Uganda’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are calling on Queen Elizabeth II to convince President Yoweri Museveni to work with them to find a lasting peace to the northern Uganda conflict. The rebels say President Museveni had often reneged on his previous promises of finding a peaceful end to the over 20 years of the rebel insurgency. The LRA also accused President Museveni of failing to equitably distribute the wealth of the nation, which they said has led to lack of development in northern Uganda.
David Matsanga is the technical advisor for the rebels on International Criminal Court (ICC) matters. From the Kenyan capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Museveni has previously been a stumbling block to ending the violent crisis in northern Uganda.
“First of all I want to say that Ugandans do welcome the visit of the queen, but the queen has come to a place where there exists a mafia system. First of all it oppresses all opposition, it has created a conflict in northern Uganda, which has gone on for 21 years. And this conflict would have been finished long time ago had it not been for the mafia people who have actually let us down and put it a problem in the system of the government of Uganda,” Matsanga noted.
He said they are calling for the queen’s intervention in finding a lasting peace to the northern Uganda conflict.
“The LRA would expect the queen to tell President Museveni his honor of pledges of peace and the agreement. The queen should tell President Museveni to stop harassing his opponents. Northern Uganda has been marginalized for a long time 21 years. When you drive there things are not equitably distributed in that country. It is very true, the south is very different from the north and the east,” he said.
He reiterated some of the LRA’s expectations of the queen’s visit.
“We would like the queen to visit all the places of Uganda and see for herself what type of a situation, poverty that President Museveni has brought on the people of Uganda other than have a Kampala show. The queen should push President Museveni to change his habit of military dictatorship, the dictatorship that has oppressed the people of Uganda for the last 21 years and the LRA wants the queen to push for the peaceful resolution of this conflict,” he emphasized.
Matsanga said the rebels are committed to finding a lasting peace to their over 21 years of insurgency in northern Uganda.
“The LRA high command, general Kony is committed to peace, the entire high command is committed to the peace process. But the problem we have here is we have a president who does not honor peace. When you sign an agreement he does not honor. So this time we want to use this opportunity to tell the queen to tell him (President Museveni) that he should honor the agreement,” Matsanga noted.
He urged the queen to tell President Museveni to bring peace to the victims of the violence that has plagued northern Uganda between the government and the rebels.
“Why the Commonwealth exists is because the queen has honored the agreement, but the president we have with our President Museveni is that he says this and he wants to do that. This time the Ugandans are determined that they want peace, they don’t want to have double standards on the peace process, and that’s why the entire command of the LRA is committed to a peaceful resolution through Dr. Riek Marchar’s (mediator of the peace talks) efforts in Juba. And we are committed to make sure that we shall achieve a lasting sustainable peace to our country,” he said.