the one who gives blessings to all who go for hunting expedition and for a man who quarrel with the wife a night before the day of hunting, will not be allowed go “for the blessing comes from a woman”. During planting season, the mothers give blessing upon all seed going to the field.
Hence women are protectors and defenders of life, homes and families. They have to be respected, loved and their right should be protected and promoted. Doing this to every woman in the world, the welfare of humanity is enhanced and promoted.
While women/mothers do all the above, their success is depended on men and the reverse is also critical. Therefore as the saying “beside a great man there is always a great woman, so beside a peaceful man there must be a peaceful woman” whose role should not be ignored.
In Matthew 28:10
The Qur’an also preaches for women rights. In TMQ 2: Verse 228, it reads “and woman shall have rights similar to rights against them according to what is equitable, but have a degree of advantage over them over them and God is exalted in power wise”.
ARLPI did appreciate and acknowledge the role played women have in peace building in Acholi land for the last 21 years most evident in IDP camps in struggle to fend for the families. They are “invisible peace makers in homes”. Remarkable are the likes of Mrs. Betty Bigombe and Mrs. Geraldine Onguti founding members of GUSCO and (RIP) Sr. Rose Mary of St. Monica Tailoring School – Gulu among others..
On this tenet, their specific role as women are being promoted through a Project Women Empowerment Strategy meant for building capacity of grass root women to positively contribute to engendering conflict resolution, human rights, sustainable peace and reconciliation process in Acholi Sub region.
This is why religious leaders have dedicated this End of Year Prayer for women with the theme; “Women are peace builders by nature”. We therefore challenge you to exploit other avenues in life to contribute in the development of this region Acholi.
PEACE TALKS AND APPEAL
Our message is “the little peace we have experience during the Juba Peace talk should be an eye opener to all peace lovers, stakeholders and those who have been sustaining it. Non violence and peaceful co-existence, being accommodative and practicing dialogue and reconciliation should be our slogan in resolving conflicts among our selves.” We strongly urge women to come up and make your inputs visible especially in uniting the returnees and the community. Be productive and take up recognised work other than being idle in businesses that are risky.
Religious leaders call for commitment to Peace Talks on both sides of Government of Uganda and the LRA. The just concluded consultative meetings in many parts of Uganda are a good gesture and a general support from the civil population for the Peace Talks. You should not betray the hopes, expectations of the people of Uganda, especially the Northern region who have high hope in Juba Peace Process and have started going back home. You should realize that people of Northern region have suffered under the account of persistence in the bush for too long and refusal to use dialogue to resolve the long conflict.
We also urge for tolerance and commitment from the International community, Government of Southern Sudan, UN Special Envoy to LRA affected region Dr. Joachim Chissano, African Union Mediation Team and Monitoring Team.
The US Government: We call for your robust support and partner of the Juba Peace Process from the template of peace ,and confidence building which is most wanting at this stage as we focus on Agenda three i.e. Accountability and Reconciliation and the final signing of a comprehensive Peace Agreement.
+ Archbishop John Baptist Odama
+ Sheik Musa Khalil
+ Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng
+ Bishop Sabino Odoki
+ Bishop Benjamin Ojwang
+ Rtd. Bishop Macleod Baker Ochola
+ Father Julius Orach