The second in command of Uganda’s rebels Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Vincent Otti, says the LRA will not change its stance for a change in the venue of the stalled peace talks in juba. This follows Kenya’s rejection to host the peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA. Otti also dismissed president Museveni’s insistence on juba as the venue for the peace talks. He said the war could be reignited if the government does not compromise on a change in venue.
Vincent Otti said the rebel LRA has always been ready for peace talks.
“We are the ones always calling for the peace talks. Now Museveni is not following the rules of the peace talks in Juba because he is deploying so many UPDF forces in Sudan, trailing my people and fighting is going on,” he said.
Otti accused the mediator of the peace talks; south Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar for what he said is a plot with President Museveni to assassinate LRA leaders.
“Riek Machar is having a deal with Museveni to capture the top leadership and that is to eradicate the movement of the LRA, and that is why we reject Juba completely and the mediation of Riek Machar… If we are talking peace in Juba it is as if we are having the talks in UPDF garrison in Bombo headquarters or even in Nakasero State House,” he said.
Otti said the LRA has lost confidence in mediator Riek Machar.
“I’m not afraid to say that if Riek Machar is mediating then it is as if Museveni himself is mediating the peace talks. Now as we want to shift the peace talks anywhere, we are still willing to talk peace to end the war in Uganda,” Otti noted.
Otti said the government’s rejection of a change in venue of the currently stalled peace talks might re-ignite the war.
“I’m saying so because Museveni’s government is fighting my people in the eastern side of the Nile. If they do not want to shift the peace talks in Juba then it means there is something behind the curtain in Juba. That is why we are not going to accept this proposal from the government…peace is not in Juba and peace is not Riek Machar… They should accept a venue change so we can all sit and have the peace talks,” he said.
Otti said the LRA only wants the peace talks to be held anywhere but Juba.
“We are not going back to Juba. But if the international community knows for sure that the talks can be shifted to another place, then we, the LRA, are ready to accept any venue change and so should the Museveni government,” Otti said.
He said it would be a stumbling block for the peace talks if the International Criminal’s Court indictments of the LRA leadership were not withdrawn.
“The indictment should not be a condition for the peace talks… even if we sign a comprehensive agreement, the last thing would be the withdrawal of the indictment from the Hague because without that it would be another road block or another obstacle to the peace talks,” he said.
Otti dismissed alleged threats from President Museveni that Ugandan troops would attack the rebels if they fail to continue with the peace talks.
“That one is not a threat to me because it is not happening. As I’m talking now they are fighting my people everyday. Let me say, since the cessation of hostilities and the signing of the peace agreement and my people gathered at the assembly point in Owini-Kibul, from that time till now they have been fighting my people,” Otti said.