The role of cultural leaders in conflict resolution in the Rwenzori Region, Uganda
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The study assessed the role of cultural leaders in conflict resolution in the Rwenzori region, Uganda. It had three (3) specific objectives and these were: 1) to examine the root causes of conflicts in the Rwenzori region; 2) to find out actors and factors perpetuating conflicts in the Rwenzori region and; 3) to assess strategies used to resolve conflicts in the Rwenzori region. A qualitative and quantitative research design was used. The study was done on 265 respondents who constituted a sample size. Purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were used to reach the respondents under which self- administered questionnaires, focus groups and interviews were used as tools to collect data. The tools led the researcher to collect qualitative and quantitative information as presented in Chapter Four of this dissertation. The data was organized basing on specific objectives herewith and a computer programme – Scientific Program for Social Scientists (SPSS) was used to organize the quantitative data and chi-square was used to analyze the data. The findings of the study show that conflicts in the Rwenzori region are caused by various factors such as the impact of colonialism, ethnicity, land shortage, resource ownership, population pressure and poverty. It was also found that among the actors and perpetrators of conflicts in the Rwenzori region are the Babwisi/Bamba, Bakonzo, Batooro, district administrators and cultural leaders. The findings of the study show that the cultural leaders are more of perpetrators than providers of solutions to the conflicts in the Rwenzori region. It was also found that strategies such as negotiations, arbitration, mediation and traditional methods have been used to resolve the conflicts in the Rwenzori region but with little success. The study concludes that since the conflicts are caused by the factors within the context, there is a need to turn what has been causing conflicts into sources of peace. Several recommendations on how to resolve conflicts through cultural leaders and other means in the Rwenzori region have been made. The study also recommends that the Government of the Republic of Uganda should have a department for early warnings and conflict resolution at all levels such that officers can be approached to resolve the conflicts not only in the Rwenzori region but also in other parts of the country. An area for further research on conflict resolution in the Rwenzori region has been suggested.