JUNE 22, 2010: It is wrong to intimidate the ICC over criminals

It is wrong to intimidate the ICC over criminals
SOURCE: Daily Monitor
By Felix Kulayigye

There are claims that the International Criminal Court indictments have undermined Kony’s faith in the peace talks, but there was no ICC in the past when peace talks attempts failed! How shall we account for the poor souls of Atiak, Omot, Barlonyo, Muchwinyi, or Faradje in the Democratic Republic of Congo? What about the thousands of innocent children that have lost their lives and childhood?

Whereas respect for our spiritual shepherds is the bulwark of discipline in society, there are instances when the sheep, so to speak, feel compelled to correct an error by their own shepherd, especially when the shepherd is in danger of leading the sheep to damnation.

Right from the early 90s, government has been conducting what became open-ended peace talks with Joseph Kony’s LRA to the extent of supplying him with life-sustaining essentials like food and medicine. And it is because of this extension of humanity that UPC president Olara Otunnu now accuses the NRM government of having been the chief architect of the LRA insurgency.

Whereas Mr Otunnu might be forgiven on account of having been far from the activities of the lip-slashing, child-abducting LRA gangs, Archbishop John Baptist Odama has been a key witness to the suffering. The prelate’s deafening silence over Otunnu’s allegations of NRM sponsoring LRA is in inverse proportion to his well-broadcast alarm over President Obama’s belated decision to snuff out these terrorists.

The peace-loving bishop seems convinced that whereas Joseph Kony is literally dying for a peaceful solution to the barbarities he started, it is the Uganda government and now President Obama and the US who seem to want war. Archbishop Odama was actually warning President Obama to be careful with Kony lest he became even wilder and abducted, maimed and murdered more innocent people in Central Africa and elsewhere.

“Military action has caused conflict to spread into areas that were immune to LRA violence…” Might we ask whether Kony is using peaceful means to prove how dangerous he can be to mankind? Or has Kony and his henchmen shown repentance? May be the good Archbishop has forgotten Vicent Otii’s (RIP) threat to the people that had gone to meet Kony in Rikangba on the 17th of March 2007!

Deliberately misreading the facts, the Archbishop attributes the currently prevailing peace in northern Uganda to the botched peace process in which he actively participated and whose sad end he witnessed. He refuses to recognise that pressure from the UPDF offered Kony a way out of his self-created impasse. Archbishop Odama neatly places his astonishing position this way; “after achieving such a significant outcome and ignoring the complexity of the LRA concerns and issues, the government of Uganda lost faith in the process.”

I must state clearly that the peace process had dealt with all issues and what remained was to sign the protocols. Does the Archbishop remember how many times Kony kept the world waiting and simply did not turn up?

But President Obama might as well heed Bishop Odama’s call to involve “different stakeholders in northern Uganda”. One is tempted to think that President Obama’s patience might have run out after adducing evidence that some of the stakeholders in Kony’s barbarism actually reside in the USA.

One can see a deliberate attempt to intimidate Obama and the ICC which is determined to play its part in restoring peace with justice. One cannot overlook the botched efforts by some politicians to have the Uganda Government tried for the offences the LRA has committed. I’m talking about Mr Otunnu who is struggling to convince the world that the LRA is actually the NRM’s machete in Kony’s hands.

The ICC will prove Otunnu wrong on the alleged LRA-NRM plot, but Bishop Odama already knows this and sees no advantages therein. Perhaps the good bishop will also spare time to preach peace to the LRA leader, who has never shown the slightest regard or affection for peace.