“We now live like Human Beings…”

Sabiiti Wilber is a 34 year old Mutwa from Rubindi village in the hills of Kabale district bordering Bwindi impenetrable forest. He is happily married with four children.

Empowering Minority Groups in Kabale district: Wilber with one of his children at their home in Kabale

“My father told me that many years ago we used to stay deep in the forests where we comfortably lived with our families. We always had healthy food to eat and we were happy people. But then the government started evicting us from the forests saying we were destroying it and the wild life. When we were evicted, we had nowhere to go so we settled along the boundaries of the forests until some organizations came and resettled us in the surrounding villages. However, the Bakiga people we found in the villages did not welcome us; they called us animals from the forest and said we should go back where we came from. They raped our wives and daughters. So we kept running back into the forests; some of our family members ran away and we have never seen them again because they feared being beaten and abused by the Bakiga.” Wilber calmly shared his father’s story.

Even after many years, things were not any different from my father’s experience. I was personally beaten several times by the Bakiga but did not know where to report. We had no voice and just accepted the situation as it was. But am very thankful to AICM and Independent Development Fund (IDF) for their work to end this discrimination and injustice; they have fought for our rights and we now live like human beings. I wouldn’t have had the capacity to acquire this piece of land and raise a family without support from AICM. They (AICM) taught us about our human rights and how we should rise up and report anyone who abuses our rights. Through their radio programs they reach more people with Human rights messages like ‘every Ugandan whether a Mutwa or not has rights and they should be respected’. These messages are heard by everyone including the Bakiga who usually are the main offenders.