Cablegate: Northern Uganda: Kony Dances Away Again From Peace

DE RUEHKM #0521/01 1051350
R 141350Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

KAMPALA 00000521 001.2 OF 003

1. (SBU) Summary: For the Government of Uganda, Kony's
rejection of peace was disappointing, but not unexpected.
President Museveni will meet with his Southern Sudanese
counterpart Salva Kiir on April 14 to determine the way
forward. International criticism of Kony's movements,
kidnappings, and forced military training of abductees from
Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), was muted during the negotiations. Kony's
rejection of the peace process could deepen disaffection
within the LRA, create splits, and increase his reliance on
external allies. The international community should begin
exploring other ways to increase corral Kony. End Summary.

- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) Kony did not sign the peace agreement nor did he
meet with northern elders, traditional, and religious leaders
at Rikwangba between April 10 and 13. On April 9, LRA
fighters reported to us that Kony told them he would not sign
the peace agreement because he reportedly feared becoming
another Charles Taylor, Foday Sankoh, or Jonas Savimbi. Kony
also sacked his negotiating team, including its leader David
Matsanga, on April 9. Matsanga announced that he resigned on
April 10. After his departure, Matsanga admitted to
journalists and diplomats that he had had not met Kony in the
past as he had claimed. Matsanga said he had little contact
with Kony even via telephone and had last spoken to him in
March. Government of Southern Sudan mediator Riek Machar
waited for Kony at Rikwangba until April 13. He claimed that
Kony was coming back toward Rikwangba to meet him. U.N.
Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano
traveled to Rikwangba on April 13. The GOU's chief
negotiators, Ruhakana Rugunda and Henry Okello Oryem, told
P/E Chief on April 12 and 13 that they supported any last
ditch efforts by Chissano and Machar to establish direct
contact with Kony, but were not hopeful as they believed Kony
was moving westward.

3. (SBU) For the GOU, the formal negotiating phase of the
peace process has likely ended. The Ugandan Government
negotiating team returned from southern Sudan on April 11 and
announced that it would not renew the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement (CHA). Upon return, the team met with
various government elements on April 12 to debate next steps.
President Museveni maintained his travel plans to go to Juba
on April 14. Instead of signing the peace deal, Museveni
will hold a regular bilateral meeting with Government of
Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir. Oryem told P/E Chief
that Museveni and Kiir would discuss the future of the peace

- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -

4. (U) Kony's refusal to sign the agreement takes the
process of resolving the LRA conflict into a new phase.

- - - -
- - - -

5. (SBU) The apparent demise of the negotiations means that
the GOU's hands are no longer tied and it can openly pursue
other options to resolve the conflict. Formally, the end of
the negotiation should be called by the GOSS, and Museveni
may be discussing this with Kiir on April 14. Government
patience throughout the peace process yielded significant
domestic benefits, including a changed dynamic in northern
Uganda. The peace process unified Ugandans, highlighted the
extent of northern marginalization to the Government, and
demonstrated the need for national reconciliation, according
to Oryem.

6. (SBU) Plans for a military option (Plan B) need revision
given that the LRA leader has re-located and spread his
forces between DRC and CAR. The GOU's chief negotiator,
Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda, has said that
it might not be worth the GOU's effort to go after Kony
militarily if he continued to move in CAR and toward Chad.
Rugunda stated that it "was always Khartoum's plan to use
Kony's rebels as a mercenary force" and that the GOU would
act to prevent any destabilization of southern Sudan. If
Kony proceeded to Darfur, it might not be worth Ugandan
resources to chase him. If he was in DRC, he could be
accessed. UN Special Envoy Chissano also has misgivings
about a unilateral Ugandan military operation to capture

KAMPALA 00000521 002.2 OF 003

Kony. According to Chissano, not all the governments in the
region accept a military option because a failed operation
could unleash unintended consequences. The region had
experienced two years without war and the prospect that the
LRA conflict could be re-ignited was worrisome. If Museveni
went after Kony without knowing where he was and the
operation failed, Uganda would be held responsible for
startign a cycle of retaliatory violence. The LRA's
confidence would be boosted and civilians in the region would
be terrified. Chissano argued that a coordinated
international action sanctioned by the UNSC would ameliorate
the negative conseqences of a failed Ugandan operation. He
believes an international force executing the ICC warrants
would have credibility and more of a chance for success.

