Sunday, November 12, 2006

ICC Is 'Monkey Wrench' In Juba Peace Talks

I cannot believe that the most educated and ‘forward’ people cannot understand what the LRA is saying about not assembling at the two locations.
1. The LRA chief said he couldn’t go to Juba as long as the ICC warrant is in effect.
2. Museveni says he cannot ask the ICC to withdraw the warrants unless the LRA sign the peace deal.
3. ICC says it cannot withdraw the warrants unless Museveni requests it.

All these issues simply stifle the peace negotiation. So is the peace talks being relegated to secondary status?
The negotiation in Juba is not proceeding in good tone otherwise there would be enough trust to defray these three points. We would like to see a comprehensive agreement that is acceptable and enforceable/sustainable before we can comment on the three issues.
LRA chiefs are within their rights to refuse to attend Juba talks unless their fear can be allayed. Uganda government, on the other hand cannot demand a signing of a peace agreement first then granting the LRA protection or requesting the withdrawal of the warrants because it does not affect the contents of the peace talks. If anything, the LRA have the right to fear that the government is bent on trapping them instead of delivering peace to northern region.
Kony's presence cannot boost the peace talk at this time at all because even the LRA have unilaterally adopted a cease-fire that has been kept by them in spite of incitement by government forces. A big delagation from Acholi has visited the general at his hide-out and that should have been all the boost we needed. Right now, there is no agreement to sign to bring Gen. Kony to Juba especially with the ICC warrant in place. If the peace talk is also the venue where ICC arrest will be effected, then there is no need to waste our time negotiating an unsustainable agreement.

Absence of warrants will allow LRA to have more trust and make negotiation more likely to succeed. However, this will rob Museveni of a method of taunting and attempting to frustrate the LRA to abandon the peace talk.
The third point of ICC withdrawing the warrant is also less important if the government and LRA engage in sincere talks aimed at restoring peace and dignity to all. Only after the talks have been concluded to the satisfaction of all stakeholders should the ICC issues be tackled if they are still relevant then. At that time it will be easy to point out where or how the ICC warrant obstructs the return of peace.
So, there you have it. The bringing of ICC issue at the peace talk serves no other purpose at this time except to scuttle the meeting. That is what it is. No argument can alter that fact!
There are absolutely no scenarios in which the ICC warrant can concurrently exist with the ongoing peace talks in Juba to a peaceful conclusion.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Juba Peace Talks is About Peace in Uganda

