Posted: Thu, August 10, 2017 | By: Misc./BBI
by Moses Muhindo Kibalirwandi and Assistant Professor Adrian Rwekaza Mwesigye
The ethnic conflicts in Rwenzori Sub-Region in Uganda have greatly impacted the socio-economic development hence causing backwardness for the Region. Acculturation is a term implying cultural change or transformation. Culture contacts are acculturation tools to enhance prospects for post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in countries like Uganda. The existing literature has not presented suggestions on how to solve the historical conflicts that has constantly claim lives and destruction of property in the region. The master mind behind the killing and destabilization of peace in the Rwenzori region has not been thought of hence there is no imminent solution to the conflict. The contribution Universities as vanguards in economic development and peace builders is a paramount. The paper analyses the possibility of causing development.
This desk research identifies possible gaps in history that have not been addressed and suggests possible solutions that may bring harmony and development in the region. Social identity for all ethnic sub-groups of the Bantu is necessary to enhance peace and security. Preservation and conservation of cultural heritage is a long waited demand for all ethnic sub groups in the region. Finally respect for human right and culture is a constitution right that politicians should protect and help to cause harmony.
The authors presented this position paper in the 11th Annual conference of Mbarara University of Science and Technology with hope to call for cultural studies and research into causes and means to restore peace and harmony in the Rwenzori Region. The appeal is made to the policy makers, researchers and educators to contribute in disseminating and sharing knowledge on a new paradigm shift in acculturation. Cultural studies are not confined to one particular method of investigation because culture is about people’s beliefs; norms, traditions and life styles hence empirical methods have not been relevant in this investigation rather textual analysis and ethnographical approaches such as comparative research method of culture were preferred. The definition of culture has been taken as knowledge and sophistication acquired through education and exposure to the spatial structures. The researchers have basically considered poly-systems theory which was theorized and tested by an Israel researcher Itamara Even-Zohar and other authors. The knowledge shared during this study may act as triggers to a new cultural constructs in the post 2015 MDGs. The educators and scholars are invited to expedite acculturation in this generation.
While Globalization process has expended to include culture, media, technology, socio-cultural, political and even biological factors such as climatic changes, which, when well handled, would ensure harmonious living of human beings. Sadly, community conflicts still exists in the Rwenzori region leading to failure to achieve socio-economic development which was the target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in this year 2015 (http://lexicon.ft.com). Regional economies, societies and culture should be integrated in the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transport. This study culminates in the conclusion that unity should be basically emphasized in Rwenzori starting from Universities so as to end the ethnic conflicts (Izama 2012). The human resource mobility globally does not depend on ethnicity but skills owned by a potential worker. People of the same tribe are discriminated basing on their region of origin within the Rwenzori region hence, Conflicts are not necessarily ethnicity. The sub region in Uganda has got seven political districts with mixed cultural communities who are also discriminated along the same places of origin. Discrimination may not be generalized as ethnicity in the Rwenzori region.
Rwenzori Sub-Region in Uganda is covering area of 13,970 KM2 with a population of 2,589,632 people and has seven political districts (UBOS, 2014 and Bihunirwa, 2012). The region is cosmopolitan with more than fourteen (14) sub ethnic tribes (communities) of the Bantu (KDLG, 2009). Aboriginal and largest sub-ethnic group (tribe) being the Bayira or Bakonzo and they occupies largely the mountainous parts in Kasese, Kabarole, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts in the region (KDLG, 2009; and Peterson, 2012). The 1995 constitution of the Republic of Uganda shows that 65 indigenous groups were identified to be with unique identity and aspirations. The constitution calls them as indigenous communities as recognized to have been in Uganda since 1st, February, 1926 (third schedule of the 1995 Uganda Constitution).
Multi-Cultural districts are many in Uganda and little or no conflicts have been recorded. The 2001 ethnic conflict of kibaale district was between “Bafuruki” and Banyoro over land and political leadership positions. The Kibaale conflict was resolved by the president’s office intervention without much of bloodshed unlike the Rwenzori conflicts that have taken more than 100 years since 1830s as the colonialists and royal rebellion of the prince of Bunyoro invaded the region. Toro kingdom was created with the help of the British to suffocate Bunyoro Kingdom since it had resisted the colonial rule. Both Buganda and Toro Kingdoms were used to suffocate Bunyoro and any other rebellion against the British colonial rule hence genocides, land (property) grabbing were ideally engineered but not recorded. The colonial government influenced land tenure system in many parts of the country where it formalized individual private land property ownership and land leasehold given to elites, loyalists to the British Colonial government even if communities were already occupying these lands (Rugadya, 2009).