7. (SBU) The GOU will encourage defections from the LRA and
formed a task force to devise plans to assist LRA wishing to
leave LRA encampments. Exposure of LRA movements,
abductions, and crimes and increased GOU diplomatic contacts
with DRC and CAR to deny safe haven for Kony could increase
pressure on the LRA. Domestically, the GOU will continue
encouraging internally-displaced persons (IDPs) to return
home and may commit additional resources, to accelerate the
Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP). A recently
signed USD 750,000 agreement between USAID and the
International Office for Migration (IOM) will provide
Uganda,s Amnesty Commission the resources necessary to
provide re-insertion packages for returnees and facilitate
their return to their home communities.

- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -

8. (SBU) Kony's refusal to sign the agreement dashed the
hopes of many IDPs, but may solify public opinion in the
LRA-affected areas of the north that the LRA was not serious
about negotiations. At the beginning of the peace process in
July 2006, the Government was viewed negatively in the north
and often cited as causing and perpetuating the war. The
composition of the diaspora-based LRA delegation, its extreme
demands, and its foot-dragging for more allowances alienated
northern Ugandan leaders. The LRA negotiators' antics and
Kony's aloofness from the process damaged the credibility of
the LRA in the eyes of the northerners. The primary
beneficiary of the change in public mood was the Government,
which was praised in the media for having demonstrated that
it was committed to peace even if the LRA was not. Gulu
District officials and parliamentarians said that in the
aftermath of the failed process, it would be critical for the
Government to encourage northerners to return home and to
protect them from the LRA.

- - - - - -
- - - - - -

9. (SBU) Kony's rejection of the peace process, his
execution of Vincent Otti in October 2007, and recent
abductions most likely will fuel additional internal turmoil
in the LRA. Kony's failure to sign means that there is no
way out of the bush for disaffected LRA members except
through defection. The peace process had been viewed as an
honorable way out for many, according to former LRA
negotiator Martin Ojul. Kony's movements indicate that he
understands the real possibility of military attack now that
he has repudiated peace.

10. (SBU) LRA abductions in CAR and DRC and movement to CAR
are indications that Kony was using the peace process to buy
time and shield his activities. According to two recent
escapees, at least 300 newly abducted children are being
forced into military training. Oryem described as
"heartbreaking" the plight of the child soldiers who had been
sent to protect the newly donated food for the LRA at
Rikwangba. Oryem said the children had expected to go home
with the GOU team and began crying when they were left
behind. Kony had told them they were International Criminal
Court (ICC) indictees. Col. Walter Ochora said the child
soldiers had cried when the previous delegations left
Rikwangba. Kony's isolation could make him more dependent on
external patrons in Khartoum and within the diaspora.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

11. (SBU) Many in the donor and non-governmental community
took Kony seriously as a negotiating party, and some will be

KAMPALA 00000521 003.2 OF 003

reluctant to see the Juba process end. However, donor
monetary support for the peace process will almost certainly
end. There could be increased scrutiny of the donor fund for
the peace process as former delegation leaders Matsanga and
Ojul explain their role and how donor funds were used.

12. (SBU) A number of local diplomatic missions agree with
us that now is the time to accelerate aid to the North, but
as basket-funders, their disbursements are tied to the PRDP
and the GOU's speed. Well-publicized U.S. expenditures could
help shame the EU and others into faster action.

13. (SBU) The international community may become more vocal
about the LRA's continued holding of women and children and
violations of human rights. Many governments may come under
pressure from non-governmental and human rights groups to
take a tougher public stand against the LRA. There could be
calls, particularly from the Ugandan Government, to rein in
negative diaspora elements. Chissano suggested that in the
event Kony failed to sign the agreement, some members of the
international community might be called upon to lend
assistance in apprehending Kony and the other commanders
indicted by the ICC. Additional warrants against the LRA for
its recent abductions and enslavement of children in CAR and
DRC could be another form of pressure on the LRA.

- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -

14. (SBU) Our role in the Juba Peace Process helped focus
and accelerate the negotiating phase of the peace process to
a final conclusion. The process had dragged on without a
demonstrable commitment by Kony for 20 months. We should
continue to take our lead from the Ugandan Government in our
public stance, and be ready to condemn ongoing LRA atrocities
on the ground in DRC and CAR. We should be prepared to share
information as needed, if requested, to assist the Ugandans
and others in operations against the LRA. Finally, our
continued diplomatic, development, and defense assistance is
vital to the recovery, reconciliation, and recovery in
northern Uganda.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>