Many people have varying views about the Juba peace talks. Some think it is about 'soft landing' by the LRA top commanders. This is rather simplistic if one considers how the whole country has been thrown into turmoil and bloodshed by many ambitious groups. The greatest division among the people has been ushered in by the NRM regime which has killed and maimed with impunity. So well-carried out are their plans that an ordinary person would not be able to tell the crime NRM is committing. One favorite method is to cordon off an area and fake an attack in which the NRA is always victorious and only allow its version of news to be published afterwards.
Now, the Monitor newspaper has published an article written by Angelo Izama which is one of the best example of how NRM manipulates events and information. It is one of the greatest fabrications in the history of Uganda NRM regime. Izama either only reads what he wants to read or is compelled to ignore other obvious sources of contradiction to his story.On October 24, 2006 it was reported in a Nairobi newspaper that 15 soldiers from the federal government were arrested for killing 5 people south of Juba. This killing was reported by Uganda authorities to be the work of LRA. In spite of the fact that the government of Southern Sudan has said the killings was the work of suspects from the federal government; Angelo Izama (NRM propaganda) would have none of that. So they came up with a name for these groups as “New LRA”. Why does it have to be ” New LRA?”The only plausible reason is that the government of Uganda has made a mistake to accept the peace negotiation in Juba Sudan where they cannot control the pace of things and are trying to find a way to scuttle the peace talks because LRA has now become a more formidable force than hitherto believed. It has now even metamorphosed into 'New LRA.' The situation in southern Sudan is very complex in terms of the number of forces involved in the areas.
The arrival of ‘New LRA’ is, definitely, not the reason to scuttle the peace talks. The way Izama put it, Khartoum did not need a pseudonym to carry out its mandate. It is really in poor taste to imply that the Khartoum government can only operate incognito in southern Sudan or that they need to be the ‘formidable LRA’ in order to be heard or accomplish their goals. What Izama is doing here is telling his readers that there are no wrong-doers other than LRA. This is wrong and does not promote understanding among different groups with opposing ideas. The insistence that all wrong-doings be pinned on LRA is sinister warning from Uganda government that they will respect no peace accord signed by the LRA or any groups for that matter.
And, totally missing the point, the Uganda government is not able to see that the peace talk is about peace to the people of northern region, eastern region and all areas of Uganda. Given all the negative propaganda against the LRA, it should have become clear that the reason people all over the world are not convinced about the Uganda government propaganda is that evil and repression is certainly being perpetrated by the government. The LRA is merely doing its best to resist a sophisticated genocidal plan of the government.
Right now as I speak, if the Museveni government were to remove the NRA soldiers from all detaches, reverse its policy towards the people in eastern and northern Uganda, promote a committee for reconciliation, obtain and disburse fund for rehabilitation of the northern and eastern regions, revert maintaining of law and order to the police, embark on a program to empower the people in all communities, the Juba peace talk would become redundant. These few points would result in a speedy return to normalcy in Uganda. Museveni has had a long and prosperous rule, which he can now exit with the Juba Peace talks. At this time the will to forgive and not look back is at its highest among the tired people of Uganda because the so-called peace in the rest of Uganda is really a result of the pervasive spy network instituted by Museveni in terms of NRA cadres and LC system. So, Museveni can either take it or let the opportunity slip by again. The people have a long memory.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Will Museveni Next Do in Sudan?

In September 2005 this blog reported:

According to report in the Nation, "A source said Khartoum is particularly concerned that President Museveni entered Sudanese territory without informing the central authority. According to military sources, the president entered Yei under heavy military escort including battlewagons and heavy artillery."

This occurred when Museveni traveled to attend the funeral of Dr. John Garang in Southern Sudan city of Yei. Almost a year later, Museveni has tried yet another trick to reduce the GOSS to a surrogate administration in which he can come as and when he likes without any protocol. This is really a very dangerous precedent. Museveni has a large deployment of soldiers allegedly for the purpose of an operation that was named "Iron Fist", an attempt to 'finish off' the last of the LRA. This year, even when Museveni has agreed to have a peace negotiation to solve the problem that has bedeviled northern Uganda for close to twenty years, the Uganda forces are still deployed in southern Sudan without restriction when a peace talk is going on in Juba.
This time Museveni traveled to Juba with five different aircraft: the presidential jet and four other helicopters. Is this the "Invasion of Sudan" that Museveni has been planning for a long time? According to protocol, Museveni should have gone to Khartoum first before proceeding to Juba. So, what is really going on here?
Considering the international interest in Sudan as a whole, Museveni is on a mission that has nothing to do with peace talks going on in Juba. The fact that he has been reported to have met the LRA delegation and berated and merely abused them is indicative that his main aim is not peace negotiations. Museveni is searching for some "buttons" to push in order to torpedo the talks and achieve his aims in southern Sudan.
There is a Lwo saying that says: "Lewic weko icamo awola" which means that you see a man poisoning food and offering it to you but you are too shy to refuse and end up dead. The security of Southern Sudan is also the security of northern Uganda and consequently, the security of the rest of Uganda and the great lakes regions of Africa. Can we count on Salva Kir to rise up to the challenge?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sudan Must Decide to Move Ugandan Troops to the Border


When Uganda government fell out with Congo, they sent their army into Congo to follow the rebels of the ADF there. What followed the arrival and stay of Uganda forces in Congo is a long list of mayhem and looting of Congo mineral wealth under various companies overseen by the Uganda army. Different militias were armed to exact killings against the other tribes in the region. The arms used were supplied by the Uganda army. The only people who operated in these areas were Uganda, Rwanda and Congolese nationals. Nothing has been heard about the ADF in spite of that being the reason Uganda went into Congo in the first place.

