National
France to honour Bigombe for peace role
Publish Date: Feb 21, 2014
France to honour Bigombe for peace role
Government chief negotiator, Betty Bigombe, poses with some members of the LRA delegation during peace talks in 2004. PHOTO/Reuters
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Ibrahim Kasita

The French government is to award the state minister for water resources, Betty Bigombe, with the highest French national distinction, the Legion of Honour, in recognition for her contributions to peace building efforts and human rights defence, among others.


The honouring ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 4 at the French Residence in Kampala.

Bigombe, the patron of Betty Bigombe Foundation, has been the state minister for water resources since May 27, 2011.

She played a pivotal role in the peace talks in northern Uganda between the Joseph Kony-led LRA rebel group and government.

Following initial failure of military efforts to defeat the rebels, Bigombe was in 1998 tasked to lead a team to convince the LRA rebels to lay down their arms. This responsibility required her to take up residence in Gulu.

At this time, she was the state minister for the pacification of northern Uganda.

The war in the north led to the killing of thousands of residents, and many more were displaced.

Bigombe initiated contact with Kony in June 1993. Despite meeting with the warlord – who is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the talks collapsed in February 1994.

Soon afterward, the insurgency intensified and no significant efforts towards peace would be made for the next decade.


Bigombe was the chief negotiator during gov't peace talks with the Joseph Kony-led LRA rebel group back in 2004. PHOTO/Reuters

Following one of the most grisly and gruesome episodes in the conflict in the February 2004 Barlonyo massacre, Bigombe took a leave of absence from the World Bank and flew to Uganda to attempt to restart the peace process.

From March 2004 to 2005, she was the chief mediator in a new peace initiative with the LRA, personally financing much of the logistics of bringing Ugandan government ministers and rebel leaders together.

The last meeting on April 20, 2005, fell through.

However, the failure of the Bigombe mediation is seen as laying the groundwork for the 2006-2007 Juba talks that the government of South Sudan then-under Dr. Riek Machar mediated.

Those talks collapsed at the last minute when Kony refused to sign the final peace agreement.

Bigombe also provided technical support to the Carter Center to foster peace between the governments of Uganda and Sudan.

Presently, Kony is reported to be somewhere in the jungles of Central African Republic (CAR). At one point, he was said to be seriously sick, reports which remained unfounded.

For her role in trying to bring about peace in the country, Bigombe is now set to be recognized by the French government.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Big strides made in fighting TB, says WHO
The known tally of people with tuberculosis rose last year but overall "major progress" is being made in rolling back the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday....
Minister Chebrot hospitalized in China
Dr. Steven Chebrot, the state minister for transport has been hospitalized in a Chinese hospital....
Drug-resistant TB at crisis levels, warns WHO
Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis remains at crisis levels, with about 480,000 new cases this year, and various forms of the lung disease killed about 1.5 million people in 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday....
Terror suspects linked to Al Shabaab further remanded
Police are yet to conclude investigations in a case involving 10 terror suspects linked to Al Shabaab arrested last month from Kisenyi in Kampala....
Rwanda backtracks on special Ebola screening of travellers from US and Spain
Rwanda will no longer have special Ebola-screening measures imposed on travelers arriving from the United States and Spain...
7 Makerere students detained over demo
At least seven students who were arrested during the Monday Makerere University demostration against an attempted graduation fees increment face charges....
Was Oscar Pistorius' 5 year sentence fair and just?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter