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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (March 23-April 6, 2007)

VZCZCXRO6868
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0589/01 0960359
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060359Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8543
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0567
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0394
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3210
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 000589

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID AND OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF PREL MOPS ASEC CASC EAID UG SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (March 23-April 6, 2007)


1. (U) Summary: Post presents the seventeenth edition of Northern
Uganda Notes to provide information on the situation on the ground
and USG activities aimed at meeting Mission's objectives in northern
Uganda. These objectives include promoting regional stability
through peace and security, good governance, access to social
services, economic growth, and humanitarian assistance. Post
appreciates feedback from consumers on the utility of this product
and any gaps in information that need to be filled. End Summary.

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PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESSES
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2. (SBU) Uganda's Minister for Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda
announced that the peace talks would resume in Juba on April 13. A
GOU team, which will include parliamentarians and local officials
from northern Uganda, plans to travel to Rikwangba to meet with
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti on
April 11-12, presumably in advance of the resumption of the talks.
Given previous logistical delays, we anticipate the GOU-Kony meeting
and the resumption date will slip. The composition of the GOU's
delegation for the upcoming round of talks has changed. Two
members, the Director of the Internal Security Organization and the
Chief of Military Intelligence have been withdrawn. Christine Aporu
from the Amnesty Commission and Major Felix Kulayigye, the Uganda
Peoples' Defense Forces Spokesman, will join the team. Discussion
on the Juba Initiative Fund continues, with donors deciding on the
amount of allowance to be paid, in addition to satellite telephone
air-time, for the LRA delegation.

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SECURITY UPDATE
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3. (U) Twelve High Court judges have been working to clear over 500
backlogged cases in Gulu, Lira, Kitgum, Pader, Soroti, and Kumi
Districts. Four judges are handling 170 cases in Gulu and one judge
will hear 15 cases in Lira. According to the Principal Judge, James
Ogoola, sixty percent of the cases are for defilement of minor girls
and forty percent are murder. During the sessions in Gulu, six
individuals, including an LRA collaborator, were sentenced to death
in murder cases, some for crimes committed as far back as 2001.

4. (SBU) The behavior of local defense units (LDUs) in Lira is a
growing concern. The LDUs are locally recruited militias that are
used to provide security throughout the north. They are under the
command of the UPDF, but are administratively (including for pay
purposes) the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The LDUs are reportedly responsible for numerous human rights abuses
and are vulnerable to misuse by local politicians. In Lira, one of
the militias held a district-level Mdecins Sans Frontiers staffer
while he was beaten, allegedly on the orders of a local leader.
Special Police Constables are being deployed, but receive little
support and have been seen setting up inappropriate roadblocks in
Amuru District. The incidents highlight the need for the deployment
of well-trained and supplied police to replace the military and LDUs
in northern Uganda.

5. (U) USG Activities: A U.S. Department of Justice team visited
Uganda from March 26-31 to discuss an upcoming community policing
program for northern Uganda. The team traveled to Lira District and
met with the Deputy Inspector General of Police, who is coordinating
the deployment of police in northern Uganda, and other police
officials. In Kampala, the team met with the Inspector General of
Police, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, the Justice, Law,
and Order Secretariat (JLOS), and donors. The DOJ team concluded
that the new pilot activity should aim at achieving an integrated
administration of justice that would involve community policing,
prosecution, community courts, and possibly corrections. USAID/DOJ
support would provide training and technical assistance for a
holistic, "chain-linking" approach to justice within the JLOS
framework and in conjunction with other Ugandan government and
development partner initiatives for recruitment of personnel and
provision of facilities, transport, and communications for the
police.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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6. (U) The Northern Uganda Advisor reported that in Lira District,
over 250,000 internally-displaced persons have returned voluntarily
to their home areas. It is estimated that 96,702 IDPs remain in 13

KAMPALA 00000589 002 OF 002


camps. The District Management Committee is de-gazetting camps.
Many of the camps were trading centers, which means that IDPs are
being encouraged to destroy their huts and fill latrines as they
depart. UNHCR notes that the process has been uneven, with some
NGOs providing incentives, such as soap, to those IDPs that properly
clean up their areas as they depart. Some land owners are beginning
to pressure the IDPs to move out of the camps and off their land.

7. (SBU) In Gulu District, UNHCR reports that approximately 4,400
IDPs returned directly to their homes. The majority of IDPs are
moving to land access sites. Over the past two months, the movement
out of the camps has slowed due to fears about the peace process,
rumors of LRA sightings in Sudan, and lack of services in the return
areas. Lack of consistent messages from local officials in Kitgum
remains a problem.

8. (SBU) There has been only limited IDP reaction to the cuts in
World Food Program (WFP) rations, and the cut in resettlement
distributions from three months to one month. The Northern Uganda
Advisor reports that the primary concern is to avoid an abrupt
cut-off in distributions.

9. (U) At the Joint Monitoring Commission (JMC) meeting on March
30, Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa
Ecweru announced that the Government would assess the performance of
non-governmental organizations in northern Uganda and suspend the
operational licenses of those that were not performing tasks related
to their stated objectives. Ecweru alleged that few of the
registered 600 NGOs would have their licenses renewed because "they
have moved away from their original work objectives, with no work
done on the ground." Ecweru complained that NGO employees were
staying at "expensive hotels at the expense of the suffering people"
and that they could be found "swimming and boozing, ignoring work;
yet at the end of the day, they claim money from the donors." He
stated that the Government would not accept the NGOs playing with
donor funds. World Vision, Save the Children, and the International
Committee of the Red Cross were praised for their activities.
Comment: The immediate target of the Government's assessment appears
to be NGOs that exist on paper and are not providing needed
services, not larger organizations with international affiliations.
Nonetheless, Mission personnel will keep in close contact with our
NGO partners as the assessment proceeds.

10. (U) USG Activities: The HELP Commission (Helping to Enhance the
Livelihood of People Around the Globe) Commission, a bipartisan
commission appointed by Congress and the President, chaired by Mary
K. Bush, visited Uganda from March 26 - 28. In Uganda, the team
members traveled from the eastern border with Kenya to Kampala and
then up to Lira in northern Uganda. The Commission visited USAID,
CDC, and CJTF-HOA project sites, discussed the MCC Threshold Country
Program with the Ministry of Finance, met Parliamentarians and
examined the impact of numerous Presidential initiatives in Uganda
implemented through local (including faith-based organizations), as
well as US implementing partners.

11. (U) WFP has 600 acres of improved cassava ready for
distribution through a USAID/OFDA-funded project.

12. (U) A USAID/EGAT team working with the National Water and
Sewage Corporation (NWSC) visited the Gulu municipal reservoir and
treatment plant, motorized boreholes, and hand pumps in IDP camps in
the north.

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FROM THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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13. (U) The work of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa
(CJTF-HOA) was highlighted in the major daily newspapers over the
past week. On April 3, the Daily Monitor featured a photograph of
CJTF-HOA personnel performing a water quality test at one of the
repaired boreholes in Pader District. CJTF-HOA plans to repair 50
more boreholes in northern Lira and southern Pader districts.
Resident District Commissioner for Pader, Santos Okot Lapolo, while
praising the work of the CJTF-HOA team, requested continued support,
and not to be left "in the middle of the road." The article also
noted that the team gave out clothes and shoes to patients at the
Awere Health Centre and that the team's mission was humanitarian in
nature.
BROWNING

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