With the arrest of renegade Congolese rebel
leader Laurent Nkunda by Rwanda and the trial in The Hague of another Congo
rebel leader, Thomas Lubanga, some are suggesting Uganda's Lord's Resistance
Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony could be next.
This speculation is supported by recent joint
military offensive against the LRA by the armies of the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Uganda, and Southern Sudan. The attacks followed the repeated failure of LRA leader Joseph Kony to
sign a final peace agreement to end more than 22 years of LRA insurgency in
There were other speculations that LRA chief peace negotiator
David Matsanga was on the verge of resigning his post. But Matsanga told VOA
that he will remain with the LRA until a peaceful solution is found to the northern Uganda conflict.
just want to say that one, when I left Rikwamba in 2008 on 29th of November I
talked to General Joseph Kony. I reassured General Joseph Kony I will be with
him up to the end, and I am still with him up to the end until we find a
peaceful solution to this conflict. I have defended LRA since the 1990s, and I
know that the Ugandan government was wrong. It should have given us ample time
to go back to Kony after being in Kampala to tell him exactly what happened,"
rejected any notion that Africa, particularly the Great Lakes sub-region may be
running out of patience with LRA leader Kony for his repeated refusal to sign a
final peace deal and could be moving toward arresting Kony like Congo rebel
leader Laurent Nkunda.
mood is being done by the same people who have done it before. Rwanda, Uganda
they went into Congo, invaded Congo, created war in Congo. They are the same
people turning around after killing a country to say they have arrested Nkunda.
But let me come back to Uganda. Uganda's attack on the LRA was not called for.
Look at the number of civilians who have died, over 700 of them being killed
jet fighters from the top, helicopters combing the whole forest killing many
people," Matsanga said.
said the LRA was still committed to peace but was calling for the creation of
an international force to safeguard the assembling of LRA fighters at Rikwamba.
LRA are committed to peace. General Kony a week ago instructed me to initiate a
peace condition, and I put the conditions to the government of Uganda: One,
ceasefire, two create a neutral international force which will safeguard
Rikwamba or the areas where we shall agree. So until that neutral international
force from South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania are put in force to
safeguard the LRA combatants, nothing can move," Matsanga said.
said the LRA has been around for more than 22 years, and he didn't think the
Ugandan army would be able to destroy the LRA.
has not been heard from since the beginning of the joint military offensive by
the armies of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Southern Sudan.
Still Matsanga said he has
been in touch with the reclusive LRA leader.
"I have told frankly that I
have had communication, and I have repeatedly said on this radio we still have
communication with General Joseph Kony. He has expressed his desire for peace.
So let's advocate for dialogue; let's have a ceasefire, let's a neutral of
Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique and Kenya," Matsanga said.
Matsanga said the agreement
which he has been negotiating on behalf of the LRA with the Ugandan government for
the last two years is the best way forward to resolving the conflict. But he
said the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has indicted
Kony and some of his top lieutenants remains a sticking point.
"This agreement is a good
agreement except it has one bad thing, that thing is the ICC. Let's look at the
ICC. How do we solve the ICC? This agreement cannot be signed when one you have
investigated one side, you have put them on trial one side, you want to
persecute them one side, you want to prosecute them one side. That is what the
prosecutor in The Hague has done just like Thomas Lubanga today. It is Thomas
Lubanga standing trial today in The Hague, but who gave Thomas Lubanga guns?
Who funded Thomas Lubanga with arms?" Matsanga said.