The inherent conflicts have been mismanaged by the colonial master’s and central government of the independent Uganda as the use of excessive force. The alternative means would be engaging the concerned ethnic group to resolve their differences by understanding and respecting each other’s culture basing on global perspective (USAID, 2011). The power inherited and constitutionally given to cultural and traditional leaders may be misused to cause conflicts in the region hence government should come up with guidelines on cultural institution management. The cultural institutions should not be political as to interfere with political structures in the region. However, cultural subjects are political and they exercise their political position to defend their cultural institution (Rugadya, 2009).
Central government allocated 17000 acres of land to 8000 people with 50,000 heads of cattle and 8000 acres to cultivators which was misunderstood by the community in Rwenzori. Each pastoralist was given between 3-5 acres of land and 0.5 acre of land to each cultivator. This action did not please the cultivators in the Rwenzori region because practically the 8000 acres is not in the ownership of cultivators it is still being used by the pastoralists supported by high profile politicians (Rugadya, 2009). This scenario is partly one issue that has been identified as a cause of insecurity in the region. However, the government has observed that its action was hurriedly taken and a new plan is being thought of allocating reasonable land to the veterans of Rwenzururu kingdom, veterans of the second world war, veterans of the Uganda army and other landless group may be considered during a new allocation of land which is on the peripheral of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Conceptualizing acculturation (cultural transformation) tools to enhance post 2015 MDGs a case of Rwenzori Sub Region, authors have explored causes of conflicts in Rwenzori sub region, highlighting on important issue embedding the conflicts tracing them from colonial times to the current independent central government in the introduction part of the document. The section showing objectives for this article has followed the introduction, literature review has been organized considering major objectives and aims of MDGs and Uganda Strategy to improve livelihood, central government intervention in causing harmony, historical issues not being addressed in the Rwenzori to end conflicts. Methodology of the study has been discussed as qualitative where ethnographic approach and textual analysis was employed. The literature review has considered MDGs in relationship with developing countries, central government intervention to develop the identified region in question, historical issues that may be underlying the conflicts and taking examples of lessons learnt from regions recovering from conflicts. The results and discussion part has identified organization and partners in peaceful means of restoring peace and community struggle to restore peace and development. Finally, conclusion and recommendations part in this article highlights some interventions needed to restore peace and sanity in the Rwenzori region. The references and acknowledgement are the last part of the article.
Objectives of the Study:
The major question of how can the communities in conflict prone areas celebrate Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievements by the end of 2015 has two specific objectives to guide this study.
The first objective is; to identify historical information that has contributed to ethnic conflicts in Rwenzori Sub-Region.
The second objective is to identify lessons learnt from other parts of the world to apply in peace and reconciliation for the ethnic sub-groups in Rwenzori region.
Literature Review for the study:
The “Speechless voices” in the background criticizing politicians and leaders are in existence because little information is provided on citizenship education. The current citizenship education has been politicized and branded NRM political party curriculum in the names of patriotism education to train NRM political cadres. The aim of citizenship education would be patriotism, peace building and global citizenship. The curriculum of patriotism education in Uganda has to be inclusive and broad than what is being taught so as to help students gain global perspective of contributing to peaceful, environment secure and turning the world into habitable place which has justice and democracy (Abdi& Shultz, 2008 and CEW-IT, 2011).
The cognitive development is a cardinal prospective followed by promotion of peace, citizenship, security, fostering quality and becoming global which is most desirable role for an Academic Institutions. Availability of knowledge in form of public information is a means of liberating society from ignorance. The human rights include but not limited protection of migrants in any part of the world. This explains that any migrant to Rwenzori region is protected and inhabitant have to be explained this concept. The research and dissemination of academic documents is imperative for institutions of higher learning in contributing to security and development (Kagoda, 2012; Rugadya, 2009; UN Factsheet No.33; Nkosazana, 2013; Paluck, 2006).
