Last Updated on: 19th April 2023, 08:36 am
Gulu, April 19, 2023: Persons living with disabilities (PWDs) in Gulu City are advised to help the State by operating as its new intelligence and watchdog squad.
The call was made by Gulu Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Jean Frances Amongin Okili during an engagement with the PWDs last week. The engagement took place at the latter’s premises in the City.
Okili primarily wants and tasked the PWDs to be involved in intelligence work and to be a watchdog in the community by reporting any homosexual activities in Acholi sub-region.
Over one hundred PWDs attended that event organized by some disability activist groups who sought help from RCC.
TND News later had a discussion with Amongin Okili on her call to PWDs and homosexuality fight. She said, “Disabled people can fit to be good intelligence operatives because of the ways they sit in the community and how they are undermined makes them report on any activities happening.”
Okili added that in Uganda people always ignore people living with disability, saying they do not bother to respect them. “However, they (abled people) are doing bad things around or passing around them not knowing people living with disability have good IQ, this an opportunity to work with them as intelligence operatives and a watchdog in the community.”
“Several accounts of homosexuality in Uganda are from schools which had been infiltrated and have become recruitment centres,” RCC said.
Ugandan Parliament last month passed a revised Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 and those found guilty after it’s made a Law will get severe punishments.
“Uganda is facing law power of enforcement officers including the office of the police, judicial offices to fight homosexuality in Uganda,” said Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa.
Okot Lil Romeo, TND News regional correspondent based in Gulu City spoke to some PWDs and they commented on the RCC’s request.
Kumira Walter, a journalist from northern Uganda living with a disability, said he disagrees or agrees with the RCC task, He cautions her, asking, “What sketch study or research is available to show that disabled people can do intelligence works on homosexuality?”
Kumira further urged the office of the RCC on what he described as the “rightful strategic means” they are going to use for the operations to move well. “What has the office of RCC done to fight homosexuality before running to PWDs?” he asks.
“Leaders always run to PWDs seeking support when there is an issue, but when PWDs need help they sideline us.”
The disabled but abled journalist noted that many projects acquired to support PWDs have been silent and none of them benefited from them. For example, he said Neurodevelopmental Disability (NDD) grant money is only 10 per cent which cannot accommodate all the people living with disability in Gulu City, it is contributing to vulnerable people, he added.
Evelyn Saveria Oyella, a disability ambassador in northern Uganda commented that people always ignore disabled people, adding that many disabled people have a high education background, and good IQ to work as intelligence to identify the wrong thing in the community.
Oyella added that the office of the RCC is right to fight homosexuality, but she called for proper strategies and cooperation among disabled people as it is a good opportunity for job enhancement to the vulnerable PWDs.
Stephen Opwonya, NRM chairperson of PWDs in Gulu, said they can work as intelligence to report for any sign of activities related to homosexuality in the community. He cautioned some of the Cabinet ministers involved in corruption, saying they can be bribed with “the homosexuality money” because they want to buy good vehicles, and good houses, among other luxury things for life.
Opwonya criticized the office of Gulu RCC for not being specific on the types of disabled persons she wants to work with as intelligence operatives. “There are many types of disabilities: some are physical and others are not physically seen, they cannot work as intelligence, I appeal to leaders to take action after reporting the matters.”
According to a study done by Gulu Disability People Union [GDPU], in Gulu district, over 32,259 people are living with different types of disabilities.
However, in Bardege-Layibi Division, Gulu City, a total of 5,000 people out of 20,071 are disabled.