Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Efforts in Northern Uganda
'If you want peace, work for justice' is a dictum in the Catholic Social Teaching. This was the approach adopted by the religious leaders of the Acholi subregion of Northern Uganda, forming themselves into a peace effort, the Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Initiative (ARLPI). It was the unprecedented daring of the ARLPI, going beyond cultural and denominational differences as well as beyond the historical and tribal cliches that they could forge a way for the peaceful resolution to the then dire sufferings of Northern Uganda, caused by a designed war of extermination that had been sealed off from the international community, yet had already claimed thousands of victims, especially the child soldiers and the vulnerable of the society. Today little much is said about the ARLPI, yet their legacy lives on. May the publication of this work submitted a little over ten years ago be one of the ways of paying tribute to their efforts, even when Dominic Ongwen is now at the ICC in The Hague: 'Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God! (Matthew 5:9)' May true peace return to Uganda and the many troubled parts of the world through peaceful efforts such as of ARLPI.
Robert Lukwiya Ochola MCCJ, 1972, is an Acholi Comboni Missionary priest from Northern Uganda, who completed his theological training at the Karl Rahner's Faculty of Theology of the University of Innsbruck. After a close to ten years of missionary experience among the Xhosa people in South Africa, he is back in his native land for the same mission.