The United Nations Intervention Brigade is helpful in the short term but is not paramount for durable peace in the Great Lakes region. To have durable peace, a global dialogue is warranted. General Paul Kagame needs to have direct talkswith the Rwandan armed rebel movementsop erating from the Congolese provinces of Kivus the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni needs to hold similar talks with the rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda [ADF-NALU] opposed to his government, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila needs to jump start the peace talks with M23 Congolese rebels.
It is with these unusual terms that the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has defined the roadmap for peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He did not do it behind closed doors during a one-to-one meeting with each of the three presidents. He did it in front of more than 11 African presidents and heads of state and while celebrating the most important day for the African Continent: at the occasion of the 50thanniversary of the Organisation of African Unity celebrated this weekend in Addis Abeba over the week-end.
Jaya Kikwete advised the three African Presidents who are among the 11 signatories of the February 24, 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Region (see here) during a private meeting among the parties in the margin of the celebration of the 50th anniversary.
The content of the recommendation by the Tanzanian President Jaya Kikwete to the Rwandan, Ugandan, and DRC leaders is not surprising. After all, AfroAmerica Network and its contributors have underlined the same approach in several of our published articles, especially in our article of March 7, 201 3 titled UN Special Envoy in Great Lakes: Will Rwandan President Kagame Seize the Opportunity. The surprise is that these words come from the mouth one of the most influential leaders of the African continent. In fact, along with Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and South African President Jacob Zuma, Jaya Kikwete is perhaps the most important president of modern day Black Africa. The three presidents have become the wise people the international community consults before any major action regarding Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. It may not be an accident that the June 26 to July 3, 2013 first trip of the US President Barack Obama since his started his second term will include a stay in both South Africa and Tanzania with a short stop in Senegal (see here).
Hence, if Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni and Joseph Kabila are wise, they better listen to Jaya Kikwete. Let us recall our question from our March 7, 2012 article UN Special Envoy in Great Lakes: Will Rwandan President Kagame Seize the Opportunity: “Is the Rwandan President Paul Kagame going to take this opportunity to resolve once for all the thorny problem of the Rwandan rebels by talking to his armed opposition, like other leaders in the region have done or are doing?” With the recommendation from Tanzanian President Jaya Kikwete the question becomes as urgent as ever, not only for Paul Kagame of Rwanda, but also for Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
But is it going to happen? The immediate answers from or reaction of the three presidents to Jaya Kikwete’s recommendation does not augur an easy road ahead. The stoned silence of Paul Kagame, the elusive answer from Yoweri Museveni that “he only discusses only with those willing and isolates the others”, meaning that he choses who to discuss with and the submissive attitude of Joseph Kabila have shown what the international Community will have to deal with. But, regardless of what happens, the jar has been opened,the genie is out, and there may not be a way back.
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