victimhood, transitional justice Uganda, sustainable peace

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Human beings to a great extent are what community stories narrate about them. This paper is informed by an ethnological field research carried in one of the remotest villages of Mucwini Sub-county in Kitgum district, northern Uganda, scrutinizes people’s stories as they echo concerns about justice from different perspectives of victimhood in the aftermath of a Lord’s Resistance Army-commanded massacre which claimed the lives of 56 people in a night, the majority of whom (21) were from the Pajong clan. After a decade, all direct violent confrontations have no doubt ceased, however, the search for peace still is utterly skewed by the contesting voices echoing “justice” for the past evil deeds.

Basing on ethnological fieldwork, this study essentially employed a qualitative approach to data collection and analysis although with minimal involvement of quantified data (collected through a structured questionnaire and processed in with the aid of Statistical Packages for Social Sciences software). The findings of this study are discussed within a theoretical framework built on Habermas’ theory of communicative rationality (1996), Freire’s pedagogy of hope (1992) and Seligman’s pedagogy of tolerance (2004) which reveal that in the event of a transitional society (emerging from past violent conflict) like post-massacre in Pajong-A village, where much contestation seems to arise not from the form of the pursued transitional justice but rather from the content in terms of prioritization about the very pursuit of transitional justice. The case of post-massacre scenario in Pajong-A village in particular and northern Uganda in general reiterate the shortcomings of applying the generally agreed Mato Oput tradition among the Acholi people, in the aftermath of a large scale devastation with implications beyond customary prescriptions.


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