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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (September 22 - October 5, 2007)

VZCZCXRO0611
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1594/01 2891250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161250Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9495
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0660
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0454
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3377
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001594

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 (SEPTEMBER 22 - OCTOBER 5, 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. (U) The Government of Uganda completed its consultations on
accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in Kampala from
September 26-27. The well-attended meetings involved legal experts,
police, academics, media, the Amnesty Commission, Uganda Human
Rights Commission, and parliamentarians. One member of the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) participated. Four of the five African
observers to the Juba Peace Talks also attended. Participants were
divided into working groups on technical issues to discuss the
enactment of legislation, timelines, capacity, compensation issues,
management of expectations, how to ensure victim protection and
participation, and the independence of investigations.

3. (SBU) The Government plans to release the findings of its
consultations on October 8. Minister of Internal Affairs and chief
Government negotiator, Ruhakana Rugunda summarized the consultations
to date: Ugandans wanted peace first and foremost; Ugandans were
ready to forgive, but need some accountability; Ugandans have a
preference for traditional mechanisms of justice; and Ugandans see
merit in formal justice for the worst crimes. Rugunda stated that
Ugandans emphasized the importance of a Ugandan process that leads
to closure and do not want a repeat of the Charles Taylor scenario.

4. (U) Although, positive steps have been made in the reconciliation
process IDPs are skeptical about its success. Moreover, they
contend that they have received poor education about the peace
process and questioned the commitment of the parties involved.
These findings were published on September 23 in an Oxfam sponsored
report, "The Building Blocks of Sustainable Peace: The Views of
Internally Displaced People in Northern Uganda." The survey was
composed of 600 respondents and 91 focus group discussants from 11
IDP camps in the Acholi region. .

5. (SBU) Minister Ruganda announced that the areas in the north
affected by the LRA will reach the same level of development as the
rest of Uganda in three years. He stated that the government is
placing its northern Uganda recovery program on the fast track.
Ruganda also, stated that the government will be allocating USD $3.8
million for the rehabilitation of West Nile communities affected by
the LRA.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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6. (SBU) The districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Moroto, and Nakapiripirit
have been blacklisted by the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund
(NUSAF) which aims to end poverty. Sam Sakwa, NUSAF director of
programs stated that the districts failed to accurately account for
the funds received. However, Sakwa noted that the rate of
completion for NUSAF funded projects is almost 80 percent and that
funds have been properly managed.

7. (SBU) On October 3, the New Vision newspaper reported that
several members of Parliament (MPs) want the Northern Uganda Social
Action Fund (NUSAF) to be investigated by the Inspector General of
Government. Their request is based on a recent report by the
committee on foreign affairs which alleged that the funds have been
misappropriated and used to fund ghost projects. For example, when
the committee visited Kotido they found a ghost borehole
called,"Um-um borehole drilling subproject." Although, the
committee questions the steadfastness of NUSAF I they have suggested
that NUSAF II be initiated in March 2008 upon the expiration of
NUSAF I.

8. (U) On September 24th the Ministry of Health opened the Ogur
Youth Information and Care Centre in Lira. The center received USD
117,000 to promote awareness about HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted
diseases, and early pregnancy.

9. (U) President Yoweri Museveni will visit the flood ravaged region

KAMPALA 00001594 002 OF 002


of Teso on October 6 as part of a tour of northern Uganda. Museveni
stated that the government of Uganda had earmarked USD 1.1 million
for relief and rebuilding in the affected areas.

10. (SBU) USG Activities: In response to the floods in eastern
Uganda, OFDA transferred USD 500,000 of International Disaster and
Famine Assistance (IDFA) funds to the Mission. The funds were
obligated as follows: USD 400,000 to the FAO for seeds, planting
materials and tools and USD 100,000 to the Uganda Red Cross for
plastic sheeting and water purification materials.

11. (U) USG Activities: CJTF-HOA has implemented several building
projects in northern Uganda which include a library in Kitgum, a
referral hospital pediatric ward, and several UG wells.

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IN THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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12. (U) PAS Kampala debriefed Sam Gummah, Director of the Uganda
Radio Network (UNR), who recently returned from several weeks
conducting radio training in northern Uganda. The project was
funded through a U.S. allocation to UNESCO. UNR conducted training
programs for radio journalists and managers in Koboko (west Nile),
Gulu, Kitgum and Moroto (Karamoja region) Districts. Radio is the
major means of mass communication in northern Uganda. In Koboko,
near the DRC and Sudan borders, URN staff trained radio station
employees in news gathering and reporting skills, resulting in the
first local news programming at the station. The reporters were
charged with giving a voice to the community, who promptly began
exposing (albeit minor) corruption amongst local officials. In
Gulu, URN worked with "Radio King," a new station, to set up
interview shows and do public interests programming. The work was
effective-within days, the Resident District Coordinator, Walter
Ochora, was calling for the station's closure while a competitor
station had started a similar format. In Karamoja, where travel
required a military escort, URN found conditions the most
challenging, but still managed to get journalist-trainees into the
field.

13. (U) UNR provided training-usually their first-ever training-to
eighty-two station employees. The program resulted in station
managers developing a greater appreciation for broadcasting local
news, and making the station employees more conscious of their
community.

14. (U) The East African newspaper reported on comments by LRA
spokesman Godfrey Ayoo, who blamed delays in the peace talks on the
Government of Uganda. Responding to recent comments by A/S Frazer,
Ayoo said "It is unfortunate that the US is rallying regional
governments to fight the LRA, when we are not involved in the
ceasefire violations. We know the US has always branded us as
terrorists. This attitude should change, with the US looking for a
better way to assist in the talks." He added that should the US
attack the LRA, it should be prepared to face the same humiliation
experienced in 1992 in Somalia. "This would mean all our forces
outside Uganda will go back to the country and repel the attackers.
It will be the mother of all wars. We'll move our forces to Kampala
and dislodge Museveni's dictatorship."

15. (U) Reflecting continued interest in the human dimensions of
conflict and peace in the north, a team from "Glamour" magazine was
in Gulu earlier in the week. The magazine is honoring a group of
former child soldiers in Uganda, who have started "Empowering
Hands," a peer support group that helps children get re-acclimated
once they return to their villages. "Empowering Hands" is supported
by UNICEF. The five women who started this group will be honored as
"Women of the Year" at an event on November 5, 2007, at Lincoln
Center in NYC.
CHRITTON

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