Former chief mediator between the rebel Lords Resistance Army and the Uganda government, Betty Bigombe has said the leader of the rebel group, Joseph Kony will not surrender. This is despite an impending comprehensive peace deal that could be finalized this week in which the rebels would agree to give up arms.
Betty Oyella Bigombe twice mediated the between the LRA and government in 1994 and 2005
“Kony told me himself that there are three options for him. Death, prison, and maybe exile” Bigombe told activists gathered in Washington DC for the Northern Uganda Lobby Day. They hope to urge US lawmakers to support the implementation of any agreement between the Ugandan government and the rebels.
Bigombe who has the longest personal history of trying to broker a negotiated settlement between the two parties also said she had heard that the mystical leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, had planned to move closer to the Central African Republic “ to start another tribe” altogether. “He many times believes he receives messages from God” she said. Turning to the peace process, Bigombe added, that an agreement was important to the extent that it created a framework for addressing the underlying problems which caused the rebellion even if Kony and his soldiers remained practically outside it.
She said personal and institutional reconciliation between victims and perpetrators, northern and southern tribes would be necessary to cure the decade’s long suspicion that characterizes violent political competition between groups in Uganda. Bigombe, now a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington also warned that future rebellions could not be ruled out if genuine national reconciliation was not achieved.
” We need to go back to the causes of violence starting in 1966 to Obote and Amin” she said.