Uganda Peoples Congress

Uganda Peoples Congress
National Secretariat
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala

All Stake holders should be involved

Press Release

07 July 2006

Involve Opposition And All Stakeholders In Governance And Peace Building

  1. The Uganda Peoples Congress welcomes three recent political developments, namely:
  2. The naming by government of a peace team to talk to LRA and the actual holding of preliminary talks.
  3. The offer by President Museveni of complete amnesty to Joseph Kony " if he responds positively to the peace talks in Juba , Southern Sudan and abandons terrorism".
  4. The suspension of the operationalisation of the regional tier system of governance.
  5. In a way, these developments represent a climb down by the NRM government, which has always had an I know all attitude and a false belief in quick fixes.
  6. On the issue of insurgency in Northern and Eastern Uganda, the NRM and President Museveni in particular, in spite of repeated calls for dialogue from the opposition and other stakeholders, believed in a hard-line military solution. When this could not work, the NRM half heartedly tried to talk peace to the LRA, but on the basis that the LRA "as terrorists" had to surrender. Eventually the option of amnesty was embraced but again as a mere fall back position, if the much anticipated military victory did not materialize.
  7. The attitude of the NRM hardened and this led to the government inviting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute Joseph Kony and other LRA leaders. The ICC investigation team came quietly to Uganda and, in spite of requests by the opposition to meet them, they carried out their investigations secretly and later issued international arrest warrants for five LRA leaders. Meantime, the NRM majority in Parliament amended the law to exclude LRA leaders from benefiting from amnesty. Several months later the twin strategy, designed by NRM visionaries, to finish off Joseph Kony and his LRA through a military defeat and prosecution at the Hague has failed.
  8. The lesson from all this is that no single individual or organization in Uganda has the monopoly of ideas to deliver peace to Uganda or to solve other teasing national issues.
  9. Secondly, the UPC has insisted over the decades that this war has raged on, that this war is not a Northern Uganda/NRM government affair. It is a national disaster born out of our undemocratic political and economic history and conditions. It can only be solved as the national problem that it is.
  10. Accordingly, the UPC calls upon the NRM government and the LRA to humbly accept that left to themselves, they cannot negotiate lasting peace. The peace talks must be restructured to involve all stakeholders including opposition political parties, religious leaders, and the wider civil society, all on one negotiating table and genuinely committed to reaching a peaceful settlement for all the people of Uganda and building a united and prosperous nation where all citizens regardless of tribe, religion or other social and economic status enjoy their rights and freedoms. The second limb of peace building and reconciliation should involve the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the UPC continues to advocate for.
  11. In this restructured peace process, UPC calls upon the Government and the LRA to accept international bodies and agencies like the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and International Humanitarian Organisations to participate in the all round talks as observers. This will enable these bodies to meaningfully participate in the implementation and monitoring of the peace process.
  12. The UPC hopes that our advise on this all important issue of peace building will this time be embraced and not ignored. The successful conduct of the peace process involving all stakeholders will be the only befitting national gratitude to our brothers and sisters in southern Sudan for offering to assist us out of our very serious national crisis by initiating, facilitating and hosting the peace talks.
  13. The NRM government took the same I know it all and patronizing attitude to the issue of regional governance in Uganda . Faced with demands for federal governance from Mengo, the NRM government opted for secretive negotiations with Mengo. This is what led to the now debunked regional tier.
  14. The UPC warned both the NRM government and our Mengo friends that secretive negotiations between the two would not solve what was essentially a national issue. Regional governance, in the past and even today, is not an issue for Buganda alone. Rather, it is a matter of national concern that has been the subject of discussion, disagreements, acrimony and alliances even before independence. It was always going to be a tall order for the NRM and Mengo to fix this monumental issue alone.
  15. Now that the vision of the regional tier has collapsed before our own eyes, UPC calls upon the NRM government and Mengo to accept that regional governance is a national issue which should, like it was handled in 1961-1962, be discussed and negotiated openly by the National government, kingdom and district leaders and the political parties. We should be prepared to learn from the positive aspects of the 1961 engagement while avoiding the mistakes of that era. This in our humble view, is the only pragmatic way to build enduring regional governments in Uganda.

For God and my Country

Peter Mukidi Walubiri

Secretary General