African Unification Front

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I want peace, but Museveni is the problem, says Kony

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lordís Resistance Army called Guluís Mega FM on Saturday, December 28th [2002] during a political talk show on the peace process in Northern Uganda. His commander Brig. Otti Vincent had called in earlier on the same program. This is a slightly edited version of Konyís speech that was translated by John Muto-Ono pí Lajur: -
On matters of peace talks and dialogue, I want to assure you that I am one of those who are seeking peace. That is why I am in the bush fighting. There is nothing I am struggling for, apart from peace.

I am interested in peace, but it is the government of Museveni, or Museveni himself, who is against peace. They do not want peace.

I am fighting in the bush because of peace. The victorious National Resistance Army was committing atrocities as they were sweeping the country. We were all there, including Lt.Col. Walter Ochora. People from West Nile, from Soroti. Itongwa was there too. So was Amon Bazira.

I support all means which can bring peace. If you think what the government is doing is good, then it is up to you. But for me, I want to inform you Acholis, listen carefully that Joseph Kony says he is interested in peace. There are indicators to that effect. I am the one who initiated peace with government. I have done it two times already. The problem lies with the way government ways to take us.

In the past, Carter Center took some of you to meet me in Juba. When all arrangements were made, Museveni destroyed the program. He even confiscated the passports of some delegates, claiming that they would defect to me.

The governmentís method will never bring peace. The other day I prepared my delegation led by Brig. Otti Vincent. He met with Archbishop Odama. I would not have allowed that meeting if I was against peace. What would I have done to your delegates if I were against peace?

We are all clever and alert. We know things; if we knew nothing, would we dare fight a government like Museveniís? We are all capable of moving things. None of us is stupid. How are we able to sustain a war with a super-power like Uganda? Let us be realistic. Let us be honest in advocating for peace. Let us all get involved in the process together with government.

It should not also involve the Acholi community because we are not fighting Acholi. We are fighting government. We are rebels.

I was listening how you compare us to Uganda National Rescue Front II rebels of Ali Bamuze. Bamuze is no rebel. He was a refugee in the Sudan. But we are rebels who provide very strong opposition to the government.

I will support all means for peace, but not the way Museveni says that I should go to Palutaka or Owiny-ki-bul in Southern Sudan. Am I Sudanese? I am Ugandan. You all know that Museveni has a population reduction program of Acholi sub-region through war He is trying to implement that policy.

I want to repeat that the LRA is not against peace. A few minutes back, you were talking to Brig. Otti Vincent. That is a typical soldier who may not be able to make a political statement. He may be sad at events taking place but I who is the mother and father of the LRA, I know that I want peace. My only quarrel is the way government treats me. That is not a peaceful way. It leads to a bloodbath.

I began to fight in 1987, but how many Acholis were in the camp [Internally Displaced Peopleís Camp]? Better still, how many people have I killed from where I live, my camp? We donít kill. You can ask questions.

Stephen Opio (Mega FM): Did you say you are ready for peace talks?

Kony: We are ready for meaningful dialogue.

Stephen: How do you advise us to go about it, what do you advise government to do since you say it was not taking you seriously?

Kony: If government wants to talk peace the way we are committed to peace, we should follow the process in transparent manner in the same way it is universally done. We should not be careless in the process. It must not be in a local way; that we should meet the Ochoras. We should focus. The peace process must not bring problem to any part of the country.

Stephen: Which is that way?

Kony: How do we enter into dialogue?

Muto: The government says it is now ready with a peace team waiting to meet your team. We all seem to have a common position of bringing peace to our region. The people are complaining. Even the RDC Max Omeda is here. He says the government peace team has been waiting for too long. Can you name us some of the people we can contact who shall talk peace on behalf of the LRA?

Kony: My team is ready but I donít know if the government team is really ready. You can send your delegate to any of my commanders in the field. You can follow any group of LRA soldiers and introduce yourselves. Once you meet such a commander, he will communicate LRA position to you. Such a meeting should also come out clearly with the levels of dialogue before final agreement can be reached. This is when Kony and Museveni can now meet to sign. It can not be otherwise like government has been taking.

Max Omeda: I believe you still remember me. You know me very well. We fought in Amuria in Teso. Some of your team members moved with me to Serere. That is Beba-Beba, Welike, and the late Otii-Lagony and others. You still remember me very well, I know.

Now I am saying, why donít you trust some of us now, who are in government and who know what government thinks about those who have fought this government, the former rebels.

I have been trying to get in touch with you but it has been very difficult. Today, I have had the opportunity to hear your voice. This is your exact voice. It is not just somebody talking, but it is you yourself. You have also heard mine. You donít doubt about it. Why donít you name your team. You talk to government. We are not telling you lies. We are not selling you.

The president has always said what he has fulfilled. He said he has pardoned the former rebels and many of us are now in government you know. One of your commanders has been a big commander here in Gulu. He is Walike. He was your escort, you remember? And many others. Why donít you name your team, you start peace talks? If you donít know, you have lost so many of your people. People have died in Acholi. If you see it, you will regret.

You remember what I asked you in Teso, when you came there? That, do you have a political wing? Your answer was very clear that you have LCs. I believe by now, you have a very strong political wing. Why canít you ask your political wing to formulate a team that will talk to government Joseph?

Kony: Listen carefully to what I have to say. As you have said, I see that you are taking this process as a very simple matter. Did you say that I donít trust people? If I donít trust you, or the people of Uganda for that matter, do you think I would be talking to you? I will talk to you. I trust everybody, even Ochora, Lacambel or Museveni. I trust them all. I love everybody in Uganda. That is why I am fighting for them.

