The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are pleading with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to use military force against them because they are ready to return to the stalled peace talks. Museveni’s government in conjunction with the United States government reportedly said the failure of LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign a final peace deal would result in military action against the rebels. But Kony said he is ready to sign a final peace deal after refusing recently to sign the peace agreement, claiming he needed more clarification.
The stalled peace talks between the rebels and the Ugandan government in the South Sudan capita of Juba is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the over two-decade rebel insurgency in northern Uganda. David Matsanga is the reinstated LRA chief peace negotiator. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Juba that the rebels are committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the northern Uganda conflict.
“General Joseph Kony called me and told me that he was committed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis and that I should contact the Sudanese authorities, Dr. Riek Marchar, President Chissano to tell them he (Kony) is committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and therefore, these hostilities should stop… I managed to diffuse the situation and told them not to attack the LRA because the LRA were committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. And general Joseph Kony instructed me to organize the people so that we return to the (negotiating) table and discuss about the peace process,” Matsanga noted.
He said the current peace deal, although good, has obstacles that needed to be addressed.
“I would like to say this peace agreement has two obstacles. One obstacle is the warrants of the ICC (International Criminal Court), which I still believe are redundant, they are useless and are the ones that are causing us the problems. Two, general Joseph Kony has not refused to sign the agreement, general Joseph Kony said he wants clarification on matters of two important issues, which were negotiated, which were not clear,” he said.
Matsanga said President Museveni has so far failed to keep his government side of the bargain, which was to help lift the ICC issued arrest warrants on the top commanders of the rebels.
“The Uganda government has not actually moved at all to the United Nations Security Council to say the warrants are a threat to our peace, and therefore, we would want to have these warrants removed, suspended so that peace can prevail in northern Uganda. Those are the obstacles, which we know were presenting general Joseph Kony from actually fully coming out to say this is the signature and those are the clarification that he wanted,” Matsanga pointed out.
He reiterated the commitment of the rebel leader to ending the northern Uganda conflict, which has reportedly led to a loss of lives and property.
“First of all general Joseph Kony assured me last week, and told me that he was committed to peace that is why most of us have agreed because the people who were actually negotiating this peace process like those whom I left behind were traitors. They were not telling the truth they are talking to Museveni at night and then talks to general Joseph Kony during the daytime. The LRA has not said they want to fight again, the LRA has said please let’s talk peace, but there are people who are agitating to attack LRA, so they will always fight back,” he said.