Now, using a similar strategies, Uganda has turned its attention to Sudan. The presence of Uganda troops in Sudan should have been very much modified such that they should have been staying close to the border. But for some reasons or others, Uganda troops are roaming free in southern Sudan as if it was its own territory. Does the question of sovereignty matter anymore?

A truce has been signed between Uganda and LRA witnessed by the government of Southern Sudan. Our able reporters of the Daily Monitor in Southern Sudan and Uganda have reported that the truce has been broken or violated by both the LRA and Uganda government. These reporters are aware that the LRA was to report to two locations: Owiny Kibul and Rii Kwangba. Although these reporters were not part of the negotiation, couldn't they see that this was tantamount to suicide by the LRA? But they did not even as much as point that out; let alone taking the high ground of criticizing it for ‘impossibility of performance.’ So, the UPDF comes very close to Owiny Kibul where LRA are converging. The LRA sees danger and vacates the location. Monitor reporters wrote that LRA and government troops have violated the spirit of the agreement. This glaring conspiracy will do nothing but erode any vestige of confidence in the intention of Uganda government troops. In truth, it was the approaching encirclement by UPDF that caused the LRA to leave the assembly point.
The reporters also stated “Eyewitnesses claim the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army carried out the massacres.” Who are the eyewitnesses and who interviewed them? Without this information, the newspaper would be better off not publishing such a questionable story and sending it around the world. When several attempts to negotiate peace were made within Uganda, it never lasted as long as it has lasted in Juba today. The UPDF would find ways to try and ambush the rebels and as soon as the LRA gets winds of UPDF plans, they would disperse for their safety. That would be the end of peace talks.
Now with the involvement of the government of southern Sudan, the UPDF are finding it very difficult to torpedo the peace talks. However, they are not leaving any ‘stones unturned’ before continuing with the peace talks. Already they have participated in killing 41 people most of whom were civilian with the hope that they can embroil southern Sudan in the mess and eventually scuttle the peace talks. Sudan has acknowledged the four attacks by ‘different armed ambushes by a group we have not yet ascertained’ but Uganda has already put the blame, unequivocally, on the LRA. How can this be? And as would be intended by Uganda, Machar responded with great emotion as reported in the Monitor newspaper from Uganda; “Shocked and incensed by the violent scene, Machar drove back to Juba and summoned the LRA delegation for a meeting on Tuesday night. The LRA negotiators, who had stayed at the Juba Bridge Hotel in protest over Sunday's incursions, however, declined to respond to Machar’s calls.” Under this scenario, Uganda hopes to impel Sudan to make rash decisions and perhaps even attack the LRA thereby scuttling the peace talks completely.


Uganda government especially the military wing composed of the original NRA, do not wish to relinquish power and the privileges they have become so used to in the past eighteen years or so. Furthermore, the piecemeal operations towards the LRA provide ample excuses and tangible proofs to attract more funds from donors than a successful return of peace to the region. Also, the economic damage in the north is a big boon for diverted funds to the south where the bigwigs of NRA come from. This will stop as soon as there is peaceful resolution and ensuing reconstruction of the north. And most ominous of all is the combined size and quality of economic recovery of northern and eastern regions of Uganda plus all the peripheral regions including southern Sudan. These regions that have been suffering under Museveni dictatorial regime will become an unassailable force against Yoweri’s army of oppressors. Sudan can demand that Uganda soldiers be located on Uganda side of the border for as long as the peace talks last so that it will have fewer forces to deal with on its side of the border. It is its sovereign's right to demand so! This is the most relevant decision it can make immediately. Otherwise Museveni is going to cause mayhem in southern Sudan.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Do Not Torpedo the Peace Talks in Juba

