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LRA negotiator responds to criticism

Article published on the 2008-06-27 Latest update 2008-06-27 18:26 TU

Joseph Kony (right)(Photo: Gabriel Kahn/RFI)

Joseph Kony (right)
(Photo: Gabriel Kahn/RFI)

Seven of 13 negotiators of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda quit their duties on Thursday, protesting the reappointment of David Mazanga as the head of the negotiation team. Mazanga had been sacked by LRA leader Joseph Kony in April. Kony announced his reappointment on Monday. The negotiators who resigned accuse Mazanga of manipulating Kony into not signing a final peace deal with Kampala in April.

"We have decided to leave the negotiating team because things are moving in a way that we did not expect,” said Caleb Alaka, the group's legal advisor. “The problem is that Kony refused to come out and sign the peace agreement."

Kony said he refused to sign because of outstanding arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court.

Mazanga reacted angrily to criticism that he manipulates Kony.

“I have never manipulated General Joseph Kony,” he told RFI. “I have never told him to do anything that is not the peace process.”

David Mazanga, LRA negotiator

"Do I look like I am a god who can block access to somebody? I am a human being. General Joseph Kony chooses whom to speak to, how to speak to, when to speak to”

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27/06/2008 by Angela Diffley

Mazanga said his former colleagues were really working for the Ugandan government.

“Those who have actually decided to go against the appointment are people who had rebelled against Gen Joseph Kony by going behind his back… and implement an agreement in Uganda without the signature of General Joseph Kony.”

He said that he was reappointed because “he knows that I am capable to deliver a peace with all Ugandans included, not a few of them who are looking for money.”

Many analysts who follow the peace negotiations note that it is often unclear who really speaks on Kony’s behalf.

Earlier this week, Kony urged the revival of the talks in Juba in Sudan, where the two sides failed to sign the peace deal in April.