The decentralization process in Uganda has recently created 112 District in 2014 as compared to 56 districts in 2002. It is true by 1969 Uganda had 21 administrative districts, 40 communities (tribes) with 6,536,616 people as compared to 112 districts, 68 tribes, and 34,856,813 people as per 2014 National Population Housing Census. Averagely in 1969 each district had 311,267 people as compared to 311,221 people per district in 2014. Ideally speechless voices are being challenged to establish the cause for argument. Where is the problem of increasing the districts if it is for service delivery? Should we continue increasing the number of tribes, kingdoms and districts in order to enjoy service delivery? Rhetorically these questions may not be submitted back to the authors rather information should be shared and further research be conducted in order to create a learning society.
Millennium Development Goals implementation in developing countries:
The United Nations (UN) signed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and set targets to reduce poverty, hunger, disease and environment damages by 2015. Africa identifies 8 (eight) millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. These include; eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and lastly global partnership for development. These policies sounds good and on implementation only three (3) out of eight (8) were seen being on track by 2013. The reasons for not being on track are not well documented by the existing literature hence researchers may attribute all to policy cycle (schnell& Coatze, n.d; Tindale, 2013; Zuma, 2013; and Bhattacharya, 2013).
The MDGs are projected to have been poorly achieved because many countries (LDCs) achievement was slow progress. This analysis was based only on 14 indicators out of the 60 indicators for achievement. Linear progressive measurement shows that 6 (six) out of the 13 (thirteen) indicators shows 95% achievement. This seemed a good gesture of MDGs achievement for LDCs considering the 14 indicators. What could be the challenges in the rest of the 46 indicators? Literature has not fully shown the image of the 46 indicators to succeed (Zuma, 2013; Bhattacharya, 2013). In Uganda goal-3 and 8 were seen on track while other stagnated and low progress (Commonwealth, 2013).
Policy implementation has been observed a challenge for developing countries. The policies are formulated with good aims to improve community livelihood at grassroots. The resource allocation both human and material resources end up being mismanaged because of lack of funds, corruption, political ambitions, and having unskilled or unqualified personnel in top administrative offices of responsible ministries in the countries. The non-decision making of political leaders is a hindrance in many developing countries. The implementation of some policies has lacked realistic indicators that would be important to identify the criterion of evaluation in the process of monitoring and Evaluation. Evaluators fail to get guiding indicators during policy implementation process and their M&E is never planned at inception (Pearson, n.d; Manitoba, 2003; Hall, 2008; and Schnell & Coatze, n.d).
Identifying core component and activities of implementing specific policy, identifying potential methods and indicators to assess policy positive effect, optimal methods on how information will be collected from the field to higher office without being got from the implementers merely, and the process of tracking the implementation of many policies sometime lack in many developing countries hence policies do not achieve what they intent to achieve (Manitoba, 2003; and Schnell & Coatze, n.d).
The policy makers of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), seem to have not fully underscore the fact that most African countries were at war. The effects of war are felt by many other neighboring countries as refugees, and rebel activities increase in the region. Development and security are two sides of the same coin hence this may have indirectly affected the performance and achievements of the MDGs in Africa (Nkosazana, 2013 and UNDP, 2010).
These MDGs were not basically interpreted by countries basing on their historical background and ambitions hence achieving goals have been miscalculated because issues like democracy and security were not included in the indicators. It is believed that conflicts weaken state capacity to governor effectively (UNDP, 2010). Example identified is Northern Uganda insecurity and land conflicts. How has the government of Uganda engage the affected communities to solve their problems? The approach of resolving community conflict is by engaging the affected community members (McCandless & Karbo, 2011).
In the Rwenzori Sub Region which is in Uganda, little has been achieved due to conflicts and social unrest. Policy implementation has been a challenge in most developing countries. Rwenzori consortium for civic competence (RWECO) carried out the study to evaluate policy implementation basing on government manifesto(2011-2016) for the ruling party it was found out that safe water, health and education sectors have not provided quality service to the community. The evaluation was independently done at grass root without political bias. Education to the area was averagely supported by government and poor parents were supporting to implement government policy by providing some basic requirements. However, inspection on the side of educationists was still lacking where inspectors of schools were reluctant in implementing service due to delays in funds. Health sector was 75% stocked with basic drugs, quality health facilities were rated to be 42% though many health centers lacked the following, kitchen, placenta pits, pit latrines and rubbish pits among others. Water sector showed that 64% of the water was good yet 32% of the water points were poorly maintained. This general observation is that policy implementation is poorly initiated at grass root due to information gap (Hivos, 2013). It was seen that patients still die from hospitals in the region because of medical workers strikes due to delayed salaries. Millennium development goals appear not being achieved in such regions where government policy still face challenges as community feel not enjoying their rights.
