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.