Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Rebels say they have been informed that about 600 thousand dollars has been raised by the donor community to enable the LRA hold consultations, agreed upon in the third agenda item of the current peace talks, which is accountability and recompilation. But the rebels say the money would not be sufficient to meet their demands. They are therefore asking the donor community through peace mediator and Vice President of Southern Sudan, Riek Marchar for more money.
David Matsanga is an advisor to the LRA rebels on ICC matters. From the Kenyan capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the money they are requesting is not going into individual rebel pockets, but rather for wide consultations as stipulated in the third agenda item.
“Dr. Riek Marchar has communicated to the LRA delegation that the donors have given $600,000 for our consultation, and we have not met officially with Dr. Riek Marchar to discuss the way forward,” Matsanga noted.
He said although the rebels appreciate the donor community’s effort in raising the funds for their consultations, the money raised so far would not be enough for the type of consultations LRA intends to undertake.
“To consult widely means you don’t leave any stone unturned. What we have insisted and what we have told the whole world, and which we shall continue to tell the whole world is that this money is not going to the pocket of any individual. This money is to facilitate people who would be airlifted, who would be driven by buses from northern Uganda… and all parts of Uganda. And then from those who are coming from Europe, they must come and give us guidance on how we should build protocol and mechanisms for this peace process… so the amount of money that has been given to the moderator is still at the low end,” he noted.
Matsanga said the rebels are rather supposed to be allocated more money since they are not in government, but the opposite is what has happened with the Uganda government using more money for its consultations.
“Given that we are not in government, and the government itself is also consulting, but using more money, more money than what is on the table. Given the government that has got all types of things, surely, the amount was not balanced at all,” Matsanga, said.
He blames the international community for supporting the Uganda government rather having an interest in ending the war that has adversely affected the people in northern Uganda.
“The international community has also been funding the war, funding partly the Uganda government. 50% of the Uganda budget is given by the international donors of which 50% again is used on arms to fight insurgencies. This asks a very clear question: What is more important? Is it the peace? So we appreciate what the international community has done. You see, we are taking people 1,000 miles away from their homes and some are coming 10,000 miles away. We need facilities that will enable the people to consult widely. The peace must be sustainable once and for all,” he said.