Government Intervention in Creating Harmony and Development in the Region
The 1995 constitution of Uganda includes Bakonzo, Basongora, Banyabindi, Bamba, and other communities (sub-ethnic group) to be living in Rwenzori region hence providing a constitutional right and recognizing their community cultures. The Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy and Universal Secondary (USE) takes care of the communities in Rwenzori without discrimination and marginalization. The restoration and establishing cultural institutions in places that had cultural institutions or kingdoms and those that are interested in establishing kingdoms have been extended to the people of Rwenzori as the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (OBR) and Obudingya Bwa Bwamba (OBB) were recognized and established respectively (The Uganda Constitution, 1995; Kibalirwandi, 2016).
The resettlement of landless people where 25,000 acres of land was given 17,000 acres to Pastoralists and 8,000 acres of land to cultivators in the areas of Bigando, Rwehingo, Ibuga, Mubuku (Rugadya, 2009). However, reports from local community explain that some cultivators sold their land to pastoralists and some pastoralists’ grabby cultivators’ land both scenarios need investigation by an independent researcher.
Extremism in killing people in the Rwenzori region is not a new scenario because colonial government and Toro administration murdered the three heroes and buried them into one grave at Kagando hospital on 14/04/1921. The three heroes are Tibamwenda, Nyamutswa and Kapolya who were against enslavement and advocated for Bakonzo liberation were inhumanly killed. In their lamentation, they concluded that “lack of formal education has contributed to our execution”. The Anglo-Belgian Agreement was signed 1894 marking the boundary separating Bakonzo/Bamba in Congo and Uganda. A monument was raised in 1995 by the district leadership of Kasese to remember the three heroes and designate the place as a cultural site in the Rwenzori (Bamusede, 2000).
The above interventions of including communities into the constitution and providing UPE is health environment for the community to utilize in creating harmony and co-existence to develop and improve livelihood for the children to benefit from the existing resources in the region. However, government should accept to involve unbiased community members and NGOs get involved in the peace-building process of Rwenzori. Thanklessly of the political affiliation and tribe (community) we expose the weakness of handling conflicts in developing countries.
Historical information of the People in Rwenzori Sub-Region:
Rwenzori region takes its name from Rwenzori Mountain locally called Rwenzururu meaning “a snow capped mountain”. It got its other name as Mountain of the Moon by A Geographer Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd Century. He postulated that Rwenzori is the Source of River Nile. Baganda Used to call Rwenzururu Mountain “Gambaragara” meaning my eyes itch when I struggle to look at Rwenzori (Walter, 2015).
Historically most Africans belong to the four large language families; Niger-Congo, Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Khoikhoi. However, America-Liberians trace their ethnicity ancestry from freed slaves from North America. The Niger-Congo (Bantu) language groups are many in Rwenzori region and sadly they have lived a life of conflicts for long (Newman, 2009).
The ethnographic history for many of the tribes (communities) in Uganda is based on discrimination and marginalization. To mention are the following tribes, Napore are referred to Ngikatap or poor people, who eat cereals, Ik are branded Teuso or people without cows, Chope or Paluo means “men are not there”, Muhehe in Eastern Uganda as “people brought by soil erosion “and many others as outline by Policy Brief (2015).
Bunyoro Kingdom passed through hardship of Genocides made by the colonial masters using Buganda Kingdom which made Bunyoro Kingdom’s subjects to scatter all over the region and calling themselves in different names like Batagwenda, Batuku, Balisa, Bagungu, and others. The colonialists rewarded their loyalists’ form Buganda lands in Bunyoro hence creating land conflicts (Bunyoro, 2015; and Rugadya, 2009).
However, Johannessen (2005) argue that by 1960 Buganda was the strongest of the Ugandan kingdoms; Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole, and Buganda. The reason for the decline of Bunyoro and raise of Buganda was the colonial influence and unreported genocide against the Bunyoro kingdom subjects. The annexation of the seven lost counties was possible after Bunyoro genocide by the British Military Campaigns (Kiwanuka, 2010). The genocides against Banyoro during Kabalega wars and Nyangire rebellions weakened the glory of Bunyoro and associates of Bunyoro made themselves into other tribes in distant places (Balyage, 2001; Lule 1995 and Rugadya, 2009).
