Friday, September 19, 2008



18th September, 2008
New Vision
Kampala, Uganda

By Monicah Amoding

I have been following the Juba Peace talks with interest. The most recent report is that the Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA) chief has again failed to turn up for the signing of the final peace talks. According to Saturday Vision of September 13, LRA chief Joseph Kony called the Acholi Paramount chief, Rwot David Onen Acana II, to mobilise the Acholi cultural, religious and local leaders to mediate for a way forward. According to the LRA chief, some people were fighting to fail the peace process by blocking him from signing the final peace agreement adding that the major reason why he was not signing the final peace agreement was because of the indictments by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The northern Uganda insurgency has been rated one of the worst human crises in the recent times. The recent peace negotiations in Juba were a source of hope for many people. especially women and children who are the worst-hit victims of this conflict.

Articles have been published in the media indicating that the Government is planning another military onslaught against the rebels since the rebels have failed to sign the peace agreement. However, the LRA say, they will not sign unless the ICC withdraws its indictments against them. Where does this leave the youth and children of northern Uganda who have not known what a good meal, shelter or clothing is like, and whose hope for a good future is greatly threatened by such developments?

There is no point justifying the Government’s position of resorting to military options after 21 years of fighting this war. Nobody can assume to be more grieved than the aggrieved person.

The Government needs to respect the views of the people who suffered this war. To them, peace comes first and justice later. Peace is more important than justice because no punishment to Kony and his rebels can march the level of suffering that the people in the North have gone through. Much as the Government is working hard to ensure that the LRA does not return to destabilise northern Uganda, it has not explored all peaceful avenues to resolving this conflict.

My desire is to see all Ugandans living in peace and prosperity. This should be the mindset of all Ugandans no matter whether one is a woman or man or which region one comes from because a country in war is a poor country. For stakeholders that are involved in the peace process, peace must be achieved and maintained at all costs, because people want peace.

Now that the Government has already put in place programmes aimed at the recovery of the North, it must support this through adequate funding. It must recommit to fighting corruption country wide, strengthening the justice and law sector, as well as the operations of local governments who are charged with implementing these programmes.

Furthermore, the involvement of women in all decision making processes means progress for all Ugandans. This is because it is through their leadership that we will experience peace and prosperity.

The writer is a gender analyst working with the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association