Wednesday,September 23,2020 20:11 PM

It is all over for Joseph Kony

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th December 2006 03:00 AM

In nearly six decades, I have not seen a guerrilla movement as weak as Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This group is going to the negotiating table totally empty handed! Let me give you examples:

In nearly six decades, I have not seen a guerrilla movement as weak as Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This group is going to the negotiating table totally empty handed! Let me give you examples:

By Hudson Sembeguya

In nearly six decades, I have not seen a guerrilla movement as weak as Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This group is going to the negotiating table totally empty handed! Let me give you examples:

When negotiations started between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the latter was controlling 45% of southern Sudan, including the oil fields. This proved to be a strong bargaining position enabling SPLA to achieve all its demands from Sudan president Gen Omar El Bashir.

When talks resumed between the Angolan government and National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), the latter was controlling 50% of Angola, including some oil and diamond fields. This gave Unita a considerable leverage in negotiations.

In 1974 during independence struggle talks between Portugal and The Guerrilla Movement Frelimo of Mozambique, Frelimo was in control of all the countryside.

During the recently-broken down ceasefire talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, the Tamils were in control of all the northern Jafna Province. Ironically, they are the majority and want to break away from Sri Lanka.

There is a ceasefire in Ivory Coast, where the government of President Gbagbo is controlling the south, while the rebels are controlling the north. This represents 50% of the negotiating powers.

In Colombia, there has been a civil war for decades; the latest re-elected president Aribe’s government is controlling the cities, while the FALP rebels are controlling all the cocaine-growing peasants in the countryside.

The rebels in Eritria started the war against Ethiopia in 1960, which lasted for 30 years.

At the negotiating table, Eritria was controlling three quarters of the country and they had tremendous bargaining power against Ethiopia.

In Somalia, the Islamists are controlling half the country while the American puppets are controlling only Baidoa town. When they start the Khartoum negotiations, they will be calling the Islamists.

In 1980 in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s Zanu PF was controlling the countryside. In Nepal, the Maoist rebels, who are fighting King Kirendra’s dictatorship, control 60% of the countryside.

In Burma, the rebel supporters of jailed democratic female leader Aung Sun control most of the country.

In Congo, rebel leaders Rubeira, Nyamwisi, Dia Wamba, Bizma Karaha, had seized Eastern Congo, which is rich in minerals and four times the size of Uganda, therefore, Kabila had to issue concessions.

In the Philippines, the Muslim rebels are controlling large tropical forests in the south of the country.

In 1952, the Kenyan Mau Mau rebels disorganised farming activities in the fertile Kenyan highlands of Eldoret, Nakuru and Naivasha. When Kenyatta started peace talks, the whites had already been badly shaken.

Now our Joseph Kony and the LRA have not seized any sub-county, not even a major road, not a police station, not a parish, not a local council area.

Sixty-five percent of the LRA high command have been killed by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), the latest being Lukwiya.

Twenty-five percent have defected, surrendered, or been captured. To add insult to injury, 300 LRA defectors have formed the 93rd Batallion of the UPDF.

According to The New Vision December 27, 2005, the commander of this battalion, Lt. Ocen Aboga, last year ambushed and killed a senior LRA commander, Joseph Kapere and his chief escort, Sergeant Obalim. For the last one year, nearly every two weeks, an LRA commander was killed or captured.

Today, Kony’s bases in northern Uganda and South Sudan have been destroyed and because LRA is on the list of 14 terror groups worldwide, Gen Bashir cannot dare support it, lest US president George Bush intervenes.

LRA cannot settle in Congo as the Congolese have attacked them; they cannot flee southwards as there is the UPDF, which has captured and occupied the water sources, denying them water. The rebels cannot flee to the north because the area is occupied by SPLA.

The LRA cannot fly out because the skies are being watched by the United Nations waiting to take them to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Illiterate as the LRA are, we saw Kony asking for chairs and tables. Any sensible UPDF commander would have supplied Kony with white chairs in a green forest camouflage, where infrared satellite-guided weapons can easily pick him up.

On top of all this, LRA has no front line, because unlike the earlier guerrilla groups, LRA has not seized any territory.

In the absence of this, nobody can bow to their demands. In fact, if the LRA makes any demands, the Uganda delegation should remind them about the arrest warrant by Interpol for their leaders.

They should also be reminded about the British-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution for joint military action against them and their arrest of supporters like Ojul, Ayena and Mao (not MP Nobert).

The only visible card left for LRA is to threaten the resumption of murder, abduction and rape of civilians, which capability they do not have any more. They lost a golden opportunity with Betty Bigombe in 1995 when they had Sudanese military and logistics support.

Many LRA captives and defectors have revealed information harmful to LRA regarding numbers, locations, tactics, command structures, mobility, training and arms that are discovered often.

It seems the UPDF is operating the very accurate global-positioning system because their level of accuracy in tracking information on LRA is amazing.

Being a Ugandan like Kony, let me give him a second choice — military. Since Kony is an expert in abduction and murder and his London-based fighters now in Juba, claim he is strong, let him capture the newly-discovered oil fields in Semliki and take four white engineers as captives as a bargain for the Juba talks.

If he cannot do this, his third last option and preferably the best, is to join his fellow rebels, Lukwiya, Kapere, Tabuley, etc. Kony has been having his cake and eating it for far too long. He forgot that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Kony was right to wonder whether all Ugandans would forgive him. The majority, including myself would not.

I will never forget that photograph in The New Vision, when Kony’s men murdered innocent civilians, cooked their legs in a pot, amongst so many other atrocities!

Finally, the Acholi middle-class, including religious, cultural and political leaders, have denied any connection with the LRA, but Kony spilled the beans.

However, his 1987 rebellion got the blessing of the Acholi. If in doubt, look at the LRA delegation in Juba. Most Ugandans have known this, especially the UPDF in the north.

They rebels should just follow Museveni’s advice.

Southern Sudan is in a crisis, but most Ugandans are over-looking it. The Acholi in Sudan are the second biggest tribe after the Dinka — quite a sizeable number are in the SPLA ranks.

This, however, should not give Kony and his supporters any comfort because the LRA has committed so many atrocities in southern Sudan and the population is bitter.

The writer is a peace-loving Ugandan

It is all over for Joseph Kony

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