Something tells me this Juba Peace talks is about something else other than peace. Why are the Uganda and Southern Sudan government intent on LRA assembling in two locations and signing of the documents in a great hurry?
Why would anybody even consider that the peace talks proceed with ICC threat unresolved? Museveni, has to provide conditions to keep the ICC away from Kony and his commanders, otherwise there will be no peace involving those five men. These two issues are mutually exclusive. Without these men, there must be modified peace talks, becasue the people of Uganda in the affected areas still need peace from the government of Museveni.
Twenty years of oppression and mistrust cannot be wiped out by mere signing of documents in Juba.
There are specific conditions that are indicative of hidden traps and tricks. Would Garang have agreed to assemble the SPLA in a location that can easily be ambushed by Sudan government? If not, why would they include this condition for the LRA without safeguard?
If Riek Machar is impartial, why is he treating the LRA as if they have no rights and obligations?
If Museveni really wants peace, why is he constantly threatening the LRA with force if they did not assemble at the two locations, or sign peace by some given dates?
What does the army commander General Aronda mean when he says that it is “free for all”?
Failure of a comprehensive peace agreement should be put on the government of Uganda and Sudan for maintaining a stance that creates fear and distrust to the LRA.
Museveni has in the past lured rebels out of the bush with false promises of peace only to turn around and liquidate them one by one.
If these people are really in a hurry for peace to return to the country, then they should remove threats and relocate UPDF south of Karuma. The LRA then can be in charge of peace development and security in the north. That should be coupled with messages that promote trust and confidence in both sides. Right now, what is happening is that some UPDF commanders begin to talk provocatively the moment there are positive moves towards peaceful resolution. This is because they will lose some of the benefits from operations against the rebels.
So, the best thing that the government of Southern Sudan can do is have patience and facilitate peace talk to all available extent. Assembling in specific locations seems to be the least to worry about if the two sides are ready for peace. So far the LRA have indicated maturity and seriousness by controlling its fighters, while losing some to Uganda government forces, although they are not confined in any specific locations. After exhaustive searches for solutions, the proponents may then say, " We have done our best."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Who Is Afraid of Peace?

All Ugandans should take this opportunity to unite and institute a better sytem to govern the country.

There is a Peace Talk taking place in Juba, Sudan. The aim is to bring peace to Uganda in general and northern Uganda, particularly in Acholi, Lango and Teso districts. The three proponents are: Museveni and his lieutenants and Kony and his lieutenants and the people.
Literally, Museveni has perfected a system of staying in power while Kony has perfected a system of staying in the bush. The people however are divided and are at a loss.

How have the participants fared in this war?


Museveni has used the war effectively to stay in power for now close to 20 years. He has mastered the art of decoy presentation, false promising and heartless killings. He has never retracted any of the statements he made that amount to discrimination among tribes. For example: “ We massacred those chaps badly…” or “surrender by July 31…”
Many other statements after this surrender ultimatum convey a different image. The government side even has gone as far as swearing that ICC will not get Kony from their hand. This is an about turn for the government and one, which reinforces the desire for peace and brotherly coexistence. I, in my own heart, salute the speaker for making such a strong and unambiguous statement, not because it defies the ICC, but that it recognizes where our salvation as Ugandans lie. If it is too good to be true, then maybe it is because the war has dragged on for far too long to be true also. However the measure of the agreement or talk is not in the agreement signed but the sincerity, commitment and determination to see peace return to Uganda, or in other words, the implementation of the resolutions.


Very little is known about this man. Even the bit that is written is extremely unrepresentative of this fighter. It is a popular sentence in the Uganda newspapers and wildly copied abroad that Kony or LRA want to rule Uganda according to the 10 Commandments. A fairer presentation should have included Kony’s genesis and the extrapolation would have indicated a wish to replace Museveni’s NRA policies with the 10 Commandments. The wild allegations about Kony and LRA are purely extrapolation of diseased minds considering northerners as biological substances. I am an Acholi and I believe I know the critical reasons for Kony’s being in the bush. In the early days of NRA when they asked people to bring the guns back, many people complied and as soon as they were disarmed, soldier of NRA attacked them at night saying they were coming to retrieve their utensils that were taken from Luwero. People were killed women were raped and men sodomized in broad daylight. This continued until people like Kony found there was no better way to protect oneself than by arming and defending their groups. As soon as they did this, the government became even more furious and literally began a campaign to obliterate Acholi from the land. So, how would any journalist write that Kony want to rule Uganda according to the 10 Commandments? It is pure self-defense.

