Cablegate: Uganda: The International Component of President Museveni's

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1. (SBU) Summary: A look inside Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni's in-box reveals a range of international and regional
issues, many where the U.S. also has interests. Museveni's
immediate "to-do" list includes repairing relations with the
Democratic Republic of Congo, to gain its cooperation to resolve the
21-year-old conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army currently
camped out in Garamba National Park, Congo; countering the
activities of the Khartoum Government through support for the
Government of Southern Sudan and the faltering Comprehensive Peace
Agreement; and establishing security and a political transition in
Somalia. His longer-term in-box includes strengthening the
leadership of like-minded African countries, East African economic
integration, and combating climate change through poverty
alleviation. Museveni's domestic priorities include readying the
playing field for a fourth presidential term and preparing to host
the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting. Museveni never hesitates
to find platforms to explain his deeply-held positions and actions
on his priority items. End Summary.

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2. (SBU) Museveni believes the resolution of the 21-year-old
conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) depends on assistance
from Khartoum and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over a
year into the peace process, Museveni's patience is wearing thin.
He welcomed U.S. statements that the Juba Peace Process could not go
on endlessly. He believes that the LRA needs to be under pressure
with a deadline and physically encircled for its leaders Joseph Kony
and Vincent Otti to consider seriously Uganda's offer of a
soft-landing. To this end, Uganda has been reaching out
continuously to Congolese President Joseph Kabila. His efforts
finally paid off at the Uganda-Congo summit in Arusha in September
when Kabila promised to take action against the LRA in January 2008
if there were no progress at the negotiating table. Museveni
welcomed the pledge, but is skeptical that Kabila can or will follow
through. Museveni views the U.S. as having leverage over Kabila and
wants us to help hold Kabila to his promise.

3. (SBU) If Congolese forces cannot take on the LRA militarily,
Museveni wants, at a minimum, for the LRA to fulfill its commitment
to assemble at Rikwangba. This would require the DRC Government to
tell the LRA it is no longer welcome at Garamba and that the LRA
should move its forces to Rikwangba assembly area. Museveni
believes that this will help build confidence among the
internally-displaced persons in Uganda that the LRA wants peace, but
also would put the group closer to Uganda, where its activities can
be monitored and individual members would be able to break away.
This would also put pressure on the LRA leadership to make peace.
Museveni is anxious to settle ongoing border problems in the Lake
Albert region and use joint oil exploration as a means to further
economic cooperation with DRC and decrease tensions. (Note: Embassy
believes the LRA is highly unlikely to assemble at Rikwangba, absent
a peace deal, even if the DRC were to tell the LRA to move. End

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4. (SBU) Museveni has told A/S Frazer and other visiting
delegations that "behind everything is Sudan, Sudan, Sudan, Sudan."
Museveni knows that he needs the cooperation of both the Khartoum
and Southern Sudanese Governments to resolve the LRA problem. He
also views the Khartoum Government as spreading what he calls "Arab
fundamentalism" in the region (within Sudan, northern Uganda, and
Somalia). Because Khartoum provided significant support in the past
to the LRA, Museveni remains deeply suspicious that Sudan is keeping
the LRA "in reserve" to be used to disrupt progress on the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Museveni is focused on the
upcoming census and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM)
elections in southern Sudan (2009), the referendum (2011), and
Uganda's next elections (2011).

5. (SBU) Museveni wants pressure on Khartoum to close off the
LRA's options, and wants President Omar al-Bashir to take a public
stand that Khartoum will not tolerate further delays in the
negotiation and send private messages that the LRA can no longer
count on support from Sudan. From the Government of Southern Sudan,
which is mediating the Juba Peace Talks, Museveni wants a full-time
commitment from Vice President Riek Machar and an accelerated
timetable to conclude the negotiations by the end of January 2008.

6. (SBU) An inextricably linked problem for Museveni is what he
views as poor prospects for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),

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reached in January 2005. Museveni continues Uganda's support for
the SPLM and is highly concerned that the CPA implementation is
behind schedule, because its failure has serious repercussions for
Uganda's security. Museveni is particularly concerned that the
Southern Sudanese themselves will oppose moving forward with the
referendum if other aspects of the CPA remain unimplemented, and if
they perceive it to be rigged by Khartoum. Uganda fears a return to
war in southern Sudan, which would once again bring Kampala in, to
the detriment of Museveni's other agenda items, such as regional
integration and industrializing Uganda.

