Thursday, 15 January 2015

Local Leaders Commit to Improve Batwa Representation and Participation in Governance

In the bid to address the historical challenge of limited participation in decision making processes and representation in leadership positions (which is believed to be propelling discrimination against the batwa), AICM in the quarter ending December organized sub county level dialogue meetings with the local leaders to discuss this challenge and also devise strategies for addressing it.  The meetings held in Ikumba and Bufundi sub-counties pointed out high Batwa inferiority complex as a hiccup to their participation in community leadership. In order to have the Batwa articulate their Human rights issues and get more involved in the fight against discrimination, the local leaders present suggested that more opportunities to improve representation and participation of Batwa at different community levels of governance be explored. They cited election/appointment of the batwa in leadership positions as one sure way of ensuring increased representation and participation of the batwa in governance processes.  

Ikumba S/C Chief committing himself at the meeting
Several leaders in attendance committed to include the batwa on the relevant committees at the sub counties and within the community; for example Ikumba Sub County Chief and Ihunga Church of Uganda Parish Priest Rev. John Karinyangye pledged to appoint Batwa representatives on the sub-county land committee, Forest Protection Committees and Church Warden positions respectively, while the   Head teachers of Ryamihanda and Kiriba Primary schools Mr. Kyarisiima Fabisi and Mr. Ekyorisima Eudita committed to encourage and groom more Batwa pupils to take up responsibility in the respective schools. 

In fulfilment of the commitments made, some batwa were elected/ appointed to fill various available positions; for example, Sabiti Wilber, Jeriminah Halerimana Pusi, Apollo Kachurwa and Ruzabarande Matekye were selected for training as VHTs, Habyarimana Elias was also appointed as a church warden while Kimpaye Keren was appointed as a mutwa representative on the Murubindi Local Council committee.Similary, Mr. Ngabirano Amulet was also selected to be a community crime preventer, while Kebirungi Sarah a pupil of Kariba Primary School was supported for elections as a head prefect of the school. 
AICM believes that with more batwa in leadership, less batwa marginalization and discrimination will be witnessed because they will be in position to articulate their concerns better and also demand for equity, equality and justice in society