By Fortunate Ahimbisibwe
THE Government has urged humanitarian agencies to stop providing food to the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army (LRA) as a way of forcing the rebels out of the Congo jungles.
The Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, said the rebels had become adamant on signing a final peace agreement because they receive food from mainly Christian-founded humanitarian agencies.
He cited Caritas, a Catholic charity, which has been supplying food and medicine to the LRA.
â€œCaritas should stop giving food to the rebels so that they get under pressure to sign the peace agreement. But as long as they continue to get supplies, they will see no reason of ending rebellion.
There is a moral question on why Kony continues to receive food. Whoever is sending food to the jungles is committing a mortal sin, especially if they are Christians,â€ Kabwegyere said.
The minister was speaking at an African conference on cluster munitions at Imperial Royale Hotel, kampala. About 120 delegates from 45 African countries are attending the conference, which seeks to end the manufacture and sale of atomic bombs and landmines.
Addressing journalists after the opening of the conference, he said: â€œWe should leave the rebels to starve so that they can get to know that everybody is serious about the peace talks. If guns and peace talks canâ€™t work, then we should let hunger drive them out of the jungle. They cannot survive without food.â€
In President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s speech read by Kabwegyere, Museveni said the LRA continued receiving funds from external forces which want to â€˜destabilise Uganda.â€™
â€œThe LRA continues to be a threat and we are not sure that they have not continued to be supported by external people who want to disrupt our development agenda,â€ he said.
Kabwegyere said Uganda would sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was adopted by 107 other states in Dublin in May.
The convention is to be signed on December 3 in Oslo, Norway. Austria and Norway are sponsoring the campaign for the convention, which prohibits the use, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions.
The resident representative of the UNDP to Uganda, Theophane Nikyema, said the convention was vital to the stability of Africa.
â€œMany countries have experienced war in Africa. As a result, many countries have been contaminated by landlines and unexploded ordinance and most of them are still facing the impact posed by these indiscriminate weapons to development and human security years after conflicts have ended,â€ he noted.
In a message sent to the conference, Nobel peace prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said the world would not have peace untilcluster munitions are wiped out.
The representative of the cluster munition victims, Margret Arach, said Uganda has over 2,000 victims. Arach lost a leg after stepping on a landmine.