The People

If you are in the southern part of Uganda, you hear about LRA attacks and it sounds to your ears unbelievable and you take no actions because it seems so far away. In the north you know you are in a hopeless situation because you do not know whether you will survive the day. You fear daylight and darkness equally: during the day because they can see you, at night because you can’t see them. Some people will make a fortune out of the misery of the northerners while others will lose a fortune for the same reason.

If the peace talk succeeds (brings positive changes in the country) both Museveni and Kony will be respected by the people of Uganda. The next agenda is to retire the two from public life. At this time Uganda can truly talk about amending the constitution to remove those articles that are contrary to the wishes of the people. The government should be dissolved and a general election called. This would be the best time to install true democracy in Uganda government system and dissolve the UPDF and recruit a new Uganda army.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Towards Genuine Peace

The media has been used to condition the readers mind to an untenable position that the LRA and UPDF are equally to blame for the atrocities and war in northern Uganda. This is supposed to be the "middle ground." It is supposed to be the view of the moderates. But the Uganda government and its supporters have consistently painted a more negative picture of the LRA while we never have had the chance to hear from the LRA. Whereas each combating side is bent on making statement of their innocence, we still have a right to know who really is behind the death and destruction of a whole people and culture in Acholiland. Secondly, why can't the problem go away? Recently, Otti, the second in command of the LRA, has been interviewed by the Black Star News of New York and since the interview was over satellite communication, his answers to the questions were not rehearsed and therefore, very revealing. Otti also said that they burned down some camps so that people could go back to their homes. The picture is beginning to emerge why peace talk is not possible under Museveni. The ability of the LRA leaders to talk to the world is giving a different picture of the cause and intent of the Museveni perpetrated war.
The most glaring and convincing is the fact that LRA now categorically denies that the camp was created by them or because of their activities. And that is the single most important issue to Acholi people. They would prefer to be killed in their home rather than in concentration camps. Let the Uganda government tell us clearly why it cannot defend our people but instead find it easier to use the helicopter gunship indiscriminately against the people. To us this is evidence of Uganda government genocidal streaks. Otti stated that Museveni government gave the people 24 hours to leave their homes and move into camps that had not even been prepared for human habitation in any ways! Those who attempted to resist were summarily executed by the helicopter gunship and indiscriminate bombings of the villages. Without proper sanitation, food and shelters, the people were then exposed to death through overcrowding. The culture began to die at the same time as family units were absolutely destroyed. And for those who could not make it to the camps, they were strafed by helicopter gunship. This operation was code-named "Scorched earth campaign." That name is indicative of the government genocidal intent. As happened with the Israeli in Gaza, this was "violating international law in its Gaza offensive by inflicting heavy destruction and endangering civilians in acts of collective punishment banned under the Geneva Conventions." Museveni did this in Acholi. The Acholi live out of the land and they store their foodstuff in granaries. So when they were forced to move to the camps, they were in effect being dispossessed of all earthly belongings. The helicopter gunship was brought in to chase the remaining people from their homes. Many were killed and as a result no one could claim their rights. In the ensuing chaos, the UPDF loaded their entire foodstuff and ferried it to the south. It does not matter that the UPDF would claim all the people as LRA collaborators; it is the duty of the government to ensure that they protect the people. Now, with no food and no homes to return to, the people were forced into the camps. Many may have thought it was temporary but soon found out that their lives was changed forever. This is callous; this is genocide.
It is hard to believe that the government had no control of what was going on and therefore the best way to deal with the LRA insurgency was total annihilation of the homesteads of everyone in the whole of Acholi district. Would Museveni have done the same thing in the area where he comes from? Of course, not. If the many people who were herded into the camps were really LRA supporters as the government would want us to believe, then it would have been an almost impossible task to separate them from their main group, the LRA. It is therefore more plausible that the government has the aim of moving the people form the land and that is why the camps were created and the people were not allowed to go back and get their food or gather information of what really happened. The LRA claim is simply to make it easy for the army to carry out the genocide in the name of fighting the rebels. Assuming that the soldiers were there for the benefit and protection of the people displaced, they would have been protected in every sense of the word because in skirmishes, it was the rebels that got killed. This would have included escort back to their homestead to collect what belonging and supply they may have left behind. That is the work of the army: to protect the people from attacks and harms from all known causes.
There is a movement where the people who have been known as cattle keepers, people of Banyarwanda ethnic origin, are trying to move from the west into the north. Apach has recently expelled some 500 of them. This is the main thrust of Museveni kingdom. An excerpt from interview with BSN gives us a glimpse into what really is happening in the northern Uganda war.
BSN: What else can you say to the people of Acholi region [the war zone]?
OTTI: The people should unite so that we can protect our land and prevent the Ankoles from taking it. This has been our land for hundreds of years.
BSN: You say Museveni's soldiers committed atrocities, do you have evidence?
OTTI: Abundantly. These atrocities you see occurring that he says are committed by the LRA his soldiers are doing. We never had the means of communications before to tell our story.

