The leader of Uganda Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels has agreed to sign a final peace deal at the end of the month after the international community warned of dire consequences if he fails to sign the deal. Joseph Kony agreed to sign the final peace deal after rebel delegation negotiating with President Yoweri Museveni government met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as well as other regional leaders in Uganda's capital, Kampala. The leaders warned the rebel delegation that the international community would not rule out a military option if the leader of the rebels fails again to sign the final peace deal. The peace deal is expected to end over two decades of rebel insurgency in northern Uganda.
David Matsanga is the leader of the LRA rebel delegation with Uganda's government. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Kenya's capital, Nairobi that the rebels would comply with the demands of the international community.
"We went to Kampala last week on the instructions of general Joseph Kony to go into a meeting with the stakeholders. And out of that meeting with the stakeholders, they came out with a resolution and a declaration that this agreement must be signed by the end of this month," Matsanga said.
He said the rebel delegation held meetings with President Museveni about the LRA concerns ahead of the final peace deal.
"We also met President Museveni and we delivered as LRA our position, and why there has been a delay. And out of that meeting, it was resolved that the conference did impose on us (rebels), which is very clear and supported by the United Nations and by President Joseph Kabila and other presidents. We argued our case, but it was resolved that on 29th of this month the peace agreement must be signed by the LRA and that is the end of it," he said.
Matsanga said the rebel negotiating team would soon be meeting the leader of the rebels to officially convey the international community's ultimatum.
"General Joseph Kony has said that we as a delegation must go and we are going to meet him next week. We are going to sit down with him as a delegation with other religious leaders, civic leaders from northern Uganda to explain the whole agreement to general Joseph Kony and his commanders. After that we would come back to brief former President Jaoqim Chisaano and Vice President Riek Marcher so that we can go back on the 29th of this month to sign the final peace deal,"" Matsanga pointed out.
He described as a nice gesture President Museveni's promise to provide food to the rebels.
"Let me tell you one thing that while we were in Kampala, President Museveni agreed and said he is willing to provide food for the LRA during this time of assembly, and that is a very good sign that we want from Kampala," he said.
Matsanga said the rebel delegation was able to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement with Uganda's government to ensure peace and security ahead of the final peace deal.
"Today, I have signed the cessation of hostilities agreement, which is a great breakthrough. I negotiated on this and the government of Uganda refused to sign, but I was successful in convincing them and the world that the renewal of the cessation of hostilities agreement is very important. I signed my part and Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (leader of the government negotiating team) has also signed his part, which is a very good sign of breakthrough," Matsanga noted.
He said the international community was reassuring to the rebels that if the final peace agreement were to be signed there would not be any repercussions.
"We met not only the Secretary General of the United Nations, but we also met President Kabila for two and half hours in Nairobi. We discussed all issues pertaining to the peace process and we discussed all issues pertaining to our troops who are being attacked by the Congolese troops. President Kabila promised that he would direct his army with effect from Saturday not to attack general Joseph Kony's troops anywhere in Congo when they are moving towards Ri-Kwamgba for this particular meeting," he said.
Matsanga said the UN secretary general failure by the leadership of the rebels to sign the final deal would not be tolerated.
"The secretary general of the United Nations was very clear that if we don't sign this peace deal by the end of the month, what will befall the rebels would be clear and decisive," Matsanga pointed out.