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MPs Vote To Extend Deadline

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th March 2003 03:00 AM

THE members of Parliament want President Yoweri Museveni’s five-day limited ceasefire in a Pader district sub-county extended to allow more time for meaningful talks.

THE members of Parliament want President Yoweri Museveni’s five-day limited ceasefire in a Pader district sub-county extended to allow more time for meaningful talks.

By Okello Jabweli
and John Odyek

THE members of Parliament want President Yoweri Museveni’s five-day limited ceasefire in a Pader district sub-county extended to allow more time for meaningful talks.
The legislators stated their positions yesterday during debate on Otuke MP Omara Atubo’s motion commending Museveni for the ceasefire offer announced earlier this week to enable contact with rebel chiefs.
Atubo urged LRA leader Joseph Kony to positively respond to the ceasefire offer. The motion also urged the Government and LRA to take advantage of the ceasefire to resolve the the 16-year conflict.
It said the Acholi leaders’ peace efforts should be appreciated and encouraged.
The motion was unanimously passed after two hours of debate. All 13 MPs who spoke supported an extension of the cease-fire. Teopista Ssenabulya (workers) called for a month’s extension.
The House, presided over by deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, also passed Oyam South MP Dr. Okullo Epak’s amendment in which he urged the Government to encourage third party negotiations in a neutral country.
Igara West MP Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere’s attempt to shoot down Epak’s amendment failed when Kadaga put the question to a vote. The front benches normally reserved for ministers were empty as the entire Cabinet was away in Gulu for a meeting with Museveni. Atubo’s motion passed unanimously.
Atubo urged Museveni to extend the ceasefire for a few days, a few weeks and perhaps a few months.
He called on Parliament to pay tribute to Acholi leaders who “despite insults and daily risks to their lives” have continued to explore avenues for peace.
Jacob Oulanyah (Omoro) said the ceasefire should be extended. Aggrey Awori (Samia Bugwe North) doubted the Government’s commitment to peace.
He said all previous attempts at a negotiated settlement were thwarted by the UPDF. Awori said that if the Government was sceptical about the peaceful approach, he was even more so of the military strategy.
“History tells us that you cannot stop a guerrilla war using conventional methods of mambas and so on. The UPDF keeps telling us the LRA has only 500 fighters left. War will only end if the Government addresses the root causes of the problem, especially the economic marginalisation of the north,” he said.
Epak said the President’s speech on Women’s Day was unfair to northern leaders and called on Museveni to stop berating the contribution of other leaders towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Patrick Mwondha said it was meaningless to provide only five days to deal with a 17-year long war. “If negotiations start, what will happen after the five days. It is meaningless to say only five days and in one sub-county. A proper ceasefire should cover the whole place all the time,” Mwondha said.
Kabwegyere said with peace approaching, the political profiteers of the war will soon be exposed. He said a war that takes long develops economic interests.
Christopher Kibanzanga (Busongora South) called for the involvement of Sudan.
Dr. Steven Malinga (Butebo) called for courage on the part of Government to accept talks with the LRA. He said Museveni’s conditions were unreasonable and humiliating to Kony.
Ends

MPs Vote To Extend Deadline

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