Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has warned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Rebels to comply with the current peace negotiations in the southern Sudanese capital, Juba or perish. President Museveni made the remarks in response to LRA deputy leader, Vincent Otti who promised a resumption of war in northern Uganda if the ongoing peace talks, end without the International Criminal Court (ICC) canceling arrest warrants against the top rebel leadership. President Museveni said Otti’s pronouncement was provocative and could jeopardize the peace negotiations.
Vincent Otti told VOA that although the rebels want the peace talks to succeed, they also want a power-sharing government with President Museveni.
“Let me tell you the truth, we want a true clean heart for the peace talks, for all Ugandans because I am a Ugandan and all the LRA’s are Ugandans. We are not non-citizens of Uganda. What we want is a true faith but won’t want to shout that we want to fight. I’m telling you the truth, if the Uganda government is really in good faith of ending the war or to end the conflict in northern Uganda, they should also take the notice very well of lifting up the indictments in the Hague, this is what I have been complaining about,” he said.
Otti questioned why the rebels would be tried in the Hague rather than in Uganda.
“We have a system of judgment in Uganda, we even have Luzira (Ugandan maximum security prison), and we even have the High Court. Why are we accused or indicted in the Hague? Don’t’ we have a High Court in Uganda? This is what we are saying. If we have done something wrong or whatever, we should be taken into judgment in Uganda, but not in the Hague because we are not none-citizens; we are the citizens of Uganda,” Otti pointed out.
He said the war could only be resolved if the government complies with the rebels’ demand for power sharing among others.
“If the war has now completed 21 years without ending, how do you think the talks can end it within one week or two months? It can’t; it can even take so long. We want to take everything step by step because the war we started was with reason. Now that reason should be complied with step by step and fully. This is what I’m saying,” he said.
Otti reiterated the rebels’ demand for power sharing with President Museveni’s government.
“We want power sharing because we were fighting for the power… yes it is a must that we share power and stop every nonsense that has happened before,” he noted.
He said he would not want to go into details about the rebels demand for power sharing with the government.
“That one would be negotiable on the table. That one I cannot talk about it on the radio, it is on the table. You just listen, that one would happen,” he said.
Otti said he would rather fight than give himself up to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“My brother let me tell you, were it to be you, are you going to give yourself to be taken into jail? No! I will not give myself up because I still have the capacity to fight. If they do not want to lift the indictments, yes I better go back and fight or go to war or defend myself from who is coming to arrest me,” he said.