Joseph Kony Photo courtesy
Although the atrocities and barbarities that the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) and government forces committed cannot be condoned, something needs to be done differently and urgently. The war between LRA and the government has not only taken long, but it has also caused a lot of mayhem in northern Uganda.
When we look at the history of crises in Africa, there have been other atrocities with even higher magnitude than the one going on in Uganda. But again, the combatants found that the power of arms is not as sustainable as the power of dialogue.
Let us face it; conflicants in Uganda are stranded between Scylla and Charybdis. They need to be helped out. If the protagonists had a gist of love for their country and people, they surely would embark on dialogue. Mahatma Gandhi once said that the force of love and pity is infinitely greater than the force of arms.
Somewhat, there is power play in this conflict whereby the government is using the conflict to cling to power. For Museveni, the Northern Uganda conflict is but an extravaganza bonanza. Those who know how bellicose rulers use wars, pretexts and threats as it is in this case, have an inkling of what the upshot is. The solution for the conflict in northern Uganda won’t come by the way of the barrel of the gun or political machinations, but through peaceful initiatives.
I understand. Joseph Kony is a wanted person after being indicted by the International Criminal Court. But again, why does the ICC seem to listen to Museveni’s rendition instead of listening to both parties? Does it mean that Museveni did not commit atrocities in Northen Uganda prior to and after coming to power? Who wants to bring this to the international séances dealing with the conflict in northen Uganda?
Uganda needs to form a true Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) if it really wants to forge ahead. Peace reached by force is as good as violence because it will create a breeding group for violence and revenge.
So we need to stalwartly demand that the parties to conflict in Uganda come to the round table and solve their problems instead of hanging on destructive means that have always destroyed the lives of innocent and poor people in the region. We need to chop the hydra heads of atrocities in the region by facing the truth instead of subscribing to political machinations. In sum, the protagonists must be reminded to consider the problems their standpoints are causing to the economy and security of the region instead of their grip on power.
By Nkwazi Mhango
The author is a Canada based Tanzanian and author of Saa Ya Ukombozi.