BETTY BIGOMBE

by Monica from Kampala

"It does not matter who you are, as long as you are human. We all deserve peace."
Betty Bigombe (www.usip.org/specialists/bios/current/images/bigombe.jpg)
Betty Bigombe (www.usip.org/specialists/bios/current/images/bigombe.jpg)

My name is Monica Namara and I am here to tell you about my hero, Betty Bigombe.

Betty Oyella Bigombe is a former Uganda government minister and consultant to the World Bank. She is an ethnic Acholi and has been involved in peace negotiations to end the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda since 1994. As of 2005 she was acting as chief mediator between the LRA and government of Uganda.

Bigombe was elected a minister of parliament in 1986, until 1996. In 1988, President Yoweri Museveni appointed her "Minister of State for Pacification of Northern Uganda, Resident in Gulu," a post in which she was tasked with convincing the LRA rebels to give up their struggle. Following the failure of military efforts to defeat the rebels, Bigombe initiated contact with rebel leader Joseph Kony in June 1993. This began what would be known as the "Bigombe talks". In 1993 she was named Uganda's Woman of the Year for her efforts to end the violence. Despite meeting with Kony, the talks collapsed in February 1994. Soon afterward the insurgency intensified and no significant efforts towards peace would be made for the next decade. She also assisted in the peace efforts between Uganda and Sudan.

Betty Bigombe was born in 1954 in northern Uganda. She is very fluent in her mother tongue, Acholi.

<a href=https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ug.html>Map of Uganda</a>
Map of Uganda

She had been living in the United States, but when she watched the news one evening and saw what was happening she packed up her bags and headed for Kampala where she has been living since.

Betty Bigombe is my hero for many reasons. I like her because "she is a woman in a man's world." When she was first offered her job many people were skeptical about whether or not she would perform. However, she proved the world wrong. She has been able to come face to face with one of the world's most feared men and initiate peace talks.

I also admire her ability to balance home life and work. Although she has a busy schedule, she still manages to care for her family. She is also a very God fearing person who seeks the Lord's counsel before she makes a decision. This has helped her to withstand critics' comments. She goes for what she wants and doesn't stop until she achieves it.

I am inspired by the fact that she came from a small humble homestead and became one of the greatest peace seekers of the world. I admire her for her courage. Most people stay at home contemplating decisions and solutions that should be taken; however, Betty Bigombe confronted the problem. She never gives up. When she failed to win a parliamentary seat she still aimed higher and kept on going.

Page created on 10/26/2009 2:51:53 PM

Last edited 1/6/2017 9:55:11 PM

Related Links

- features Betty Bigombe. The AAI was founded in 1953. AAI's mission is to promote enlightened engagement between Africa and America through education training and dialogue.
- United States Institute of Peace
Betty's story - from the Christian Science Monitor
Library of Congress - Find out more about Uganda and its history.