The leader of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel negotiating team with President Yoweri Museveni’s government says he has quit his position with immediate effect. David Matsanga said his action was the direct result of rebel Leader Joseph Kony’s refusal to sign the final peace deal yesterday (Thursday), claiming he needed more clarification. Kony’s refusal to sign the final peace deal prompted chief mediator Riek Marchar to send envoys to explain the difficulty Kony seems to be having.
The final peace deal would have ended over two decades of LRA insurgency in northern Uganda that is blamed for the loss of lives and property. David Matsanga tells reporter Peter Clottey from the Southern Sudanese Capital, Juba that he is disappointed in rebel leader Joseph Kony.
“I have been the chief negotiator for the Lord’s Resistance Army and I have been in opposition against President Museveni, but I have decided that I can no longer tolerate the type of tricks that are involved in the LRA by the leadership. When general Joseph Kony tells me that I want to sign this agreement on this date, and then he doesn’t turn up. He doesn’t even call me to tell me that he is not going to be in such and such a place, so that I can tell the world and other people not to come, you can imagine the type of stress that I have been under,” Matsanga pointed out.
He said witnesses who trooped to the area to witness the signing of the final peace deal were hugely disappointed.
“There were thousands of people who came to Ri-Kwamgba today to witness the signing of the final peace agreement on the part of the LRA. I can’t continue to tell a lie. I cannot cover up with some things. I have stuck out my neck on this radio and you know very well that I have done it. But I cannot do it any longer,” he said.
Matsanga reiterated he no longer wants to be part of the rebel negotiating team with Uganda’s government.
“It is not a mere threat. I have left. I left when general Joseph Kony did not turn up. And when he did not turn the courtesy of calling me as the chairman of the negotiating team to tell me that this is the position. I have been to Ri-Kwamgba to explain these documents to him and I have secured for general Joseph Kony not to be taken to The Hague, it is my argument. It is me who did it. And instead of talking to me directly, he cowardly goes on to talk to other people without talking to me as the chairman. So my conscience is very clear I have quit,” Matsanga said.
He concurs that Uganda government’s claim of Kony not being serious would be justified if the rebel leader fails to sign the final peace agreement.
“I think that if he (Kony) doesn’t come today and sign this document then the people would say he has been playing tricks that is all. I hope today and I encourage him wherever he is that this was the best agreement that would make Kony secure what would keep him free, and nobody will attack him,” he noted.
Matsanga said Kony’s failure to sign the final peace deal could potentially destroy the trust the international community has in the whole peace process.
“The trust would not be there if he does not turn up to sign the peace deal because he will never get any chance to have any peace like this. No country again is going to pay for any more negotiations after this one because this one was thoroughly negotiated and this one particularly has a lot for the interest of the people in northern and northeastern Uganda,” Matsanga said.