Little was recorded on the genocides within Uganda to explain how Banyoro in Bunyoro and Bakonzo in Rwenzururu suffered genocides that occurred due to ethnicity and central government involvement right away from the invasion of the colonialists. It should not be a surprise to hear that even most Uganda martyrs were captives of war from Banyoro who were killed mercilessly by the king of Buganda (Kiwanuka, 2010). On the other side of Rwenzori in Eastern DRC Bakonzo (Banande) are being killed by other invaders and little is being done by United Nations. African communities may not greatly rely on foreign assistance to create peace without the affected communities to consider reconciliation.
United Nations Genocide convention was in 1948 and the act established in 1951 classified genocide as a crime under international law. The act establishes criterions to classify killing under genocide. The fact that Colonial Masters and Central Government were involved in more than two genocide acts from 1954, 1963 and 1964 in the Rwenzori that went unreported, there is no peace in the region. The researchers within the region have written on this topic as a means of exposing reasons why Bakonzo have been traumatized for long. Efforts have been made to mobilize the community so as to stop conflicts but conflicts are gradually continuing because those being killed are Bakonzo 99% and other tribes 01%. The question remains who is behind the killing of Bakonzo on both sides of the mountain and why is this scenario? The conspiracy is never clear and there is no apology that has been made to the community by either colonial or central government. There are more threats than commitment to reconciliation in the community. The opposite is being done by excessive force and use of guns to solve the problem hence continual killing which is still treated as genocide against Bakonzo in the region. The authors are attempted to conclude that the issue should be handled through cognitive measures where universities (elites) will involve people to people approach (Bamusede, 2000; Stacey 2003; Fein, 2009 and USAID, 2011).
The killings ideally authorized by central and colonial government did not threaten revolutionary leaders hence it made the Rwenzururu movement to grow wild and lived from 1962 to date. The type of genocide is likely to be both developmental and retributive genocides. Further research should be contacted because whatever happened in 1970s and 1980s during the leadership of Idi Amin and Milton Obote were characterized as Despotic genocide. These massacred families had lands (Bibanja) which were grabbed by their enemies up to date these lands have not been recovered by the remnants. As it has been mentioned that conflicts are associated to landless and uneven benefit (entitlements) from national cake, and then some truth may be behind this continual killings in the Rwenzori region (Kasunga, 2012 and Rugadya, 2009).
Knowledge helps society to be liberated from ignorance. The colonial mistakes inherited should be discarded and new chapter follow in for development. Resettlement of some revolutionaries in matters of community protection, and designing community bye-laws to governor the cultural institutions and co-existence may cost less wealth than use of guns and forces in controlling ethnic conflicts (McCandless & Karbo, 2011 and Stacey, 2003). As Stacey (2003) quotes Isaaya Mukirania Kibanzanga writing to Milton Obote (RIP) the President of Uganda by then that he need not to waste funds on wars in Rwenzori, another approach should be made as an alternative.
In 1962, June 30th Isaaya Mukirania declared Rwenzururu an Independent state in Central Africa. In 1968 the Rwenzururu Authorities facilitated three officers; Nziabake Yoweri Minister of Regional Cooperation, Musyenene Minister of Finance, and BalukuBlasio Minister of Foreign Affairs to attend OAU Summit Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with an aim to express their dissatisfaction with Uganda and DRC by then Zaire. These people were intercepted in Kigali on 22rd May 1968 flown back to Uganda and detained at Luzira, however, legal assistance was given to them from Ben Kiwanuka and Company Advocates, and they were bailed and jumped bail and joined their fellow Rwenzururu Kingdom state in the Mountains. This ideology has never been addressed hence central government use of force reopens wounds to the victims of the struggle (Bamusede, 2000). The story ends by involving illiterate advisers and caning all those who refused the idea of a separate state (Stacey, 2003:231-237). The separate state or nation is a motivation to the community which remained backward without education and privileges or entitlements from the colonial masters on both sides of the mountain. The killing was instituted before the declaration of a separate state ideology among the community of Bayira (Bamusede, 2000 and Fein, 2009). The question remains, who is behind the killing the community members in the region? Research has not yet established the cause (Wikipedia, 2015 a & Wikipedia, 2015 b).
