APAA LAND: Why government should re-think its move on land acquisition/use.

At the wake of a tough economic situation as the one in which Uganda is lately, the country needs a sacrificial, efficient and pro people government in order to survive.

Unfortunately, our current government seem to think in the opposite direction. Being a majority agriculture dependent economy, Uganda needs realistic means of production like land, mechanical means of production like tractors, combined harvesters and counter measures for climatic change to boost production and increase both quality and quantity of farm outputs that subsequently pushes up exports and foreign exchange earnings.

And to be specific, i have always argued in many fora that lands such as the disputed Apaa land which the government now wants to forcefully hijack from Amuru district and give to ‘Adjumani’ should rather be used to boost agriculture, especially food crops production to minimize famine and malnutrition across Uganda, East Africa and the world at large.

Following the latest reports circulating , the central bank of Uganda has raised an alrm over the rate at which our government is borrowing from foreign countries and banks, saying that the debts posed

“a risk of higher exposure or failure to meet external debt obligations in case of exchange rate volatility and slow growth in exports.”

And i strongly believe that if the people of Apaa are supported with better means of production, Uganda will constantly have food surpluses to sell out to Kenya, South Sudan, D. R Congo and beyond the continent Africa. And this will subsequently boost our foreign exchange earnings, stabilise the exchange rates and increase Uganda’s GDP. Unfortunately, our leaders are too selfish to care about the ordinary citizen.

I was motivated to to write this piece after reading this heartbreaking news posted by my brother, Chowoo Willy on his Facebook page:

A 26 year old man identified as Okello Python was shot dead at 4pm in Acholi Ber sub village in Apaa..

He was shot on the chest and died instantly, his body has been brought to Mortuary at Gulu Regional Referral hospital.

According to local leaders there ,the UPDF usually cross from Adjumani district and come to cause havoc
They have been beating and burning people’s houses there .

More than 200 thatched grass huts have been burnt since the beginning of the year.

UPDF 4th Div Spokesperson Maj Telephor confirmed the incident and said they have sent team of investigators on the grounds to ascertain the situation.

He warned that the UPDF who have been deployed to stop intimidating and harassing residents there.

On 16-03-2018,they burnt 42 houses and again on the 17-03-2018 they burnt 26 houses and yesterday they burnt more than 100 huts.

Since 2012 when violence started in the area,14 people have been shot dead .

I don’t believe such violent, inhumane treatment of our fellow citizens will benefit our country in any way when we are choking in debts. Besides, Ugandans do not deserve these.

According to finance ministry papers, interest repayments in the 2018/19 fiscal year will eat up to 17.3 percent of state spending, which is the largest chunk of the budget. This means the country remains with peanuts to finance all the sectors and meet its other state obligations. It is therefore, no wonder that our country’s service delivery is sickly even without corruption at play.

I therefore, propose that the government revises its move towards taking away our land and giving them to foreign investors because, when citizens are empowered, they pay taxes, recycle their profits within the economy and develop the country. We cannot expect those said investors to even come on condition of tax exemption to develop our economy.

Unless we help ourselves, nobody will help us.

Residents of Apaa gather at a rally in Apaa trading centre in October, 2017. Photo credit: Chowoo Willy

Overcoming Trauma; While re-writing history may seem hard, it is never impossible.

The world is not a good friend to every individual as in many cases it unleashes harsh, devastating and traumatizing situations to millions of people globally almost daily.

On Saturday, April 4, 1998, at the age of 11 years, i was taken by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels amidst numbing cold that followed a heavy downpour on the evening of that fateful day.

Apart from the cold, life seemed to have ended there as my fate hang in balance. Actually, i was not alone. I was taken along side four other boys with whom we shared a hut.

It is unbelievable that lady luck had to smile with only two of us as our three friends perished in the rebels’ jungle.

The torture and trauma we went through was immense. And even upon return, management of the post traumatic experiences is not not just a walk in the park. As my friend Dave Lockridge once put it,

“There is no magic blade to cut our past from our present and future”.

But that does not mean we can’t get our heads off our past. The truth is; the more we focus on our past, the more we fail to shape our future.

This article therefore, is not just to show the world my past, but to help those experiencing post traumatic experiences to recover from their past. The question here is; how does one do it?

Well, the truth is, there is no formula to help one recover from their past within the shortest possible time. Recovery is a process that needs patience and commitment.

But here are a few things you can do to recover from trauma;

  • Avoid staying in isolation. Do your best to always create time and interact with people, especially those with whom you mix freely and can always laugh. This limits the time you could spend crying in isolation and reflecting on your painful past.
  • Engage in as many social activities as possible. For instance, join dance groups, soccer team near by you, or any other sports you like.
  • Stay away from people who always remind you of that traumatic experience. Such people prolongs your recovery process.
  • Talk to a counselor as frequently as possible whenever you feel disturbed.
  • Avoid violent movies and adventures. If you must, watch only comic, music and other entertaining movies.

I have personally used these and i feel they have worked for me, the reason i am recommending them for you too.

As you probably know, mental health is a huge global problem that is why we see violent behaviours and sometimes even killings in many parts of the world. And failure to tackle it leads to incredible destruction, not only to humanity but also nature.

So, the earlier we detect and learn to control trauma, the better.

I will be doing more articles on mental health, trauma, depression and such related topics frequently. And i hope you follow me up so that you don’t miss a single one of it because you cannot tell how and when this will help you.

Note that everyone is a potential victim of mental health.

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