Saturday, March 7, 2009

Uganda: Rebel leader to sign peace deal

Deodatus Mfugale, AfricaNews reporter in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony is expected to sign the peace deal on Saturday after several months of unfulfilled promises. He was earlier expected to sign the peace agreement in April this year but failed because he was unsure of the status of his arrest warrant from the ICC.

It is hoped that signing of the peace deal on Saturday would bring to an end the Uganda civil war which has run for two decades, killing millions of people and displacing many others.

Chief mediator Dr Riek Machar told a press conference in Juba on Wednesday that there is every indication Kony will sign the peace deal this time around. Dr Machar is the Vice President of South Sudan.

The BBC has also quoted the UN special envoy to LRA affected areas in Northern Uganda, Joachim Chisano as confirming that Kony will sign the deal this weekend, but said he was disappointed that the rebel leader had refused on several occasion to sign.

“There is no doubt he will show up and sign the deal, “stressed the former President of Mozambique. Following the developments Chief Government negotiator Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on Wednesday called his team to an emergency meeting and spokesman of the team, Capt. Chris Magezi said after the meeting that the mediators had been informed of Kony’s resolve to sign the peace deal this time around.

Magezi said the government team would travel to Ri-Kwangba where the signing ceremony will take place and hoped that Kony would be serious this time and meet his obligations as stipulated in the peace deal.