Lango Web

The Cultural Site of Lango, Northern Uganda

Speeches by British & Uganda Government Delegates

In this section are speeches by:


Hon Stephen Timms,  MP for East Ham, UK

Hon Amama Mbabazi, MP, Minister for Security/NRM Secretary General, Uganda

Hon Daniel Omara Atubo, MP, Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, Uganda

Hon David Wakikona, MP, Minister of State for reconstruction of Northern Uganda

Speech by Hon Stephen Timms MP

Hon Stephen Timms:


·            Welcomed everyone as to East London where Olympics games will be hosted in five years.


·           Noted the devastating effect of the war on northern Uganda and Lango sub-region in particular. He applauded progress in the peace talks in Juba and appreciated the return of people from IDP camps back home.  


·           On poverty, he said it has been estimated that 70% of the people in northern Uganda are below poverty line. Official statistics have put the proportion at over 60%, compared with 40% nationally and a little more than 20% in central Uganda. This is a great deal to do with economic opportunities available elsewhere to people in the north.


·           On health, he observed that provision in the north is much worse than elsewhere. Uganda’s impressive progress – in striking contrast to other African countries – in reducing rates of HIV prevalence has not been equaled in the north. The UN development programme reported two years ago that almost half – 47% of people living in northern Uganda would not live beyond the age 40. Rates of infant mortality and malnutrition are very high.


·        On education, the conflict has destroyed schools and involved abductions and killings of teachers and children, Its understood increasingly widely that education is the key to future development, and all the countries of the world have signed up to Millennium development Goals, including that every child in the world should by 2015 be able to complete primary education, and that opportunities for girls should be as good as for those boys


·          The trouble and other pressures have led to environmental degradation of the north – the destruction of forests around camps for displaced people; soil erosion; draught; swamps disappearing. And there have been problems too with corruption and poor governance.


·           Britain’s Labour Government, under Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown, have taken a lead in pressing for every developed country to take its share of responsibility for tackling poverty and promoting development around the world.


·           In northern Uganda, DFID, under the new Secretary of State Douglas Alexander, will be continuing to support the needs of displaced people, and will be supporting recovery through the priorities of PRDP – the Peace, Recovery and Development Programme – with the goal of bringing the north to the level of the rest of the country.


·          He gave assurance that the British Government, led by Gordon Brown supports ambition of the Langi for development in northern Uganda in the Lango sub-region.


Speech by Head of Uganda Government Delegation, Hon Amama Mbabazi, Ugandan Minister for Security/ Secretary General NRM

Hon Amama Mbabazi: 


·          Thanked the leadership of Lango Association for inviting the NRM government and for the “timely intervention”.


·           Brought greetings, appreciation and facilitation from the President of Uganda Y.K. Museveni.


·           Appreciated the fact that the Langi have always been nationalists and that they have never supported terrorism.


·          Commended Ugandans in the Diaspora for remittances that have become another source of foreign earnings.


·          Talked about the vision and achievements of the NRM. Achievements included introduction of Universal Primary Education, Universal Secondary Education, and liberalized university education, liberalised economy etc.


·           Assured the delegates of the absolute commitment of the Government of Uganda, to the urgent and expeditious reconstruction of northern Uganda including Lango sub-region. Government has accordingly adopted the National Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) for Northern Uganda which included: consolidation of State Authority, rebuilding and empowering communities, Revitalisation of the Economy, Peace Building and Reconciliation - at  the cost of US$606 million


·           Mentioned that there were improvement in conditions and quality of life in the IDP camps while facilitating the return home and re-integration of the displaced populations


·           Said although NUSAF 1 ends on 30th March 2008, negotiations have commenced with the World Bank for a new NUSAF programme.


·           On infrastructure development, he said that  as a commitment to developing Lango sub-region, work on the tarmac road connecting Lira to Soroti will soon commence. Work on the construction of Karuma hydropower dam project, is slated to start next January.