There is a need for research into the causes of killing in Rwenzori on both sides of the mountain where 99% of the killing is of Rwenzori community. There is need for research to investigate why the ideology of a nation is always fronted by politicians. There is need to mobilize for peace without use of guns and intimidations to the community. It may not be ethnic conflicts since the people dying are of the same community around the Rwenzori Mountain with some many sub ethnic groups but one community. Who is causing this death in the region? A lot may be speculated but research is most needed to expose the secret. In Eastern DRC, about 23 different rebel groups are believed to be mining minerals and killing citizens in cold blood. These rebel groups are extracting and selling minerals to large and international cooperation companies who develop and process Coltan into capacitors to be used in computers and telephones (Congo, 2013; and Fein, 2009). This leaves the question that is, who is behind the killing of Rwenzori community? They may be more groups camouflaging into ADF or any other group that claim to mining while destabilizing the region for the purpose of opportunistic reasons.
The researchers have used two of cultural research methods in approaching this study; textual analysis and comparative research method. Textual analysis is where documents about cultures are analyzed. The cultural psychologists suggest that comparative research method which should be applied to two cultures within or outside the region may be used. Comparing cultures does not deny individual ethnic right of uniqueness of culture (Olutunduno, 2009). The similarities and uniqueness of cultures in the Rwenzori makes it possible to classify the other mentioned tribes above to be part of the Runyakitara community.
The Results and Discussion of the Study:
It is not surprising for the authors to establish some of the facts that have for long kept Rwenzori region in conflicts hence hampering development and causing backwardness of the community. It is argued that doctorates should engage in research in order to solve community problems that seem to be complex. Doctoral graduates are equipped to research beyond professional frontier research and education: “in applied research, in policy making, in management, and in many other leadership roles in society” (Bogle, 2010). The “learned friends” have attained this title because they argue basing on evidence from the authentic writings and they must speak with evidence of the writings. This habit of running for evidence covers and shield their lack of understanding of facts hence they use writings as a shield for ignorance of the law to be protected and have lived protected (Lule, 1995). There is need for research into issues that cause social unrest (World Bank, 2015). There is little information provided on the “Yira State ideology” and secrete killing in the Rwenzori region. Is a Yira State ideological or a reality for the community in Rwenzori?Should Yira State be taken as a fabrication of particular group? These are questions that do not have obvious answers without deep research into the source of conflicts.
The Rwenzori sub region does not inherit its name basing on a particular tribe which is a good signal that its people may still adopt to live above tribalism. Most tribes in the Rwenzori region were not anywhere in the constitution of Uganda and by 1995 all were included at once hence all are recognized by the constitution that provides them legal rights and protection. The same ethnic groups have intermarried and lived together for more than 200 years in the same region. This community have all shared and joined the modern denominations of worshipping God hence they belong to one heavenly Father. They all now belong to one region and one country. It should be addressed that in heaven, people may not live as separate communities in East heaven or west heaven. Globalization ideology is preparing citizens for heaven!
The renaissance started with the Italian after taking lesson from Greece which resulted into Roman civilization and development (Fein, 2009). The Rwenzori Forum for Peace and Justice (RFPJ) together with Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) are constructing a foundation of Unity and sustainable development in the region that need to be supported by other research institutions (KRC & RFPJ, 2012; and Kasunga, 2012). The Bayira (Bakonzo) are assumed to have lived a life of turbulent past which has traumatized those involved in wars or conflicts yet being the aboriginals in Rwenzori and many of the them are landless because of continuous conflicts (Mumbere, 2015). Cultural institutions have got territorial land boundaries hence conflict may raise because of boundaries set by colonialists (Lule, 1995 and Rugadya 2009). The “Winner –loser syndrome” has kept on haunting the registered defeated (Balyage, 2000).
The Bakonzo and Bamba joined together to form Rwenzururu Movement by 1954 aiming at liberating themselves from Toro Kingdom dominance which appeared to be a half done because Toro was not the key opponent in this conflict. The British colonial masters have been identified to have had a link with Nile valley conflicts in Sudan, and conflicts between Baganda and Banyoro. The Bakonzo would have succeeded in restoring peace if Britain would have been identified to be of help in restoring peace (Wikipedia, 2015a & Wikipedia, 2015 b). The conflict seed was planted by the British as they wanted to overpower Bunyoro Kingdom administration. It is Captain F. Lugard who fought Abalisura (Bunyoro royal guards) in 1891 and protected Kasagama after a treaty placing him in Basongora under Toro a new Kingdom created in Rwenzori. The British colonialists supported Buganda kingdom and Toro Kingdom hence Toro administration took advantage to marginalize other minority sub ethnic groups in the Rwenzori. Babwisi community is part of the Bamba tribe that was greatly assimilated by the Batoro hence forming another tribe with a language between Rutoro and Lwamba. As earlier mentioned acculturation refers to cultural change that can be formed when different cultural groups come in contact and form a new culture that benefits both or all cultural groups (Even-Zohar, 2010).
