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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (June 17-30, 2007)

VZCZCXRO0563
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1079/01 1830313
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020313Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8988
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0605
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0413
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3290
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001079

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 (June 17-30, 2007)


1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
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) The Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army
(LRA) negotiators worked on justice, accountability, and
reconciliation principles for the past weeks. Both sides presented
position papers which the mediation team harmonized. The LRA was
unhappy that all of its points were not included and requested that
the mediator change procedures to allow separate discussions of
twenty issues it recommended. The international observers and the
GOU delegation viewed this recommendation as a delaying tactic and
opposed the change. Two new lawyers--not known to be International
Criminal Court experts--from Tanzania joined the LRA delegation.

3. (SBU) On June 29, the parties signed an agreement on the
general principles for accountability and reconciliation. They have
agreed that a national legal solution combined with traditional
mechanisms of accountability and reconciliation would be developed.
Formal courts and tribunals would adjudicate gross human rights
violations. The agreement provided for truth-telling and
truth-seeking processes. The GOU agreed to take the LRA off its
terrorist list after a final peace deal is reached and disarmament,
demobilization, and rehabilitation occurs. The more contentious
issues not resolved included: the continued existence of the LRA
after disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and whether
reconciliation will only be between the Acholi and LRA or nationwide
between north and south. The talks were recessed for one month to
allow the GOU and LRA to consult with stakeholders in northern
Uganda before agreeing to a final position on justice and
accountability.

4. (SBU) USG Activities: P/E Chief met frequently with the parties,
international observers, and technical advisors to the Cessation of
Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) during two separate trips to Juba
from June 19-22 and June 26-28.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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5. (SBU) The distribution of bad seeds is a hot political issue,
but unlikely to impact food security negatively. Germination rates
of peanut and maize seed distributed to IDPs in the Acholi and Lango
regions during the April to May planting season were low, well below
the normal rate of 80 percent for these two crops. The Government
of Uganda (GOU) Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has been blamed
in the press for distributing poor quality seeds and tools but OPM
asserts the fault lies with local government in the north from
overlong storage. A political tit-for-tat has ensued between
northern leaders and the GOU/OPM.

6. (SBU) The political bickering masks the real problem, which is a
weak seed certification system exacerbated by increased demand for
seed in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. A disjoined and
fledgling resettlement package system also has contributed to
problems for returnees. Several NGOs have requested replacement
seeds and were redistributing. However, for the larger
distributions, it has been more difficult to trace the seeds back to
the distributor. Despite the noise over failed seed, FAO expects
the overall impact on food security to be low. Initial results of
post-distribution surveys by FAO show humanitarian distribution of
seed make up only 30 to 40 percent of the seeds planted. Peanuts
and maize were only a small portion of this 30-40 percent.

7. (SBU) Germination tests by FAO for the July to August planting
season show normal results (80 percent or greater) for all crops
except peanuts. Seed fairs, which use a voucher system to enable
IDPs to purchase seed of their choice from local sellers, were not
adversely affected. Peanuts were the most popular crop at seed
fairs, and post harvest surveys show good results. USAID/OFDA
provided $3.2 million to support seed distributions and fairs in FY
2007.


KAMPALA 00001079 002 OF 002


8. (SBU) USG Activities: USAID officially opened its new office in
Gulu to much fanfare on Thursday, June 21st. More than 450 guests
were in attendance and had the opportunity to visit 15 open houses
of partner organizations in Gulu and view 33 displays by the USG and
its partners. In addition to Ambassador Browning, numerous
government ministers attended, including the Minister of Health,
Minister of State for Environment, Minister of State for Relief and
Disaster Preparedness, Minister of State for Defense, Minister of
State for Primary Education and the Minister of Ethics and
Integrity. The ministers toured sites with the Ambassador and USAID
Mission Director. GOU officials recognized the contributions and
support of the U.S. Government for the people of northern Uganda.
This sentiment was echoed by local government officials, traditional
and religious leaders, and members of Parliament.

9. (SBU) USAID announced the award of a $5.8 million program to
strengthen democratic linkages within and among the Ugandan
Parliament and selected local governments, including four northern
districts, and civil society groups. The goal of the program is to
build the capacity of these institutions to more effectively
identify and carry out their representational functions in the newly
reinstated multi-party system; to increase democratic participation
in political processes; to improve institutional transparency and
accountability; and ultimately to increase and improve essential
service delivery to constituents. The program is a 42-month program
and the award was made to the Center for International Development
at The State University of New York (SUNY).

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SECURITY UPDATE
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10. (SBU) UN security officials report an upsurge in urban crime
rates over the past two weeks in Gulu and Kitgum towns. Two NGOs
were robbed by armed assailants in Patongo, Pader District in the
past two weeks.

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IN THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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11. (U) The opening of the USAID office in Gulu received widespread
coverage from the Ugandan media. Both national daily newspapers
covered the story, as did regional and national broadcast media.

12. (U) The Ugandan media also provided coverage of allegations made
by Gulu District Chairperson Norbert Mao that substandard seeds and
farm implements had been distributed to people resettling out of IDP
camps. The Honorable Tarsis Kabwegyere, Minister for Relief and
Disaster Preparedness, accused an unknown group of distributing the
substandard implements.
BROWNING

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