Interview With LRA Spokesman
Oloya: â€œThe ICC must investigate those crimes from 1986 onwards, there are several members from Uganda government army, whom have openly indicated that they indeed committed gross actions against innocent people of the north.â€?
[International: Peace In Uganda?]
The following is an interview with Alex Oloya, Lord's Resistance Army spokesman, who issued the April 10 press release to media, when Joseph Kony did not appear at the scheduled ceremony at Ri-Kwangba to sign the “final” peace agreement between the LRA and the Government of Uganda. The LRA and Uganda government have engaged in conflict for 22 years now, and both have been accused of gross human rights abuses. LRA commanders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. Separately, Uganda's army and its commanders and allied militias also are being investigated by the ICC on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Wall Street Journal reported on June 6, 2006. Oloya says the LRA wants the peace agreement between the LRA and Uganda to be similar to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan government seated in Khartoum.
Q: When did LRA Commander in chief Joseph Kony decide to suspend the LRA's participation in the Peace Talks?
A: Decision to suspend talks was due to continuously changing events at Juba, which indicated a pattern of suspicions and deliberate intrusion by other elements. It was also very clear that authority responsible for mediation had lost track, the program to good negotiation had simply gone out of the window. We had agreements being signed every 24 hours and it became a rollercoaster signing. The mediation process had been replaced directly by Government of Uganda team; at this moment they had empowered the sacked LRA team.
Q: What is the next move that LRA commander in chief Kony proposes?
A: Chairman Kony is committed to peace. His views show his desire for peace in Uganda as a whole and particularly he would want to see all those in the illegally state-controlled internally displaced camps located in various areas of north and east, return home. He has no vengeance towards any people or groups. He believes the international community have not heard the truth about what he stands for and why he took up arms to defend himself from retribution of NRA now UPDF. His desire are firmly to ensure that any negotiation is meticulously conducted and scrutinized to ensure that real talks succeed and he’s personally instructed me to provide that program and I obliged to implement it. He’s criticized the lack of international responses given to the terrible retribution directed at the people of Northern Uganda since 1986. He assured me that the powers-that-be that nothing they can do will disunite us or damp our resolve to gain freedom during our lifetime. Our common cause, whose justice is acknowledged by commitment to peace through negotiation, reverberates around the world, will always arouse in us a spirit of comradeship and solidarity
Q: Many Ugandans, especially in Acholi are worried that if the talks are not concluded successfully there could be a return to war fare; can you comment on this?
A: I believe the time for peace has come. The proxy war which was under the pretext of Sudan supporting LRA is over. The United States Administration deeply regrets its actions which came blindly as a result of misleading relationship with the Kampala Administration. The fact or conspiracy was imbedded. U.S Administration failed to realize that it was a retribution program on which they were responding and have since are resorting to providing humanitarian support
Q: In the statement sent to The Black Star News which we published, the LRA made some specific points, can you elaborate on the following: "The Lack of a Neutral Mediator for mediation process, and signed military cooperation with the Government of southern Sudan, deployments of hostile forces from Uganda and others working within Dr Riek Marcher’s office not healthy towards any credible environment of dialogue."
A: Bilateral relationship between two states is a norm, but when you have several security services organizations from Uganda fully and freely working within the Government Of Southern Sudan offices then that raises serious concerns. For instance what message do you send out when it comes from your office as mediator such information that Kony is now so and so miles away?
Q: What "signed military" cooperation agreement is there between Uganda and the government of southern Sudan and what does it say?
A: Shortly after peace talks began in Juba, Uganda rushed in to sign a military treaty with Government Of Southern Sudan; in real sense this agreement should have marked the end of negotiation
In the interest of peace any party that claims to want peace or commit to peace and normalization of relationship wouldn’t deliberately carry out such agreements. It was wrong for the peace talk image and proves careless approach to ending conflicts.
Q: Clarify the statement from the press release: “Members of LRA/M Delegation cannot be productive, nor effective, nor constructively operate in insecure Juba and Dr. Machar as Mediator of the talks.”
A: Undoubtedly presenting negotiation demands [requires] proper functioning administrative facilities. What makes LRA peace commitment different from that between SPLA and the government of Sudan? SPLA had offices up to this very moment in Nairobi. In short this is wrong and unacceptable for the international community to see through a people exterminated or eliminated simply by lies upon them. The international community must certainly be guilty at endorsing the final nail on Acholi existence
Q: Does this mean the LRA wants Dr. Machar to be replaced?