Rwenzori region has related sub groups (communities) many of which belong to Runyakitara a language coined out of Runyankole-Rukiga and Runyoro-Rutooro where the four linguistically closely related languages forms Runyakitara. The following were not included among the group when even they would qualify to be Banyakitara; Basongora, Batuku, Balisa, Baruli, Bagungu, Batangwenda and Banyabindi yet they have the same dialects. The Banyabindi, Batoro, Batuku, Batangwenda and Banyoro have got pet (Empaako) names (Tusabe, Baryamureeba and Katushemererwe; n.d and UNESCO, n.d). The Bakonzo being the largest group has not associated itself with Runyakitara hence a conflict ideally exists with this community.
As C’haim (2007) and Andersen (2009) concur that “healing self” should be primary in cultural transformation. Psychological Personal healing is attained after analysis of textual and comparing of cultural contacts. The only choice is to avoid antagonisms within cultural set-up within the region. Gupta &Govandarajan (2002) argue that heterogeneity across culture and market is pervasive feature of the global economic landscape. They however, it is agreed that extreme may be costly mistakes where local culture is neglected. The concept of mindset should be highly preached in order to encourage co-existence. Mindset will lead people to accept their history as that, “one that combines an openness and awareness of diversity across cultures and ability to synthesis across this diversity”. Bachwezi intermarried with most royals in the region hence beautiful girls were loved to princes and chieftains sons. It is believed that royals of Bunyoro, Ankole and Tanzania intermarried with Bachwezi beautiful girls. There is no community which is pure without the blood of Bachwezi in East Africa (Jojo code Africa, 2012).
What was regarded as foreign may be accepted and what was regarded as native is discarded as foreign. In the same way Rwenzori region can still accept to live in harmony and discard the revulsion that has existed since 1830s. Peace building process in the Rwenzori is taking shape hence His Majesty Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere is appealing to all ethnic groups to embrace peace, unity and reconciliation (Mumbere, 2015; and Biltali, n.d). However, indigenous people have not been consulted in peace building process which is needed to be researched on by independent researchers within the affected communities (McCandless & Karbo, 2011).
The individuals are not independent of the spatial structure of a given region because individual behavior is directly influence by the community. Behavior is developed over a long period of interaction with the environment. Environment is divided into physical and human environment. Language, dressing, housing, eating habits, singing, marriage, worship, respect, and any other cultural norms are dependent to the environment that is inherent by an individual.
Rwenzori region is occupied by sub ethnic groups that originated from Bunyoro-Kitara that moved into the region at different times. Researchers have established that Bayira inherited this name from Bunyoro because Banyoro found Bayira (Abantu Bayira meaning people of long ago) in the land and displaced them. This explains why Bayira or Bakonzo are not Banyoro or Banyakitara. They may be referred to as Batembuzi of Bunyoro Kitara because they were first in the region but displaced and lost territory (Mutaka & Kavutirwaki, 2008).
Individuals cannot live separately from history! The above mistreatment has happened to the community in the Rwenzori and it is still happening prominent people are being killed and none of international humanitarian organization has taken initiatives to probe into the death question of the Bakonzo/Banande.
Cultural transformation (acculturation) should be taught under Citizenship Education as a general course in Universities. The ethnic conflict in Rwenzori should be termed differently since a large number 99% of those loosing lives is of the same community. The challenge should be addressed without guns but culturally with the affected community. Basically conflicts are a result of marginalization and superiority of particularly individuals within specific tribes who have kept on mentioning that one tribe is superior more than another tribe as Peterson (n.d) quotes Syahuka-Muhindo (1991).
Primary school teachers teaching social studies should emphasize the topic “migration of ethnic groups in Uganda”. This topic will help young people to understand that Bantu ethnic group has many communities and they are related because of historical background. The knowledge will help young people to develop into relatives of such communities without conflicts. The multicultural communities where social mobility is high due to trade, employment, health services and education services seem to have high rate of development than a single cultured community. Business is vibrant in areas with people of different cultural background than places with people of the same cultural background. This ideology is evident in rural communities where single community lives in isolation little interaction between people of different cultural backgrounds.
