The United States is demanding that the leader of the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) rebels sign a final peace deal that would end more than
two decades of a rebel insurgency in northern Uganda. The US government also
accuses the rebels of committing various abuses against civilians,
including abductions in recent attacks in three different African countries.
This comes as President Yoweri Museveni's government recently threatened to
resume military action after accusing the rebels of failing to live up to their
promise of ending the military crisis in northern Uganda.
The United States, however, also pledged to provide support in
implementing the agreement in areas of reconciliation, reintegration, and
development in northern Uganda. LRA rebel chief negotiator David tells reporter
Peter Clottey that the rebels need to time to sign a final peace deal.
general Joseph Kony called me and gave me instructions, and he wanted me to
tell the world that the LRA is prepared to discuss peace and to end this
conflict in a peaceful manner. Joseph Kony is committed to the peace process.
He told me yesterday to tell anybody who has gone to Uganda to use his name or
to do things that he has not instructed to do not to do so, but wait until we
sort out the matter with the chief mediator, Dr. Riek Marchar," Matsanga
He said the rebel leader
needs an explanation on certain aspects of the comprehensive peace agreement
before finally appending his signature.
"General Joseph Kony needs
clarification on two issues of the ICC (International Criminal Court), the ICC warrants, and how the court will interpret the ICC
warrants in Uganda. That is the position. And he has asked very many people to
explain, and that is why we have formed a new committee of five people from the
dissolved former committee, which is here to prepare to make sure that we
engage the chief mediator. We engage the Uganda government to tell them that
the warrants are an obstacle to the peace process," he said.
said the rebel leader would refuse to sign a final peace deal until the
international arrest warrants against him and other rebel leaders are removed.
"General Joseph Kony cannot
sign a peace agreement when he has warrants hanging on his head. He wants an
explanation," Matsanga noted.
He said the rebel
negotiating team tried to explain the situation of the warrants to the rebel commander.
"Yes, we have explained to
him. As I speak now, you know very well at the time there was total confusion.
But the LRA leadership is firmly behind my leadership to make sure that I
negotiate properly to protect them (rebels). I have explained to Kony that this
is an agreement that is a good agreement for the people of northern Uganda. But
the obstacle that remains there is the ICC warrants," he said.
Matsanga said the Uganda
government should take the initiative approach the UN Security Council to have
the warrants removed ahead of the rebel leader's signing of a final peace
"We can use the United
Nations Security Council resolution and chapter seven to go to the UN Security
Council, which the government of Uganda should do as a referral state, to say
the UN Security Council, please, the warrants are a threat. Can you remove them
from us so that general Joseph Kony and others can come and sign and walk free
and assemble and do things? But he has said he is not going to sign an agreement
in Juba because he does not feel safe over there," Matsanga pointed out.