The peace negotiating team of Uganda's Lord's Resistance
Army (LRA) rebels is expected to meet rebel leader Joseph Kony today (Thursday)
ahead of the expected signing of the final peace deal with President Yoweri
Museveni's government this weekend. The agreement would end over two decades of
rebel insurgency in northern Uganda. But some security experts are expressing
skepticism that the elusive rebel leader would sign the deal. After all he had
refused to do so in the past citing logistical problems. The international
community has warned Kony of possible military if the rebel leader fails again
to sign the final peace deal before the end of November. David Matsanga is the
chief peace negotiator for the LRA rebels. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that
the rebel leader has promised to sign the peace deal this weekend.
we speak today, Thursday, we are moving to go to Ri-Kwangba and in the
afternoon we shall be there. We shall be meeting first the delegation together
with the religious leaders, the paramount chiefs and then on Friday we would
talk about the agreement. After we have talked about everything we will brief
general Joseph Kony about the final peace agreement. Then we will take it from
there, make a decision and then we wait for President Joachim Chissano and Dr.
Riek Marcher to come on the 29th of this month," Matsanga pointed
said it was important for the world to be patient with the rebels ahead of
signing the final peace deal.
would like to tell the world that peace comes from very far. Peace takes a long
journey. I have been patient myself, I have been accused of character
assassination and I have been insulted, but I have kept on going for peace
until I reach this peaceful resolution of the conflict. We are determined and
general Joseph Kony has told me that the LRA is determined and is ready to look
at the agreement and sitting down with us. He is determined to make sure that
he finishes this conflict peacefully," he said.
said the LRA wants to assure those affected by the insurgency that Kony would
sign the final peace deal.
as LRA are encouraging Ugandans to go back to their homes and be ready for this
peace," Matsanga noted.
said the rebels are displeased with what they described as a nonsensical
outburst by Uganda's foreign minister.
want to tell the world that the outburst of the Honorable Sam Kutesa, the
minister of foreign affairs is regrettable. He is one of those military guys in
this government who wants to fight the people of the north all the time. He has
been doing that since 1986 and we know his intentions. He and another click of
three or four five generals want to have a final fight with general Joseph
Kony. We are aware that they have been benefiting out of the misery of the
people of northern Uganda. We know they have been supplying food to the IDP
(Internally Displaced Persons) camps. We have evidence and we have real serious
evidence," he said.
said the rebels are committed to finally ending the insurgency in northern
Uganda, which is blamed for the loss of lives and property.
me tell you that we don't operate like those who don't know what a foreign
policy is, but they are ministers of foreign affairs. We are committed to the
peace deal," Matsanga said.
blamed President Museveni's government for the often-stalled peace
negotiations, a charge Kampala has denied.
is the Uganda government that created obstacles by going to the ICC
(International Criminal Court) to put warrants on general Joseph Kony and
others. It is the ICC that has caused the obstacles," he said.
said LRA rebels would refuse to hand over their weapons until Kampala urges the
ICC to drop the international indictment of Kony and other top LRA commanders
who are alleged to have committed various crimes against humanity.
me tell the world, signing this agreement does not mean disarming. We shall
sign this agreement as it is, but we shall not disarm one gun until the Uganda
government goes to the United Nations Security Council to remove the warrants
and brings me a clean sheet of paper to say that they have removed the warrants
so that the LRA can assemble and disarm in the assembly area. But the LRA will
assemble with their guns and President Museveni has accepted on that," Matsanga