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Kony fails to show up for peace signing

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th November 2008 03:00 AM

THE LRA leader Joseph Kony again failed to show up for the signing of the peace agreement yesterday. The government peace team and mediators waited in vain at Ri-Kwangba in South Sudan for the second day running.

THE LRA leader Joseph Kony again failed to show up for the signing of the peace agreement yesterday. The government peace team and mediators waited in vain at Ri-Kwangba in South Sudan for the second day running.

By Henry Mukasa
and Raymond Baguma


THE LRA leader Joseph Kony again failed to show up for the signing of the peace agreement yesterday. The government peace team and mediators waited in vain at Ri-Kwangba in South Sudan for the second day running.

Chief government negotiator Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, state minister for defence Ruth Nankabirwa, the UN envoy to LRA affected areas, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano and South Sudanese Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar had travelled to Nabanga, a remote town in southern Sudan, from where they would fly to Ri-Kwangba for the signing.

“We have not signed any pact,” Rugunda said in a telephone interview from Juba.

“Time is definitely not on his side. The people of Uganda want this concluded so they embark on other things.”

Rugunda said the Government delegation waited at Nabanga until 5:00pm when LRA team leader David Matsanga asked for more time to “brief” Kony.

Frustrated, the delegation flew back to Juba late last evening. A detailed report is expected from the LRA, traditional, religious and civic leaders from the north, who were still in the rebel camp in Garamba, DR Congo. Rugunda said Kony failed to sign the peace pact on April 14 and again on November 29.

The internal affairs minister is expected in Kampala to brief President Yoweri Museveni before the Government decides the next action.

“We are not going back to Ri-Kwangba,” Rugunda said.

“The ball is squarely in Kony’s court. He is the one who has refused to sign the final peace agreement.”

On Saturday, Kony said he would only sign the deal if the world court (ICC) arrest warrants against him were dropped and if all his soldiers were integrated into the UPDF. But, said Rugunda, the matter will not be reopened. “Anything to be raised will be addressed in the final agreement.”

Nankabirwa said: “I am not surprised that he has not signed but disappointed.”

Dr. Nyekorach Matsanga, speaking by telephone, yesterday said Kony was still in the jungles of Congo meeting 22 northern leaders. They include Acholi paramount chief Rwot David Achana, Langom, West Nile and Teso chiefs and the premier of Bunyoro kingdom.

Others were MPs Okello-Okello (Chwa county), Jimmy Akena (Lira town) Archbishop John Baptist Odama and Sheikh Khelil. Matsanga said he would brief Rugunda about the meeting.

“Kony has accepted to sign the peace agreement,” Matsanga said. “But he needs to be reassured on the question of the ICC.”

He also needs to speak to Museveni directly on issues regarding his return home and inclusion in the Government, Matsanga added.

Peace talks sponsored by Sudan and the United Nations halted in April when Kony refused to sign a peace accord at the last moment after tortuous negotiations.

The LRA has fought the Government since 1988, two years after the the then National Resistance Army (NRA) came to power. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the two decades of fighting.

UN Under Secretary General John Holmes warned on Friday of a regional disaster unless the LRA signed the peace deal.

“This is the last chance for them (the rebels) to do so,” Holmes told reporters in Juba.

Kony fails to show up for peace signing

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