Here‘s the second of my two columns in the CSM this month on the competition between the claims of peace and justice in northern Uganda.
The money quote there– from the (ethnic-Acholi) leader of the parliamentary opposition, Morris Ogenaga-Latigo– is:
- Should we sacrifice our peacemaking process here so they can test and develop their criminal-justice procedures there at the ICC? Punishment has to be quite secondary to the goal of resolving this conflict.
Ah, I see from this August 24 story in the Daily Monitor, which is Kampala’s best independent newspaper, that Chairperson Norbert Mao– whom I interviewed when I was in Gulu last month and who is quoted in both my CSM columns on Uganda– has now been “cleared” by President Museveni to go and take part with other “community leaders” in the peace talks in Juba. That seems to me like good news. Mao is a very wise and far-thinking guy.
That report, by Samuel O. Egadu and Emmanuel Gyezaho, tells us that Museveni and Mao talked on the phone for two hours Sunday evening. Mao then led a 15-person team that met with Museveni in Kampala:
- The group that met Museveni yesterday afternoon included MPs and stakeholders who visited Kony in Garamba Forest in the DR Congo and flew back from Juba on Tuesday.
Mao, who led the 15-member team, to meet Mr Museveni, said the community leaders would explain in detail the benefits of their participation at the talks in bridging the gap between Kampala and the LRA.
Mao said, Museveni accused the local Acholi leaders of having a blind spot for the atrocities committed by the LRA. But Mao said he vehemently denied the President’s allegations. “Our role is to ensure that there is reconciliation and accountability and there should be no condoning. I assured Museveni that as long ago as 1997, we stated that we are totally opposed to these atrocities,” he said.
It also emerged yesterday that Mr Museveni is expected in London this weekend, to attend a forum on the ongoing peace talks. Mao along with Security Minister, Mr Amama Mbabazi, are also expected to address the forum.
Interesting. Wish I could be there.