My Thoughts: We have to Pray Hard, Raise the Volume of our Demands & Remain Vigilant!

By Norah Matovu*

It was with great shock that we read about the killing of the 147 people at Garissa University. I have struggled to find the appropriate words to say and in this end the blog by Felogene has enabled me to break the silence.

To all our our fellow citizens in Kenya and members of the East African Community, your loss is our loss and we were greatly saddened by the heinous actions of these men, born of woman, who are so reckless in their actions to cause so much pain and suffering in the lives of so many people. The scare alert is on in Uganda as well about plans to attack an education institution along Jinja/Kampala Highway. Security has been beefed up everywhere but we are also saying No: We shall not operate in the mode of fear. Unfortunately it was a day after the attack on Garissa that the Legal fraternity in Uganda lost one of our own, a Principal Senior Female Prosecutor, Joan Magezi, who was brutally murdered on her way home after work at around 7:15 pm.

Her murder was witnessed by three of her children, including one who had just returned from South Africa where she is undertaking her University education, to share the Easter Celebrations with her Mum and family members!!

Joan Kagezi worked with the Kenyan and Tanzanian Law Enforcement Agencies at the initial stages of the investigations into the Kampala bombing of 2010 by Al-shabaab terrorists which happened just a week before the African Union Summit held in Kampala. She was the principal prosecutor of the case. It is not yet clear whether her death is linked to the work she has been involved in but for sure she has paid a very high price as she was killed in the line of duty. Joan was a widow since 2006 when her husband pass on and she has put one shilling of top of the other to secure quality education for her four children – the last one only 11 years old.

Talking of education, women sacrifice everything to give their children better opportunities in life through attainment of a sound education. Many Ugandans have children in Kenya pursuing education in international schools and at the University level. The reverse is also true about the many students in Uganda from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.  We have to remain confident on a daily basis that peace and security prevails as no one knows where these people want or plan to strike next.

Yes, I am lighting a candle for the senseless loss of life of young people in Garissa to keep hope burning. We all have to do the same. It is mind blowing to imagine the abuse that may have happened to the Chibok girls in the last one year. I fear the worst as these rebels like the one we had in Uganda, Joseph Kony of the Lords Resistance Army, who is now on the run between Central African Republic and parts of the DRC, have the habit of condemning young girls in their captivity to sexual slavery by assigning them to their generals.

The effects and impact of these experiences are so evident in northern Uganda. We have to pray hard, raise the volume of our demands, and remain vigilant. I hope with the change of Guards in Nigeria’s leadership a lasting solutions will be found to end the conflict in the north eastern region of Nigeria.

In Solidarity,

*Norah Matovu- Winyi, a member of FEMNET, currently working at NOMREK Law Consultants & Advocates in Uganda

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