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Religious Leaders to Unite Acholi Sub Region Leaders

According to Ocan, the just concluded campaigns were marred by gross bribery, the unprecedented spread of false propaganda, vulgarity, hate speech, betrayal against their opponents that requires peaceful dialogue.

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Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) plans to unite the winners and losers in last month's parliamentary elections.

The Chairperson of ARLPIretired Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda Nelson Onono Onweng made the offer following an appeal made by the Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ochan.

According to Ochan, the just concluded campaigns were marred by gross bribery, the unprecedented spread of false propaganda, vulgarity, hate speech, betrayal against their opponents that requires peaceful dialogue.

Ocan asked religious leaders in the region to work towards uniting and reconciling rival politicians in the just concluded general elections.

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In Chua West County, Kitgum district, during the campaigns, there was high use of vulgar language and hate speech by local musician turned politician Bosmic Otim against his opponents Okin PP Ojara, the incumbent legislator and the MP-elect and Charles Ocaya. 

In Lamwo there were several incidents of violence between supporters of Molly Lanyero and her arch-rival and Woman MP-elect Nancy Achora who was also arrested on allegations of using state agents to intimidate her opponents' supporters.  

In Aruu County, Pader district, Odonga Otto and Christopher Komakech both had a soiled relationship during the campaigns with the incumbent MP accusing his rival of using key government officials to intimidate him and his supporters.   Otto has since petitioned the electoral commission seeking nullification of the elections.    

Retired Bishop Onono Onweng noted that many leaders could have had disagreements prior, during and in the post-election period saying reconciliation would safeguard against further enmity.    Onono says that apart from reconciling leaders who lost the elections and their rivals they also intend to prevail over elected and re-elected MPs.

He adds that on several instances Members of Parliament from the region have been embroiled in unresolved squabbles and bickering which was affecting the development agenda of the Acholi people.

According to Onono, all the twenty-eight newly elected and re-elected MPs from the sub-region will next month convene to try to devise ways of committing towards embracing cohesion and addressing the pressing issues that affect the Acholi sub-region.

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The Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) Chairperson Okin PP Ojara, also the Chua West County MP admitted there are tensions within the group, but welcomed the move saying the clergy are very instrumental in promoting peace.

Okin expressed optimism that the meeting once embraced will not only consolidate and offer hope for electorates but would also maintain peaceful co-existence among leaders and their electorates.