The people who are dying now are not my people. These are the people of Uganda. Acholis are Ugandans.

I am trying to tell you, the way you the government take this peace initiative is not good. That is not how people talk peace. We want a good clean way.

I have my political wing. Some of them are in London. Others are here in Uganda. I have many. But it was your government that has been confusing them. They are confused, because when we start to talk to you in a good way, you go and interfere with many cases. For example, Rwot Moo, Kacoke Madit, Acholi Paramount Chief. It is very complicated to understand what is going on in the north.

Paddy Ankunda (UPDF-PRO): Let me make this clear. The government is very much interested in talking peace with you so that we give the Acholi a chance for peace. We would want to hear, just one thing from you. Mention the members of you peace team. Identify the place of your choice where government peace team can meet your peace team and talk peace. Stop abducting young girls because most of them are suffering at the hands of your soldiers and your commanders. Stop ambushing, stop abducting, then we shall talk peace. Government is very interested. You can see what Gen. Bamuze has done. Now West Nile is going to have peace and development. You may make your demands. Government will listen to all the demands that you have. The peace team will listen at all the demand and consider them accordingly so that there is peace. You said you trust Museveni and you trust all Ugandans. Give them a chance to live in peace. Just mention your peace team and we get going, Ndugu Joseph.

Kony: My friend, we are not killing Acholi. We are not abducting children. We are not doing anything bad in northern Uganda. All this dirty work is done by government, not LRA. We donít abduct children. How can children walk for one hundred miles. How can children walk for twenty miles? That is not true at all.

The LRA does not kill at all. These are our people. We are not doing anything bad to them. I know they are my people. They are the very reason why I am in the bush. I went to liberate them because you are killing them.

There are many that we brought here in the bush because of the untold suffering they were going through in the camps.

One reason why Museveni was successful was that he used his own people and overthrew the government. He got support from Ankole in Mbarara. These are the ones who fought. Did you ever hear that people from Lokung or Pader joined Museveni in the bush?. He took over through support from his tribesmen.

Now if you, my tribesmen, want to come and help me takeover, come and let us fight. I did not abduct them. They are here because I am strong. If I was weak, government would not allow me to have them.

Turning to ambushes along the way, you should know that this is war. When you are told that a particular road is rebel infested, why do you risk travelling along it? You see Buffalo and Mamba travel along these roads. How do you differentiate a soldier in non-uniform from civilians? We have no ulterior motive as government propaganda says. We want all Uganda to live in peace.

I appeal to all of you who are tuned to this radio that I, Joseph Kony, am not involved in propaganda. I want everybody to live in peace and harmony. I want dialogue to end this war. But I also believe that the barrel of the gun can resolve the conflict. I still warn about the bad intentions of government.

Ankunda: You have talked so many things but you have not mentioned you peace team. If you are actually interested in peace, just name your team and we can go forward.
Meanwhile, here with me, I have one of your commanders who surrendered to us. His name is Capt. Nokrach of Stockree Brigade. He is here with us. He would like to tell you what he has actually found with us here, the UPDF. He can go ahead and talk to you.

Kony: I do not want to talk to that person. Besides, I donít know any of my commanders with that name. I have my team ready. The only problem is that you are not sincere. You send your peace team to us, but do not send them with ulterior motives. I do not want to see a repeat of the other incident when Archbishop Odama was meeting Otti Vincent and the UPDF prepared an attack as talks was gong on. That battle was documented on video and Odama has the recordings. I do not know if he showed it to you.
Another day, you shot Father Carlos during a peace meeting. Why are you pressing me to reveal my peace team? You just send your team to us, so as to prove us wrong. Alternatively you can approach any Acholi elder wherever such an elder is. They were the ones who flagged of the rebellion in the north. Let them come to prove that we donít kill any how. It is only after this process that meaningful dialogue can begin.
You are now setting for me conditions that I should not abduct, not ambush and all other nonsense. The most logical thing would be the preliminary negotiations before such conditions are set. If we are genuine, this can lead to cease-fire. Once that is achieved then real negotiations can begin. It canít be in the way you want it done.

James Lam Lagoro (Panelist): There is somebody here who would like to talk to you. Can you give him a minutes?

Kony: Who is he?

Nokrach: I am Nokrach.

Kony: I donít want to speak to that person. I phoned Mega FM, not to anybody else. If anybody else wants to talk top me let him prepare another day.


Muto (Monitor): I want to thank you for your contributions to this radio talk show which is on air every Saturday between ten and midday. I see it is possible for the LRA to continue contributing to the program for the sake of dialogue.

Kony: That is a bright idea which we shall follow, not according to your program, but LRA tactics. I can not promise you that next Saturday we shall be on air with you. You have to wait.
Let me say this to my brothers in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader; that there is war going on between Museveni and Kony. You should know by now how you can preserve yourselves wherever the war gets you. The Acholi are not made out of trees or from the soil of Palabek or Odek. Acholi are Godís creation whom He loves very much. What is happening in Acholiland is a plan from God. Remember Acholi proverb, which says; the first may become the last. This is the first time you are experiencing a guerilla warfare. You who support government must deal humanely with the people under you. Donít despise them. If you think you can manipulate Acholi, then you are wrong. The late Oryema used to a very bad man, but where is he now and his properties?
God should bless you and protect you. We shall meet some other time.

Ankunda: Are you interested in peace talks?



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