Comrades and Friends,
Resounding revolutionary salutations from Solidarity Uganda!
Embrace this edition of our Newsletter with the utmost fervor, for we extend our deepest gratitude for your unwavering support. In this edition, we share about the recently concluded regional chapter convenings, where all Solidarity chapters across the country came together to share experiences and build power. These regional gatherings united tireless social movements and impassioned activists who employ Nonviolent to wage an unyielding battle against the tyranny of injustice and oppression.
Regional Convenings serve as a vital arena for fortifying collaboration and empowering the dedicated activists and organizers in their relentless quest for social justice. It offers a pivotal stage for these individuals to contemplate their engagement in nonviolent actions, celebrating their achievements, absorbing invaluable lessons from past endeavors, and charting a resolute path forward for the greater cause of social movements. During this year’s 2023 regional convenings, activists; Robert Wels Mayanja and Stella Adeke reiterated the importance of nonviolent resistance in fighting injustice and oppression. They recognise the belief in the power and efficacy of groups in effecting social and political change and the role Solidarity Uganda is playing in enabling these struggles. They appreciate the effectiveness of using creative nonviolent methods like the bicycle-riding caravan in ending patriarchy in communities. Although many approaches of nonviolence remain pivotal in waging against injustice and oppression, activists like Christine Amongin recognise the effectiveness and the power of using bicycle-riding caravans as an effective strategy for grassroots movements to adopt as a means of waging against land grabbing especially in communities that are largely patriarchal.
In Northern Uganda we continue to share about the persistent killings of Apaa community members by perpetrators of land grabs. Recently four Apaa community members were brutally killed during a violent raid on the community and six others were kidnapped in the deadly attack. For decades, the state and its allies have relentlessly inflicted a great deal of misery and suffering to the people of Apaa through killing of community members, burning their homes and property amongst other inhumane acts. Amidst all the abuses Apaa community’s commitment to defending their homeland is unwavering. They have organised numerous nonviolent actions including the most recent walk to Apaa protest in which the Acholi Paramount Chief, David Onen Acana II and other political leaders walked to Apaa, demanding justice for all those murdered by the perpetrators of injustice in Apaa. They also demanded that an immediate inquiry into the brutal killings of the Apaa people be conducted. They have organised many other powerful actions such as naked protests and, Occupation of the UN. We continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Apaa, denouncing all forms of injustice and oppression perpetrated against them. Read our solidarity statement here
Communities of Logiri, Opit in Omoro, and Lungulu in Nwoya organized a music caravan where women sang songs, performed poetry, and played drama to sensitize their community members and leaders on the land injustices happening around them and the need for them to take action. The songs and dramas they performed highlight the social and political injustices happening in their communities. They have used music to mobilize more people to join their struggle. The music and film caravan is meant to create spaces where women can freely and traditionally express themselves and get inspired into taking action against land injustices. Read more about the Anti-Land Grabbing Music Caravan
In the West Nile region, our incredible Solidarity chapter in Obongi has been on the frontlines, tirelessly fighting for justice. They’ve been working relentlessly to secure a vehicle crucial for building a community resource center in the district.
Their unwavering determination pushed the corrupt officials in Obongi to finally release the vehicle after organising numerous powerful actions.
In Western Uganda, the resilient grassroots communities of Imogoro village, nestled in Kiryandongo district, have ignited a fervent crusade to halt the sinister land grabbing and merciless evictions perpetrated by none other than Deputy Director of the Internal Security Organization (ISO), General Taban Amin, his dubious allies, and a cohort of unscrupulous individuals.
At the epicenter of this struggle lies Ranch II, a vast expanse encompassing over 5.5 square miles of sacred land, bearing witness to the dreams and hopes of more than 7000 households belonging to the Kibyama and Nubian communities. These communities, displaced in the tumultuous wake of the establishment of the Karuma Wildlife Reserve in the 1960s, continue to endure the relentless specter of eviction, cast upon them by the shadow of Gen. Taban and his collaborators.
In the face of such adversity stands Babra Aciro, a tenacious 43-year-old mother of seven, hailing from the resilient community of Kisura in Kiryandongo district. She stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who have been wronged, having lost her cherished land to the clutches of Kahinde, an unscrupulous land grabber, with the connivance of the L.C.1 Chairperson, Bosco Behemuka.
Recently, we conducted a training with the brave community members in Kiryandongo district, imparting the knowledge and tools necessary to combat the insidious grasp of land grabbing that has torn asunder their once-thriving community. The relentless wave of land dispossession has wrought untold suffering, rendering countless innocent souls homeless and landless, with Babra among the countless souls caught in this heart-wrenching turmoil.
But let it be known that the courage of these communities shines as a beacon of hope, as they rally together to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, defying the forces of injustice and tyranny. In their unified struggle, they embody the indomitable spirit of resilience and determination that inspires us all to stand alongside them in solidarity, for the battle against injustice knows no bounds and the call for justice resounds throughout the ages.
Land grabbing and forced evictions stand as harbingers of a grave and unconscionable affront to the very essence of human rights. In the heart of Uganda, this scourge takes on a systematic and relentless form, as communities are callously uprooted from their ancestral lands by the unyielding grip of state agencies like the National Forestry Authority (NFA), the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), private investors, and nefarious individuals.
Defying injustice and oppression within the confines of a dictatorial state like Uganda is not for the faint of heart. Here, potent interests align against those who dare to resist, and the consequences are dire. Threats loom, intimidation is a constant companion, and violence often rears its ugly head in response to the courageous efforts of those who stand against the tide of tyranny.
In this crucible of despair, our Rapid Response department emerges as a beacon of hope and safeguard for the valiant activists who put their lives on the line. Over the past three months, we’ve extended our helping hand to one brave activist through our referral pathway, offered unwavering court and legal support to thirty-four individuals, and conducted two solidarity visits to those unjustly incarcerated.
As the government’s repression and the relentless abuse of human and environmental rights continue to escalate, our dedication to the cause of rapid response has never been stronger. We commit more resources and employ ever more innovative tactics to fortify our Rapid Response mechanism, recognizing its pivotal role in ensuring the safety and security of those who champion the righteous struggle against oppression.
Solidarity Uganda, in the face of adversity, pledges an unyielding commitment to bestowing oppressed communities with the skills of strategic nonviolence and the art of movement building. Together, we shall forge a path towards a future where justice reigns supreme, and the flames of oppression are extinguished by the beacon of hope we carry within us.