Govt to Establish Memorial on Uganda's Dark History Top story

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In short
The memorial will have information about the Lords Resistance Army-LRA war that ravaged northern Uganda for more than two decades, the Luweero Triangle guerilla war that ushered in the National Resistance Army led by President Yoweri Museveni, and moments about the history of Uganda under Idi Amin Dada.

The Ministry of Tourism is planning to establish a memorial and museums in which a collection of historical documents, artefacts and equipment depicting Uganda's dark history will be preserved.

The memorial will have information about the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA war that ravaged northern Uganda for more than two decades, the Luweero Triangle guerilla war that ushered in the National Resistance Army led by President Yoweri Museveni, and moments about the history of Uganda under Idi Amin Dada.

The Lord's Resistance Army alone is believed to have killed more than 100,000 people during a reign of terror spanning two decades. The guerrilla group led by Joseph Kony is also blamed for the abduction of between 60,000 and 100,000 children and the displacement of 2.5 million people.

State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi says the project is envisioned to start in the financial year 2019/2020.  He says that although Uganda is not proud of its dark past, such a memorial would be a place where people can learn about Uganda's past through research and a centre of reconciliation.

Kiwanda could not specify the location and details of the funding but said they are currently considering the areas affected by the atrocities.

"Countries like Rwanda have a memorial centre for the genocide, and this is a very big reminder to them, but also a great tourism centre," Kiwanda said.

Nwoya Woman MP Lilly Adong says the memorials will be important to speak out loud against any form of violence and preach respect of human dignity. She says there are areas in northern Uganda that still bring fear in people, and remind them of the past.
 
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Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale welcomed the move saying the museums should not only be for tourism and income generation, but for reconciliation, healing and national dialogue. He says this is the point where accountability and truth-telling need to be exhibited.
 
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The Parliamentary Committee on Tourism says there is no museum in the country that showcases Uganda's liberation history, while Rwanda earns a lot of revenue from the genocide museums.

 Close to 10 years ago, a similar project was initiated in Gulu, to preserve the history of the 20-year Lord's Resistance Army insurgency.  The project was envisaged to store thousands of testimonies of people affected by the LRA war to ensure that the history of the war is not lost. It had been implemented by Gulu local government and Centre of Conflict Studies of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Gulu University.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.