The government of Uganda says it will
consult with regional leaders on the fate of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel
leader Joseph Kony, who, despite repeated assurances refused again over the
weekend to sign the final peace agreement.
Ugandan Defense minister Ruth Nankabirwa reportedly said a summit of
regional presidents, convened by the chief mediator and South Sudan Vice
President Dr. Riek Machar would advise on the talks.
A delegation of religious
and traditional leaders from Uganda's conflict-affected northern region who met
with Kony over the weekend has also reportedly expressed disappointment in the rebel
Kony has in the past used durations of talks to re-arm, train, and
mobilize in preparation for more fighting. LRA chief peace negotiator David Matsanga told VOA he and the LRA leader have not
been deceiving Ugandans and the international community.
Joseph Kony told us that we should go there (Ri-Kwamgba) as his negotiators,
and we which did meet him, sit down with him, which we did. This time it was
not through proxy. It was face-to-face and a physical meeting. I was
accompanied by many, many elders from northern Uganda and other religious
leaders, and General Joseph Kony plainly came out and told us the reasons as to
why he was not signing. The most important thing is the indictments. So they
want the indictments from the ICC to be removed before they can sign," he said.
from northern Uganda said the religious and traditional leaders who went to
Ri-Kwamgba hoping to witness the signing of the final agreement were
disappointed in the rebel leader.
But Matasanga said the
disappointment was not the making of rebel leader Joseph Kony.
"Not only elders from
northern Uganda, very many people are not comfortable that this (the agreement)
has not taken place. All the elders who where there, we all pleaded with
General Joseph Kony to sign this agreement, but General Joseph Kony said he can
only sign the agreement once the indictments are removed. And we could not
argue with him any more than that. We spent there two days with General Joseph
Kony and we discussed a number of things. He has told us his difficulties, and
we have put these difficulties to Dr. Rick Michar the South Sudan Vice
President who is the chief mediator," Matsanga said.
Matsanga again denied that
he, as chief LRA peace negotiator, was partly to blame for what some have
called Kony's repeated misleading promises to sign the final peace agreement.
"I think that is a very
wrong question to be asked because I have not misled anybody and I have not
told anybody any thing contrary to that. Kony has appeared himself, he has told
us what is the problem. So there is no question of misleading here. We went, we
met Kony, we sat down, and we talked and talked and talked. Kony understands
the agreement; he has read it from page to page two only that he doesn't want
to sign it because of the indictments," Matsanga said.
On the threat of military
action against the LRA leader if he did not sign the final deal, Matasanga said
he knew nothing about a military threat against Kony.
"I am not a military operator;
I don't prefer military action and I don't have any privy to any military plans
that the government of Uganda or the government of Congo may be planning. I am
a chief negotiator; I negotiated an agreement; it is a good agreement but
General Kony has said he cannot sign it because of the indictments. Whether
they want to take military option, it is their problem," Matsanga said.