A: This moment we shall not discuss it, with due respect to Dr. Riek and his government. I share his desire to return to implement their Comprehensive Peace Agreement they signed with Sudan [Khartoum government] and doing the work that his people want seen done. There isn’t any point whatsoever in ignoring the people of southern Sudan and letting military occupation by Uganda, UPDF, spoil their peace. The people of Southern Sudan deserve to heal their pain. Uganda must reconsider their deployment and come to terms of commitment to peace and stop giving negative information to international community in order to effect its retribution program against a people.
Q: Clarify the statement: “The Lack of Understanding and Full Commitment by International Community.”
A: I repeat what I said. It’s not only full commitment that has gone out of the window from the international community. The international media blocked all that was the order of the day by NRA in northern and eastern Uganda. Eyes and voices saw and cried until there were no more. Women, children, elders fell with shear pain and terror to their final place. Villages, homes burnt, their smoke and burning bodies became the aroma of wilderness this would last till this moment. International NGOs made reports accusing the victims and praising the government. It was the silent genocide which was now receiving support in acquiring more arms to suppress and destroy a people
Q: What are some of the things the LRA wants the International Community to do?
A: To listen, allow time, to accept that genocide has indeed been committed against the people of northern, eastern Uganda, and to support a meaningful peace negotiation [comparable] to that of SPLA and the Government of Sudan
Q: Clarify the statement: “The Interference by the ICC (International Criminal Court) selective justice has sought to prosecute one party in conflict (the LRA) while excusing the other (the government of Uganda and Ugandan People Defense Force).”
A: The ultimate crimes committed against the people of Acholi and eastern Uganda began in 1986 and these are very important aspect of any prosecution. The ICC is undermining Joseph Kony’s ability and human rights to participate in ending and negotiating an end to the conflict which was perpetuated against him and entire community.
Q: Do you want the ICC to prosecute members of the Uganda government and UPDF?
What are the name of some members of the Uganda government and UPDF that the LRA believes committed war crimes and should be prosecuted?
A: The ICC must investigate those crimes from 1986 onwards, there are several members from Uganda government army, whom have openly indicated that they indeed committed gross actions against innocent people of the north. It’s important for Uganda authorities to apprehend them now. We shall not name but UPDF knows whom we are talking about
Q: Clarify the statement: “The models of modalities that are standard for negotiating successful Comprehensive Peace Agreement are all missing and Inadequate Administration facilities.” What kind of models of modalities and administration facilities would the LRA like to see in place?
A: Modalities based on the peace pact signed by the Government of Sudan and SPLA. Mr. Bill and others have the task to prepare-present them in time for the next commencement of negotiations. Consultative committee are geared up and working out programs to meet all walks of people to create backup and launch forward guidance. Basically all the nitty gritty stuff.
Q: Where does the LRA want the negotiations to resume?
A: Where there are administration and facilities in order to function; for example, access to Internet, telephone etcetera. In the next few weeks we have planned several meetings with local members and friends of Uganda to take place across Europe; likewise it shall be recopied to USA. It’s important that every person from Acholi is involved to solve the problem. I realize that, as we have seen in the past week, how some trusted friends whom I say are coated with sugar and yet very bitter, have made damaging attacks which should remind us of how we proceed. I also assume that we shouldn’t be misled by those few elements but rather to have caution as we proceed.
Q: Clarify the statement: “The Lack of Seriousness by the Government of Uganda in which it has rejected all demands made by the LRA. The intimidation, bulling and bribery of LRA delegates and its programs of ending the war with military force is not helpful to ending conflict.” Which LRA demands did the government of Uganda reject? Which LRA delegates were bribed?
A: This subject is under investigation and as we have called for independent inquiry into collapse of negotiation, I expect a full fair inquiry.
Q: Clarify the statement: “The incompetence of H.E former President Joachim Alberto Chissano a special Envoy of the UN secretary General, lacks expertise and experience in all fields of Conflict Resolution.”
A: He should have realized that negotiation had drifted off table and in the hands of Government Of Uganda. He should have asked question and supervised mediation process. If at all the signing was to take place, he was many miles away from Garamba. What’s the explanation?
Q: How has former Mozambique president Joachim Chissano been incompetent as you suggest?
A: What is this man doing in lavish Kampala hotels? Somebody give me an answer. He didn’t have the package to be honest
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