FEBRUARY 9, 2010: Talks With The LRA Serve No Purpose

Talks With LRA Serve No Purpose

SOURCE :New Vision


Kampala — The Acholi Religious Peace Initiative wants the Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels to return to the negotiating table and sign a peace agreement. The group says the unconcluded peace talks between the Government and the LRA still pose a threat to peace in northern Uganda.

It is not the first group to call for the resumption of the peace talks. However, enough is enough. For years, LRA leader Joseph Kony has demonstrated that he is not willing to abandon rebellion.

Several times in the past, he used leaders from northern Uganda to convince the Government that he is serious about peace talks when he was actually busy mobilising resources and supplies to wage war.

Whenever there was a ceasefire, he cunningly used the period to reorganise, regroup, recruit and launch fresh, deadly attacks on civilians in northern Uganda and elsewhere.

Twice former state minister Betty Bigombe initiated peace talks with the LRA. On both occasions, the rebel leaders failed to show up to sign the peace agreement. During the 2004 talks, they simply used the cease-fire area to attack surrounding villages.

The Juba peace talks, which started in July 2006, lasted for almost two years. Once again, Kony fooled the Government and the international community by not appearing at the signing ceremony on April 14, 2008.

During the cessation of hostilities between 2006 and 2008, his forces continued raiding villages, killing and abducting people in Southern Sudan and Congo.

It is no longer worthwhile for leaders of northern Uganda to speak on behalf of the LRA. It is obvious that the ongoing operations in Sudan, the DRC and the Central African Republic are taking a heavy toll on the last marauding rebels.

Kony should not be given another opportunity to reorganise, train, regroup and get fresh supplies. Peace should not be turned into a 'business'; neither should the LRA scare be used as a political campaign theme ahead of the next elections.