7. (SBU) Darfur also worries Museveni because he believes that the
continuing civil war there will undermine the CPA as well as spread
Arab fundamentalism to Chad and Central African Republic. Museveni
visited Chad earlier his year and hosted CAR President Bozizie in
late August. Museveni is pushing other African countries to commit
enough troops to Darfur to stabilize the security situation. Uganda
has over 100 police officers in Darfur, but military officials say
that Uganda is stretched thin with its commitment to Somalia,
LRA-Affected northern Uganda, and Karamoja.

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8. (SBU) Museveni remains concerned that only Uganda has troops in
the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) almost a year after he
began moving ahead with the Ugandan deployment to AMISOM. He
considers Ethiopia's withdrawal necessary for Somalia's political
transition to move forward. Uganda is frustrated that Nigeria and
Ghana are dragging their feet on committing troops. Museveni and
Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa believe the issue is money and argue
that if Ghana and Nigeria were promised U.N. rates for their
peacekeepers, both countries would commit troops.

9. (SBU) Museveni's plan for Somalia is re-establishing security,
rebuilding the national institutions, and establishing a timetable
for a political transition. He has dispatched a special envoy to
work with TFG President Yusuf on holding discussions with those
parties left out of reconciliation efforts. Uganda appreciates U.S.
support for the deployment of its troops to Somalia and prefers U.S.
engagement remain behind-the-scenes. Nonetheless, U.S. statements
encouraging dialogue among the Somalis could help focus the parties
on the country's future political transition.

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10. (SBU) President Museveni all but acknowledged to Senator
Russell Feingold on August 28 that he (Museveni) would be seeking
another presidential term. Museveni told Senator Feingold that the
democratic process in Uganda was ongoing and not bound by electoral
schedules. For Museveni, change of an individual at the top does
not equal democracy. In his view, the development of Ugandan
democracy is moving in the right direction and there is no need to
change that by changing leadership. Museveni's Political Advisor
Moses Byaruhanga told P/E Chief on October 6 that, in 2005, the
U.S., through its Embassy officials and the National Security
Council, told Museveni it would not oppose his bid for a third term
if done legally. Museveni expects the same U.S. position regarding
his fourth term. Museveni is content "to agree to disagree" with
the U.S. on the issue of term limits.

11. (SBU) Byaruhanga said that Museveni was examining ways to
"tighten up" the electoral process and would begin by addressing
some of the inadequacies of the electoral commission. Several
members of Museveni's ruling party and the leader of the opposition
tell us that the President has begun to "soften the ground" for a
series of constitutional amendments aimed at the 2011 elections.
The most important would be removing the requirement of receiving
over 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off election. The
rationale is that the number of votes Museveni received declined in
successive elections and the President would find a run-off
politically embarrassing. Ruling party Secretary General Amama
Mbabazi announced that party members would not be allowed to run as
independents in the future, a move designed to rein in perceived
party renegades in advance of the elections.

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12. (SBU) Uganda is not ready for CHOGM, set for November 23-25.
As a result, almost all Government activity is centered on CHOGM
preparations, including roadwork, beautification, and hotel

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construction. Intense wrangling for CHOGM contracts resulted in
substantial delays and cost overruns in projects and the Government
is furiously working to complete them on time. For Museveni, the
hosting of 53 fellow heads of state will provide an opportunity to
showcase Uganda's progress under the National Resistance Movement
government and his progressive ideas about regional integration,
climate change, poverty alleviation, fighting HIV/AIDS, and
industrialization of developing countries.

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13. (SBU) African leadership issues also preoccupy Museveni. He
looks around at his fellow African heads of state and sees no
equals, no one of his intellect, vision, drive, and few of his
longevity. He is disappointed that former Nigerian President
Obasanjo's third term effort was thwarted, because his successor,
Shehu Yar'Adua, is not strong enough to demonstrate leadership on
African issues. Ghanaian President John Kuffor, whose instincts on
African issues were similar to Museveni's, has been "a
disappointment" for Uganda. Museveni told A/S Frazer that Ghana
lost its nerve once it took on the African Union Presidency. The
uncertainty over the African National Congress elections in South
Africa could leave Museveni without powerful African allies to
confront Sudan and Libya on the continent. Within East Africa,
Museveni remains at the forefront of the charge for economic
integration, which he believes would remove key barriers to Ugandan
development. Museveni also has picked up on the theme of climate
change and believes that developed countries need to curb their
emissions while helping developing countries with renewable energy
sources and poverty alleviation.

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14. (SBU) International and regional issues are high on President
Museveni's agenda Museveni also believes that his own domestic
experience in building democracy can be replicated in other
countries, such as Somalia, and that the U.S. can play a supportive
role on his key agenda items: Congo, Sudan, and Somalia.

© Scoop Media

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