Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are reportedly upset with what they described as President Yoweri Museveni government’s propaganda to undermine the peace negotiations. According to the rebels, recent publications in government-sponsored newspapers about split within the rank and file of the LRA as well as the possible demise of the second in command are an attempt to destabilize the movement.
They added that the government is flouting the cessation of hostilities agreement by refusing to stop those publications. But the government has dismissed the allegations.
David Matsanga is the technical advisor for the rebels on International Criminal Court (ICC) matters. From Kenya’s capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey the alleged government publications are provocative.
“Uganda government has a history, when we are about to conclude any peace agreement, they want to bring in things that would distract the peace process. We have signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, which implies that nobody is going to use hostile propaganda or allow the newspapers, hostile ones, to write article that could derail the peace process. The publications, the interviews, that they are carrying out with people who are inferior who have defected from the LRA, who were discharged is very disheartening,” Matsanga pointed out.
He said the alleged publications are dangerous to the ongoing efforts to find a lasting peace to the northern Uganda conflict.
“This is not the spirit of negotiations. There is no need of publishing all these things when we are on the table. And therefore, it is therefore very, very naïve, prudish and very sardonic for the government of Uganda to go on allowing hostile propaganda to come from its own government sponsored newspaper that is attacking the peace process. That is very regrettable,” he opined.
Matsanga denied the LRA would like for the Ugandan government to censor the media from reporting any news about the ongoing peace process.
“We are not saying they should muzzle the media. We are only saying they (government) should stick to the cessation of hostilities agreement. If you read the cessation of hostilities agreement, it stipulates that no hostile propaganda from either side, that for example we shall not use any hostile propaganda to attack President Museveni even when he is doing somethings, which are very wrong,” Matsanga noted.
He questioned why President Museveni would sign an agreement with neighboring countries against the LRA, while at the same time still negotiating with them.
“Let’s get it very clear, the countries that are giving one month to Kony to leave are members of the observer team. I have lobbied them; I have been in Lisbon and to several very high tanking officials whom I cannot discuss and name here. I was there and I have delivered these messages to these people who are confused. The Uganda government is definitely confusing the situation, we are hear on the table, you go to Tanzania and you sign an agreement giving 30 days. Why don’t they follow Dr. Riek Marcher’s guidelines? He questioned.