SPEAK THE TRUTH SO THAT PEACE PREVAILS IN APAA, ARCHBISHOP ODAMA TELLS ACHOLI, MADI LEADERS

Religious leaders leading a procession to Indriani before the Archbishop Odama made the remarks on Apaa

BY MARKO TAIBOT

ADJUMANI: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

The archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, John Baptist Odama, has told the leaders of Madi and Acholi to speak the truth so that people living in and around Apaa can have peace.

“There is still one area in our province which is still in a state of violence, division, and lack of peace, that is Apaa. There is no peace in that area, I am asking all the GANAL to pray for Apa,” the archbishop said in solemn remarks during the provincial annual pilgrimage to Indriani in Adjumani district.

GANAL is he acronym for the dioceses making up the Gulu province i.e., Gulu, Arua, Nebbi and Lira diocese.

Since 2012 when the Catholics constructed the Indriani shrine to celebrate the 100 years of the catholic faith in Arua diocese, the Christians make annual pilgrimage to that site.

The archbishop made it very clear that it is only the truth that will set the Apaa people free.

“What is the problem there? That issue can only be solved by talking the truth about that place and listening to the people who are living in that place. The Acholi and Madi have intermarried and stayed together for many years,” he said.

While Apaa is administratively in Adjumani district, the Acholi consider it as the burial place of their legendary ancestor, Labongo was buried.

The Archbishop called upon political, cultural, religious and other leaders from both sides to work together in order to restore peace in troubled Apaa.

Richard Kaijuka, the Adjumani district Vice chairperson, observed that the people of Acholi and Madi have the same origin and have lived together for many years saying they must co-exist.

“I request all the religious leaders to among their pastoral works go to Apaa and preach the gospel of peace and co-existence. We are one, we are the same people,” Kaijuka said.

William Amanzuru Leslie, the Team Leader of Friends of ZOKA, a conservation organization, reiterated the Bishop’s pleas and said the Bishop is a divine identity to the community.

“The Archbishop invokes our intercession to God, and the Archbishop’s indulgence cuts across the human identity. His divine identities shape our daily lives and livelihoods,” Amanzuru remarked.

“It is on the above background that I am equally advocating for the truth to be known, the truth to be accepted and the truth to be implemented,” headed.

In August 2018, President Yoweri Museveni visited the Apaa area and proposed the relocation of Acholi people with compensation, and the acquisition of alternative land in Adjumani to settle the evictees.

He also ordered that to solve the dispute, settlers already occupying Apaa Trading Centre must not extend into Zoka Forest but these have not been agreed to by the people.

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