The recent incident of the shooting and threatening to shoot hapless, unarmed civilians in Arua Municipality was a misplaced move. The people of West Nile fear rain not guns.
NRM would have won the Arua municipality Member of Parliament election had the president and his SFCs only sent heavy rain from the time of voting to the closure. The gun welding and mean looking men and women couldn’t stop the people of Arua from voting their loved candidate even if Kassiano Wadri didn’t vote for himself. He was arrested, whisked and locked far distant in Gulu.
The said smashing of the president’s car with a hand-held-stone would have also been avoided simply because our people fear rain. They would have sped off. You have witnessed that sound of bullets only attracted more people towards where the bullets were coming from.
West Nile is well endowed with the history of guns than any other region in this country. The mighty Madhists were defeated by the Madi people who were equipped with arrows and spears at Fort Dufile (in Moyo district), near the Sudan border. The Kutukutu (Belgians of Congo) were beaten hands down by the same people near Arapi before the region became part of Sudan then later annexed to Uganda in 1926.
Through the colonial period to the independence of Uganda, the West Nile people didn’t relent. They were resilient, brave, zealous and honest in whatever positions they held in the government. That explains the reasons for why people like Idi Amin could rise to the grip of Uganda for a good eight years despite his low education level.
After the fall of Idi Amin in the hands of the Tanzania Peoples’ Defense Forces (TPDF) and the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) in 1979, the entire people of West Nile were scattered in Zaire and Sudan as refugees and thousands lost their lives.
This however didn’t not make people like Gen. Moses Ali to falter, but stood to fight the ‘enemies’ and ‘oppressors’ by forming the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF I), a post Amin rebel group based in the West Nile. Moses Ali and his men gave up and surrendered their guns to the National Resistance Army (NRA) of President Yoweri Museveni after entering in a peace agreement in Libya.
Meanwhile, between 1987-1997, the exiled people of West Nile were forced to return home because of the Anyanya war against Sudan. Those who returned were regularly threatened and bombarded by Sudan and the ground there were protracted attacks by the then Sudanese People’s Liberation Army rebels.
As if that was the end, West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) rebel group under Juma Oris also emerged in the same region. Tormenting the weak and recruiting the sons of former soldiers, rebels and victims of people who suffered in the revengeful acts of the UNLA. Juma Oris and his fighters were defeated in 1990s.
However, due to the dissatisfaction of the terms and implementation of the peace agreement between UNRF of Moses Ali and Museveni, another rebel group was formed in West Nile, Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF II) led by Ali Bamuze that later signed a peace agreement with Museveni in 2000 in Yumbe Boma ground. I was personally present, on that date Gen. Moses Ali warned of further reemergence of rebel groups in the region if the government fails to honor the terms of the agreement.
After the 2000 agreement the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) kept on killing and cutting West Nile off the rest of Uganda. Their convoys were hit by the rebels, properties looted and lives lost, but the people of West Nile still stand firm.
To date due to the porous borders, the people of West Nile always stand to defend themselves from armed attacks by some wrong elements from South Sudan with all the rudimentary tools they have.
Despite all these, the West Nile people are peace loving people.Threatening or killing some few of them with guns, would rather awaken the painful memories of the people of West Nile. Go slow.