Victims of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are reportedly upset with the apparent breakdown of the peace negotiations between the government and the rebels. This comes after LRA leader Joseph Kony failed to meet with peace talks mediator and South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar. Marchar said later he was disappointed after waiting five days for rebel leader Kony to show up to jumpstart the stalled peace talks. The peace talks in the Southern Sudanese capital Juba is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the two-decade old rebel insurgency in northern Uganda.
The victims fear the breakdown of the talks would plunge the region into yet another round of violence. David Matsanga is the former chief negotiator of the LRA rebels with the government. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the current peace deal is the best that rebel leader Joseph Kony could ever have.
“This is an agreement that has brought out a lot of problems that the people of northern Uganda were suffering and were experiencing marginalization and many other things. Let me tell the world that we negotiated the agreement seriously, and we got a lot of concessions. This agreement therefore, is a good agreement, but one thing that is very difficult that is this ICC (International Criminal Court) issue, which is still an obstacle to the peace process in northern Uganda. And this is the same ICC issue, which I have said time and time again that it will bring down this peace process if it is not resolved before we can go any further. And I see it coming to that end as we speak now,” Matsanga noted.
He said rebel leader Kony seems not to have confidence in the leadership of the rebel negotiating team.
“The people who have gone on to lead the delegation are traitors. James Obita (new leader of the rebel negotiating team) is a traitor he has met President Museveni. They don’t know what he has discussed. How can you expect such a person who goes to a place without being told not to go there to go and meet another rebel officer who has suffered for 22 years? This is why Joseph Kony has totally refused (to sign the peace deal) because the lies have been peddled, and these lies have come out to be true,” he said.
Matsanga said rebel leader Kony had wanted a confidant to sign the final peace deal on his behalf.
“I want to tell you that general Joseph Kony in our discussion told me that this peace deal can be endorsed by like us who have negotiated. But people went on backstabbing and telling stories, which has made the generals to be annoyed. It is not that the general have refused to sign the final peace agreement, but they are totally annoyed because of the confusion that has been caused by people on the delegation and this must be brought out to the international community,” Matsanga pointed out.
He concurs that disappointment expressed by the delegation of the peace negotiations is justified.
“Riek Marchar is right to be annoyed because if you have two or three people in a committee who are backstabbing the whole peace process, when they know they should be telling the truth. I went to the ICC myself to drop the charges so that general Joseph Kony can be free and Ugandans can have peace. And I still maintain that the ICC is the obstacle and therefore the only way out is to call upon general Joseph Kony to appoint somebody who has negotiated this agreement, and who can tackle Museveni and resign this agreement, then put it to the Uganda government and tell them there you are,” he noted.