Distinguished African Scholar Betty Bigombe in the Washington Post
A Conversation about the Ugandan Civil War
In a new Washington Post multimedia report, former Ugandan government minister Betty Bigombe discusses her involvement in negotiating peace in northern Uganda to end the civil war with the Lord's Resistance Army. The interview touches on the status of current negotiations, the role of LRA leader Joseph Kony, and the potential resolution of this decades-old conflict.
In 2004 Bigombe organized the first ever face-to-face meeting between Ugandan government officials, the LRA, and traditional leaders, women, and youth, an experience she related before Congress earlier this year. In her Congressional testimony, Bigombe emphasized the importance of including women in peacemaking and negotiation processes.
As an example, she cited an initiative she developed to persuade rebel combatants to defect from the LRA and return to their families in internally displaced people's camps in northern Uganda. Family members and loved ones, who were living in the camps, delivered letters to the rebels assuring them physical security and economic assistance. Within two months, some 5,000 fighters had come home.
"It was an incredibly simple yet effective plan," Bigombe said. "And one which reduced the size and capacity of the LRA without any military showdowns or bloodshed."
For more information on Betty Bigombe's peacemaking role in northern Uganda, watch the documentary Lord's Children, which aired on PBS on July 29.