Recommendations from Hon Amama Mbabazi’s Speech


(a)       The Langi who live and work in the Diaspora should come home however briefly, to make an on the spot assessment of progress made towards sustainable peace in the region, and the challenges that remain. It will be an important avenue for continuing the interaction with Government and other stakeholders that has received a tremendous boost in this Conference.


(b)       In addition to remittances, the Diaspora can contribute by engaging in direct investment in the economy of the region.


(c)       Contacts established abroad by the Langi should be put to good use in order to promote development in Lango and Uganda.


Speech by Hon Daniel Omara Atubo, MP, Minister of Lands, Housing & Urbam Development

 Hon Daniel Omara Atubo:


·           Brought warm greetings from home, including one from His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni and appreciated the contact by Langi in the Diaspora with home, relatives, friends and the Government for purpose of economic development and provision of humanitarian assistance.


·          Said that poverty levels are as high as 70 % and have not declined; compared to national average of 35%.Primary education continues to lag behind in terms of pupils’ ability to complete primary education, he stated. Child mortality rate is extremely high at about 100 per 10,000 births. Infant, child and matrimonial mortality remain high above national average of 505 per 10,000. HIV/AIDS prevalence in Uganda is still high: north-central 8.2%, north-east 3.5%, and north-west 2.4%.


·           Maintained that peace at last is returning to our land, and a majority of the population in Lango estimated at 80% has moved out of IDP camps back to their homes. But the consequences of the conflict are visible everywhere on our people’s faces. The loss of life and assets including maiming, destruction and looting of property are everywhere to be seen.


·           Stressed that development or rebuilding society takes time and requires visionary, deliberate, well planned, courageous and bold actions and sacrifices by leaders and society as a whole, like in the case of Britain over 300 years ago.


·           Assured people that NRM government led by His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni has the will and capacity to rebuild Lango. However, the goodwill of government must be reciprocated by the goodwill of the people of Lango.


·           Dispelled the allegation that Government wants to grab Lango land, maintaining that the current land problems in Lango are local disputes between clans, relatives and institutions.



 Recommendations from Hon Omara Atubo’s speech


(a)       Priorities of the people of Lango are or should be: peace, security and stability; return and resettlement of the IDP; rebuilding, rehabilitation and reconstruction of communities; good governance; servant leadership; resources for development; networking; and good land policy.


(b)       Lango should welcome support that will bring peace and prosperity. Some of the proposed interventions include: re-establishment of access roads, provision of water, revival and re-enhancement of education, provision of emergency relief and seeds, accessing of appropriate technology and farming tools for food security and income generation, micro-finance for micro-business, re-education and re-orientation of minds and hearts of the population towards peace and development rather than war and psychological counseling; vocational/skills training especially for young people; outreach to local population.


(c)       Development resources all over the world are limited and competitive. Therefore, the Langi must create favorable and attractive conditions for these developments to reach the region. The goodwill of Government of Uganda must be reciprocated by the goodwill of the people of Lango as a way of ensuring development in the region.


(d)       The Langi in the Diaspora, have the unique opportunity of available resources as well as networking to tap the resources. Their knowledge and exposure in developed western societies are powerful resources which can be used to mobilize galvanize our people. They can also source for markets for our products and attract investment for the huge development opportunities back home


(e)       On land, people should use the Constitution, the Land Act and the facts on the ground. The peaceful resolution of land disputes must be based on the law and factual evidence


(f)         In order to rebuild Lango effectively we must promote LOVE, RECONCILIATION and UNITY.

Speech by Hon David Wakinona MP




Left: Hon David Wakikona presents PRDP document to the Chairman of Lango Association Alex okullo





Mr Chairman, what do we do, now that we had a conflict that destroyed parts of Lango and killed people in Lango? This is what we are looking upon today.


I will not mention background because this has already been covered. I will talk about the following things:


What interventions have we done in the north and Lango in particular? There were 18 districts but now there are 29 because new districts were created. But I heard the paramount chief of Lango ask for more so in future there might be even more.


The conflict has also made costs in the economy difficult. For instance the area of healthcare especially HIV has increased. Details are in the document submitted to the Chairman of Lango association.


In 2000 there was the amnesty commission. Many people came back home and go resettled.


We have had Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan and also Emergency rehabilitation of the North under Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC). JMC came about because some donors and some people outside Uganda thought the north was not getting what the rest of Uganda were getting and therefore the Government and donors decided to run the north together. The Chairperson of JMC is the Prime Minister. I am also in the group. All LC5 Chairmen attend the group’s meetings. They tell us what is happening and are believed more than me by the donors. We have done a lot under the JMC. Each ministry was given what to do and report back each month.


I am encouraged to see an association of the Langi. You the intellectuals will have to come and go to villages of Lango – a group of you – and ask what people did with the money they got from government. Under the JMC Lango was given 6.6 million Euro and Uganda government gave 16.6 billion on top.


In Uganda we have got decentralization. The Minister doesn’t touch money. I only go and see what is being done. Districts are not ruled from Kampala anymore. Each district is a government of its own. They make plans and bring to us. We make the budget and give them the money. If a district doesn’t use the money properly it is their responsibility.


I was surprised to hear the chairman explain why we gave money for facilitation of this conference. We have been having other regions, like the Acholi – they have been having Kachoke Madit, and they always call us. It is not only the Langi who receive that money. The Baganda have got it etc.


As Langi, don’t refuse the help you get from government because the government is yours. We have a democracy. People should talk freely and then we get chance to answer. We can fund solutions together. We don’t have to be in the same party.


We have been de-mining the areas affected by conflict where people are returning. A few things that were not exploded were found in Lango and removed.


We have been also having NUSAF – a loan by Uganda government of 100 million dollars distributed to 18 districts. They signed the contracts with the World Bank. Their signatures are there. The money went to communities that have initiated projects. The communities themselves should initiate projects and open accounts and then the Bank of Uganda sends the money to these communities. They should make sure they use the money on what it is applied for.


Lango Association shouldn’t just sit here and talk. Go home and find out how the communities in districts have been using the money for instance those who got money to build schools, boreholes etc, what have they done? If we don’t monitor, the money may not do what it is supposed to do.


Lango alone under NUSAF got 24 billion 184 million shillings. This was for community development initiatives, vulnerable group support etc. Details are in the document submitted to the chairman. We have in my office a data centre which plots all development projects. The Langi intellectuals here should help people left behind.


Before NUSAF we had NAP 1. It didn’t do very well so we brought NAP2 (NUSAF). Funding is now handled at district level.


We had Community Reconciliation and Conflict management fund, I gave Won Nyaci 65 million shs to move round and make peace.


There were camps all over Lango during the conflict – in Apac, Oyam, Otuke etc.


We have now come with a big plan for northern Uganda, called PRDP (Peace and Reconstruction development Plan). There are 14 aspects of the plan – details are in the document handed to the chairman. I was shocked to learn Lango association had no copy of PRDP. The money we are going to spend in Lango is all here. All in all we will spend 606 million US dollars in Northern Uganda. PRDP is starting on 1st October 2007.


Some of the NGOs in Lango are not being run by Langi. You must come to Uganda and do some work. If we are all determined to work hard it will not take 20-30 years to catch up with the rest of the country – it will take less.


We gave money to the Chairman of Oyam to import brick making technology.


There are about 300 NGOs in Uganda, but what do they do with the money? Some would have 1 borehole accountable for 6 or more!. Lack of planning in the past is what led to misappropriation of funds.


I want to end with a piece of advice. Don’t abuse each other. Let’s unite. There is a need for reconciliation with the Acholi. Talk to them so that they include the name of Lango in some projects.



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