As regards the peace talks, it is instructive to remember all the peace negotiations that Museveni has been through and what became of them. An excerpt from below is quite revealing.
Museveni is like Hitler in many ways except the color of his skin. Hitler was not a German but an Austrian. Likewise Museveni is not a Ugandan but a Tutsi from Rwanda who came with his mother as a refugee. Hitler attacked one country after another. He planned his attack of Russia and other countries while negotiating PEACE TREATIES with his future victims. British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, naively believed that he could achieve peace with Hitler through mere negotiations. Hitler was planning his attack of Britain while mesmerizing Chamberlain with peace agreements. Museveni is doing precisely the same.
As from Charles O Kagwa:
"The,"First casualty of war is Truth" very true indeed, sad but unfortunately true” The world we live in is a composition of lies, greed and manipulations little truth can be secured”. In Uganda case, the leader is a very important ally to those who have interest to exploit the region, with resources like Gas and Oil plenty in South Sudan, Riches in D R Congo, and Uganda is still a very vital base I see NO reason why the greedy stakeholders should address truth in the Northern Uganda genocide. Unfortunately even neutral countries have joint the scramble for influence and exploitation, forming allies and cares no more for human rights abuses they preach in their own countries. The war in Great lakes provides good opportunity for plunder and employment also for research so it will most likely continue. How many peace accord, have been violated by NRM? More than five, Nairobi Accord 1985, UPDA Pece Accord 1988, UPA with Jesus Ojirot in Teso 1989, Akena Adoko UPDA 1989 all signed but violated. How many Peace jokes effort have been tried? Asked religious Leaders!"
While many people would pursue peace at all costs, the evidence of dealing with Museveni paints a very sinister picture. The people involved in the talks will certainly explore all loopholes that would cause failure of the talk to materialize into genuine peace. Museveni might be sending his emissary to talk peace while he vigorously pursues war to the end. So, he should refrain from making statements like "surrender by July 31."
We need the peace talk in Juba to succeed. Too many lives have been lost and many others are languishing in squalid camps with no hope for a better future. The people trapped in the so-called IDPs represent one of the gravest dangers to Uganda. They are desperate and very unhappy and can do anything because they have nothing to lose. If one can remember the Bolshevik Revolution then it is not unreasonable to see that these people could destroy their oppressor that has been codenamed Uganda government.
Another troubling observation is the big number of Museveni family in the top echelon of the government. Believe me, such people will never share power with the rebels who are bent to remove them from power. I do not see how their interest is going to be safeguarded in the peace talk. If these people can tone down their desires and accept to take their place among other Ugandans as equal, then we are moving towards a better and integrated Uganda.
And, finally, peace will be achieved if Acholi people replace the military commanders in Acholi district and as to concern that they will or might wish to attack Museveni's other forces, none of them should be allowed to cross Karuma armed and vice versa for Museveni's NRA. Only then will participants shake hands truly with open hearts to give Uganda one more chance at peace. This is the only safeguard against Museveni's machination as he did at the Nairobi peace talk and prevents further bloodshed and pogrom by Museveni.