Uganda President 'Killed' Peace Talks With LRA, Says A Top Politician

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Uganda's real problem is in Kampala in the person of Museveni's lawless, corrupt and dictatorial regime.


 [Global: Commentary]


My views on OLT (Editor's Note: Operation Lightening Thunder; Uganda government military operation against Lord's Resistance Army in 2008 which helped scuttle then on-going peace negotiations) are in the public domain. I did not support OLT.  
 
It
was an operation to rain bombs in the areas where Kony was believed to
be participating and would lead to indiscriminate killing of those the
operation was intended to rescue. But even so, I believe there is no
purely military solution to the LRA issue. Even after the release of
Kony 2012 I stated clearly that the doors to peaceful solutions must
never be closed. 
 

On the 2009 events in DC I did not participate
[Editor's Note: Campaign by Invisible Children to bring key Ugandans to meet U.S.
lawmakers to support military operations against the Lord's Resistance
Army]. I knew about it and I was briefed about it. The goal was clear -
the world cannot continue with business as usual when thousands of
abducted children are with the LRA. 
 
I know the power of such
activism because that is what pushed George Bush to appoint Tim Shortley
as an envoy to the Juba talks. When he did we could not believe it
because initially the US was very lukewarm about the talks. 
 
What
killed the talks was that deep down in his psyche, Museveni [Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni] wants a military solution. His belief that he
is a reincarnation of the Chwezi conquerors cannot allow him to rest
until he has humiliated the Luo (Acholi) who toppled the Chwezi rulers.  

 
That
is why he rejected our proposal to ask the UN Security Council to
suspend the ICC warrants! Essentially as I wrote in 2006 the Juba talks
in the mind of Museveni were not peace talks but surrender talks! That
is why he frequently spoke of the talks being to facilitate a "soft
landing" for the LRA! 
 
Though you did not specifically ask let
me tell you of Invisible Children's event that I participated in.,The
event organized by Invisible Children that I participated in and for
which they bought me an air ticket and paid for my hotel was the 2007
,"Displace Me" event in Washington DC aimed at dramatizing the life of
the people of Northern Uganda forced into so called IDP camps.  
 

I
addressed about 6,000 young people camped in cardboard boxes at the
Washington Mall telling them their activism is important to keep the
issues of Northern Uganda on Washington's policy agenda. 
 
After
the public event we met a few US policy makers and think tanks and
briefed them of the situation on the ground and what it would take to
enable displaced people return home. 
 
I have been engaging US
policy makers since 1993 and I have the network for continuous
engagement. That is how from the time I got into parliament I reached
out to people like Senator Inhofe, Senator Brownback [Former Sen. Sam
Brownback], Congresswoman Betty [McCollum], and several others.

 
But
perhaps more importantly I met Ambassador Browning [Editor's Note: Steven Browning
U.S.. ambassador to Uganda under George W. Bush] and shared my views on
OLT. But I guess he wanted Washington to think a certain way or those in
Washington wanted him to present that kind of supportive evidence., 
 
I
hold regular meetings and discussions with U.S.. embassy people
including the Ambassador and they know where I stand on these issues.  
 
When
the 100 Special Forces were deployed, I had a lengthy talk with the
Political Officer. I told him that while it is good policy to send a
clear message to Kony that it is going to get more and more risky to
abduct children and burn villages, Uganda's real problem is in Kampala
in the person of Museveni's lawless, corrupt and dictatorial regime.  
 
The officer laughed but he knew I was not joking! We are reaping the bitter fruits of Museveni's despotic ambitions. 
 
 

Mr. Norbert Mao is President of the Democratic Party and was a Uganda presidential candidate.


The statement was provided in response to questions submitted by The Black Star News for an article about Invisible Children.




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