Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Capt. Mike Mukula, the Eastern Region National Chairman for the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM Party has resorted to Arrow boys groups to mobilize support for the incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni in Teso.
Arrow Boys is a militia that was formed in Teso to fight against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebels between 2003 and 2005. Although the local militia succeeded in their mission that saw LRA defeated not only in Teso but in the North, some are living desperate lives.
But, in the company of Gweri County NRM flag bearer, Richard Elimu, Mukula ferried over 700 former militias to Timisha Hotel in Soroti where he promised to convince President Museveni to have Arrow Boys recognized with medals in June.
He tasked them to comb villages, door-to-door, mobilizing for votes ahead of the July 14, polls. He says that they have set aside June 15, to celebrate the first Arrow Day in Soroti, the heart of Teso in recognition of the immense contribution of the local militia.
Mukula also promised to contribute 10 million Shillings for the Arrow SACCO that he notes will be supported by the incoming MPs in the region. He said that he will mobilize and convince the MPs to contribute at least 10 million Shillings each to the SACCO to help Arrow Boys. The Arrow Boys were also promised an office with Mukula paying its rent for one first year to enable the former local militia to handle their issues.
But a 62- year- old Mikairi Ebeu, also a former Commander of Arrow Boys in Gweri Sub County said that the president has not fulfilled almost all the pledges he made to them several years back. He said that each of them was promised 25 iron sheets, four oxen and support to the families of the 144 arrow boys who died during the war.
According to Ebeu, after the war in 2006, less than five out of the 12 battalions of Arrow Boys were compensated with 840, 000 million Shillings.
Anna Amulen, a resident of Gweri Sub County said the government always remembers the arrow militias when it comes to elections.
Mukula’s move comes barely a week after Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the FDC Presidential candidate promised to compensate Arrow Boys who fought against the LRA. Amuriat, in a two- hour talk show hosted by Etop radio said that President Museveni was not committed to the pledges he made to the region but was only using them to get another term of office.
After the war, some of the Arrow group militia personnel were integrated into the Uganda People’s Defense Force while others retired to the villages.