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Ugandan Government Gives Open-ended Extension for Peace Deal Deadline

Tuesday, September 12th, was the deadline originally set by the Ugandan government for a peace deal with the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. However, the government has granted an open-ended extension to the peace process.

Robert Kabushenga is a spokesman for Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni. From Kampala, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about why the September 12th deadline was originally set.

“We had to put a particular timeframe to the discussions, so that it’s not a long and endless process. So, by giving it a timeframe it meant that we had to weigh our options. And now, we’re satisfied with the progress so far. We think that it is time to review the date, especially since after signing the cessation of hostilities agreement, and we have found that it’s working well. In our opinion, we can extend the date.”

Since last month, LRA rebels have been making their way to southern Sudan for peace talks. Kabushenga says, “The rebel LRA is aware of the timeframe that they have. They have only one more week in which to show that they’re congregating. And the information that we have on the ground is that they’re moving to their agreed locations.”

Asked whether the Ugandan government is still seeking the dismissal of International Criminal Court indictments against LRA leader Joseph Kony and his commanders, the presidential spokesman says, “We will get to that stage once the agreement is signed, but we are already trying to discuss with them. We’ve been briefing them on an ongoing basis. So we feel that once the agreement is signed, and then they could come out of the bush, then you could start the legal process of trying to have those dealt with.”

And if the ICC refuses to drop the indictments, he says the government is receiving legal advice on what could be done.