President launches The Elders’ Forum of Uganda (TEFU)

Sep 2, 2015

H.E President Yoweri Museveni (centre with hat) poses with members of The Elders Forum Uganda (TEFU) after its launch in Entebbe, Uganda. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda 2015).

Entebbe - The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU) has officially been launched today by His Excellency President Yoweri K. Museveni.

The Forum which is comprised of 13 eminent Uganda elders was founded in 2010 to provide an impartial space for dialogue particularly during electoral seasons. It is envisioned as a non-state platform providing a neutral space for citizens and political actors to exchange ideas and build consensus on issues of national importance.

Addressing the Forum, the President applauded the efforts of the Elders in promoting dialogue as a way building consensus.

“Dialogue is very key for peace and unity in the country, hence the importance of this Elders Forum,” President Museveni said.

He added that dialogue needed to be thorough, where all actors involved bring their issues to the table in a peaceful manner so as to achieve prosperity.

Ambassador Betheul Kiplagat, a distinguished elder and peace negotiator from Kenya who has negotiated for peace in Kenya and many other parts of Africa, delivered the key note address. He called on the elders to take initiative and not wait for anyone else to take up the responsibility for ensuring peaceful dialogue.

“When a problem comes, take the initiative, do not wait for someone else. If four or five people take the responsibility then something can happen,” Amb. Kiplagat said while addressing the Forum.

He also advised the Elders not to work alone but to involve others in their efforts, saying that; “there are youth, professors, women and many others. All these have something to offer and you offer that platform. Don’t just bring them together, support them.”

He cautioned them to avoid trying to make personal gain, political or otherwise from their positions but to remain humble and listen to every person they encounter in spite of their status.

“Every human encounter is sacred, be careful, you are put in front of angels. Do not underrate anyone, you do not know the message they could give you that could change your country. When working for peace, you never know.” Amb. Kiplagat told the Elders.

Hon. Justice James Ogoola, the Chairman of the Forum, noted that the forum was created to provide protection, conflict resolution and communication at the round table of peace. This is the message that is amplified by its logo which is made up of a shield, two spears with bended arrows, a dove and a drum.

The Forum is supported under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Peace Architecture Framework for Conflict Transformation project whose main objective is to promote an environment of internal dialogue and establish institutional mechanisms that promote, enhance and deepen democratic systems of governance.

UNDP’s Country Director, Ms. Almaz Gebru, pledged continued support for the Forum, saying that UNDP’s main goal was to see that the impartial space provided by the forum will ensure that Uganda remains to be a peaceful Pearl of Africa.

Under the same project, UNDP also supports the National Consultative Forum (NCF), and Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) which promotes multi-party cooperation and dialogue, serving as a platform for promoting peace in the country.

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