The call for peace and unity in the region is encouraged by many of the stakeholders like Hon. Min. of Defence CryspusKiyonga, Professor Edward Rugumayo, OmudingiyaWaBwambaKamya Martin, Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma, President General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to mention but a few. The appeal should be supported by elites as mentioned that socioeconomic development can spread from Universities to communities. Cultural and institution development can be influenced by cultural transformation through cognitive agents (Tylus, 2015 and Mwesigye, 2012).
Considering the background of the ethnic group in the Rwenzori region, a theory of poly-systems becomes relevant (Even-Zohar, 2010). The poly-systems theory is about heterogeneity and interdependency of communities taking example of Indonesia, United States of America and Israel different people are finding peace to co-exist.
A research should be conducted to establish the relationship and difference in culture for all communities in the Rwenzori which will document their culture for purpose of conservation and learning from one another. The recommended approach is ethnographical where focus groups will be involved and dissemination of results shall be done within the region. This research will help community members to avoid ethno-nationalistic propaganda and stereotypes that have contributed to hatred.
Acculturation tools should be supported to enhance co-existence and development in the region. The community should be helped to understand how to utilize the small portions of land as a struggle which is championed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma. As colonial Boundaries for the country were done without involving (consent) the local community, land grabbing (loss of property) was aided by the colonial masters on the side of Uganda. The community should reorganize themselves for healing from within to adjust to the modern times. This process requires education (cognitive) approach where citizenship education will be included in the curriculum at different levels of study starting from Universities (C’haim, 2007; CCFU, 2014; Lindgren, n.d; and Paluck, 2006).
The government of Uganda should address factors that encouraged Isaaya Mukirania Kibanzanga and group to design and declare a separate state on 30th/June/1962. The government should work with other organization to rehabilitate all those people who participated in creating a separate state so that they may be transformed to stay with others peacefully (Stacey, 2003). The fact that Bayira are still being killed in DRC and Rwenzori without proper explanation increases the trauma hence lack of peace and sense on co-existence. It is important for sense of hope to end cold blood in the region (Wikipedia, 2015a & Wikipedia, 2015 b).
The government of Uganda promised free education to 2,000 children in 1980 which programme was disrupted by the bush war that brought in NRM government. These Children were not educated hence the illiteracy continued and little global can be celebrated by this group which is influential on a separate state in the Rwenzori region. As the government continue harassing these beneficiaries whose children are now more than 2,000 people, it may not be easy to overthrow the ideology by force (Stacey, 2003: 235-6; Wikipedia, 2015 a & Wikipedia, 2015 b).
The citizenship education should explain the metamorphosis process of Uganda into a sovereign state and how many tribes were divided by colonial boundaries which did not please many tribe members to belong to two or three different countries like the case of Bakiga some are in Rwanda, DRC and some in Uganda. The Basamia, Bagisu, Bateso, Karamajongo, Kakwa, Alur, Bamba, Bakonzo to mention but a few all were divided and given to different countries. The constitution of Uganda identifies 65 communities with varied aspirations and cultures ranging from marriage, dressing, dance and language dialects. Africans can still use their languages which they understand best to communicate. As AOU and AU respectively celebrate 50 and 10 years of achievement of independence, conflicts and poverty should be eradicated in Africa by Africans (Lule, 1995; Matsinhe, n.d).
Involving the affected community in resolving their conflicts may be better than use of extreme force and killing. The use of already existing literature like the book “the tribe” by Stacey (2003:235) where he explains Tshombe’s Katanga and Albert Kalonji’s south Kasai may be discussed on radio because this book has never been disseminated to the community of Rwenzori at local FM radio stations. However, it was found out that some university students in Uganda still think in terms of regions and tribes which is not globalization culture (C’haim, 2007; Paluck, 2006; Izama, 2012 and Even-Zohar, 2010).
Finally, Cultural transformation of the Rwenzori community and cultural institution transformation should be understood separately because the two may not mean the same. The cultural transformation of the community involves all communities in the Rwenzori region while cultural institution transformation process will involve Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu administration which does not include all the Rwenzori Community. The conflict should be addressed by use of negotiation and education without force because force failed since 1954 to restore peace (Stacey, 2003; Lindgren, n.d; and CCFU, 2014). The Africans should be encouraged to establish common agenda on peace and stability other than continuous conflicts among communities on the same continent. Africa has got about four language families or ethnic groups that share the same historical background. The Bantu being the largest family and they can easily understand one another if they avoid ethno-nationalistic propaganda.
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