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Uganda’s LRA Rebels Deny Peace Negotiation Walkout

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni government yesterday (Thursday) accused the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels of abandoning the ongoing peace negotiations in the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba. This comes after the rebel delegation walked out in protest over the refusal of the government to agree to appoint members of the rebels to cabinet positions in President Yoweri Museveni’s government. The LRA contends it signed an agreement last year with the government, which stipulated that the rebels would be incorporated into the government as part of the peace negotiations. But the government rejected the rebels demand.

David Matsanga is the leader of the rebel negotiating team with the Uganda government. From the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba he tells reporter Peter Clottey the Ugandan government is reneging on its promise.

“That is total nonsense, it is total rubbish and there is no figment of truth. Our delegation has not walked out of the negotiations; we only protested one MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) forces are attacking our people in Ri-Kwamgba. They are flying too low so that they cause problems while we are on the negotiating table. Point number two the government of Uganda signed a document of comprehensive solutions last year, which says that they will share power, they will allow the LRA to participate in power in Uganda,” Matsanga pointed out.

He accused the Ugandan government of unwillingness to talk about last year’s agreement, which he said stipulated power sharing with the rebels.

“So, when we reached the stage to discuss the power sharing the Uganda government said oh no, no, no we don’t want to discuss that, so we told the chief mediator to teach them. It looks like the whole delegation of the Uganda government is bankrupt because it has not the idea of what they are negotiating about,” he said.

Matsanga claimed the LRA rebels are equally qualified to be part of President Museveni’s government as part of the power sharing deal at the ongoing peace negotiations in Juba.

“Do you think we are not worthy to have cabinet posts? You think Museveni got cabinet post like what? He is not also qualified to even be there. There are people in northern and northeastern Uganda who are also qualified. They need a share of the national cake. Museveni’s share is a one-man show. His family has taken over the whole thing in Uganda,” Matsanga noted.

He denied the LRA has demanded cash at the talks.

“We have never asked for any cash. Never! This new executive does not ask for cash, for what? All what we are saying is that after DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration), which is agenda number five. Our officers must be looked after very well with their ranks so that they are absolved. Those who want to join The Uganda army can join, and we have secured that and we are very happy with that and we are not going to push anything more than that,” he said.