By Petride Mudoola
FORMER Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni for pardon over atrocities he committed against the people of northern Uganda.
Kwoyelo, currently remanded at Luzira Maximum Security Prison, was charged with 53 counts of crimes against humanity in connection with the over two-decade bloody war that claimed thousands of lives as well as loss of property in the region.
In a recent interview with New Vision, Kwoyelo said: “Having undergone various rehabilitation programmes, I have realised my past mistakes like any other Ugandan who erred. I pray that the President gives me a second chance in life.”
Kwoyelo, who is currently on a peace making and reconciliation programme, said he has benefited from the course and pledged to practice what he has learnt because it calls for reconciliation with God and the society he wronged.
“I am willing to work with the Government at all cost. Once considered for clemency, I swear never to go back to rebel activities,” he said.
On January 25, 2011, Kwoyelo appeared before the High Court in Kampala, which ordered the Amnesty Commission and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to grant him a certificate of amnesty and release him.
The state, however, argued that the DPP could not recommend the issuance of a certificate of amnesty because Kwoyelo had other grave crimes such as rape and murder.
The court said the alleged crimes forwarded by the DPP could have been committed when Kwoyelo was a rebel and, therefore, he could not be denied amnesty basing on such crimes.
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Kwoyelo pleads for clemency