Listening to the message of reconciliation, Saleri Kake Jetu, now a widow of nine children, wiped her tears in what appeared to be a haunting memory of her husband and father of children, who was killed in the Kasese post-election clashes. The pain as she listened to the story of her fellow victims was visible with every tear that dropped.
Similarly, Murumbira Stephen, a former resident of Kasenyi-Buhohiro village, in Kasesee, suffered loss when his two houses were burnt, his banana plantations destroyed, five goats, 15 hens and all property destroyed during the clashes.
“I was harvesting beans on the day of the attack. I received a call from a friend who told me not to go back to my house because it had been destroyed. People helped me fetch my children from school and we met at a certain village nearby,” Murumbira narrated.
Murumbira and his family of seven children and one wife now live in Kasese town with the support of his friend Jackson Kazibale. “It is my first time to return to this village ever since the incident occurred. If it were not for religious leaders, I would not come here because I fear for my life,” he said.
These and so much more were the stories shared by the victims of the post-election clashes in Kasese and Bundibugyo, when the religious leaders visited them on 13th and 14th April, 2016. The Mufti of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, in all the villages visited, stressed the message of reconciliation and respect for each other.
“None of us decided to be made female or male, a Mukonzo or Bamba, a Muslim or Christian. God decided that each of us be formed in a nature he deemed fit. If you segregate and persecute another because of their make, you are questioning God’s creation. In order to please God, we need to accept the form in which we were created,” Said Sheikh Shaban.
Religious leaders went along with clothing the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), which provided food and other relief items for the people in the camps. The team in total supported 186 most affected families, 150 from Bundibugyo and 36 from Kasese.
According to the acting Country Director of ADRA, Solomon Kateregga, more help will be provided to the affected families but priority was being given to the most vulnerable who included children, elders, persons with disability and pregnant women.
Each family whose house was burnt received 25kgs of posho, 18kgs of beans, one litre of cooking oil and one kilo of salt. The families of those whose members were killed received the same but with 50kgs of posho, instead of 25.