Friday, July 17, 2009



16th July, 2009

By Chris Ocowun

THE Netherlands ambassador, Jeroen Verheul, has said LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony should be punished at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the war division of court in Kampala for the crimes he committed in northern Uganda.
LRA must be punished – Envoy

“There is need to ensure that those who committed atrocities against innocent civilians don’t go unpunished. The victims of this war do not want impunity. Impunity is like a disease.”

He was on Thursday speaking during a ceremony to unveil a peace monument at the main round-about in Gulu town.
The monument was built by the Netherlands government.

The area residents were excited as the ambassador flanked by the LC5 vice-chairman, McMot Kitara, Archbishop, John Baptist Odama and Amuru resident district commissioner, Yakobo Komakech uncovered the monument.

Handing over a replica of the statue to representatives of the twelve Acholi, Lango and West Nile districts at Kaunda grounds, Verheul explained that embassy erected the statue in Gulu because it was the gateway to northern Uganda. He said the statue symbolises hope for the future despite.

The monument comprises three destroyed guns at the feet of a girl and boy reading a pile of text books.
The books, Verheul noted, portrayed education as a pillar of knowledge, an instrument of reconciliation and a basis for moral building.

“The monument symbolises the end of conflict and ushers in peace. The two former LRA abductees are reading books on top of a pile of other text books as the guns are placed down. This symbolises that guns no longer have room in this region and the books are the only way forward.”

Kitara said Kony could not take over power because he was not educated.
”If Kony and his commanders were educated, two things would have happened; either they would have overthrown the Government, or the war would have ended several years ago,” Kitara explained.

“This is because they would have treated the civilians as partners”
He noted that areas with less educated leaders had more problems than those where the leaders are educated.
Kitara observed that it was easier to solve land wrangles between educated people than among the less educated people.

He appealed to The Netherlands government to extend the Acholi bursary scheme, which is beeing implemented by the Windle Trust.
“The programme is ending soon, yet the region still has more than 700,000 children who want quality education,” he noted.