Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
Ray of Hope from Juba
13 Sep 2006
- The Uganda Peoples Congress would like to applaud and appreciate the Leadership, Rank and File of the Lords Resistance Army for responding positively to the cessation of hostilities agreement. By moving to the designated assembly points in Southern Sudan, the LRA has not only demonstrated their concrete commitment to the peace process, but has made the ceasefire more effective. We extend a similar applause to the Government of the Republic of Uganda and Uganda Peoples Defense Forces for creating a conducive atmosphere by agreeing to extend the deadline for negotiation, maintaining constant dialogue and supporting the LRA en route to Owiny Kibul, guaranteeing safe passage and exercising discipline in observing the ceasefire.
- For the Chief Mediator, Dr. Riek Machar, the entire Government of Southern Sudan and citizens of Southern Sudan, we congratulate them for setting the peace process into motion, hosting, facilitating and managing it professionally. For the citizens of Uganda and in particular the people of Northern Uganda, we say thank them for standing together in support of the peace process.
- In the same vein, we salute the United Nations and the entire International Community for the magnificent role in actively monitoring the peace process. The UPC believes that, their presence has not only given the talks a high profile it deserves, but has held actors accountable and nudged them to end the 20 year carnage.
- The positive signs of peace are beginning to trickle from Juba. We urge the Government and the LRA to desist from any action that may destroy the existing confidence and disrupt the peace process. The presence of the war victims which symbolizes the atrocities committed against the innocent people of Northern Uganda, practically speaks volumes, but in the absence of any framework for justice in an adversarial system, we cannot pass judgment on either party, less we weaken the resolve to attain peace. In any event, the legal maxim is: "Every person innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"
- The Uganda Peoples Congress, in light of the peace negotiations and the expected signing of the final comprehensive peace agreement, maintains its consistent demands that the Government and the LRA involve all the stakeholders like Political Parties with representation in Parliament, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders in the peace process for the following reasons:
- The agenda item on Reconciliation and Accountability is a national issue. To pursue national reconciliation, unity and stamp out corruption, there is need to organize a national conference to seriously chart the way forward. Therefore, it cannot be a preserve of LRA or Government alone.
- The planning for the resettlement of the people in Northern Uganda must be nationally coordinated with inputs from various stakeholders. Experts from all disciplines must be involved as opposed to the Government going it alone in multibillion plans.
- Transformation of the culture of violence requires participation of all stakeholders. This country has been in vicious cycle of violence which has penetrated the soul of our society. We have to skillfully broaden and deepen our understanding of this violence in order to draw strategies to curb it and continue with the process of peace building nationally.
- The issue of impunity and justice system to be applied after the war. The Uganda Peoples Congress right from the Presidential elections campaigns has consistently demanded for the establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a means of healing past injuries and bitterness. Relying on the traditional Acholi justice system of Mato Oput is okay at the regional level but reconciliation and integration at the national level would require establishing an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
With the expected success of the peace agreement, the Uganda Peoples Congress maintains that, in order to realize structural changes and build a harmonious prosperous country, all stake holders must accept that, we are entering a new and historic period which poses new and more difficult challenges in terms of promoting national unity, sustainable development, patriotism and sense of nationhood. UPC therefore, calls upon the Government of the Republic of Uganda and LRA to recognize this fact. Therefore all stakeholders must be involved in the peace process. What concerns all must be discussed by all.
For God and my Country
Mama Miria Kalule Obote
President, Uganda Peoples Congress