“The Government is ready to talk to anybody who has grievances, including the ADF[Allied Democratic Forces]. If there is any genuine political group that wants dialogue, we are ready to do so, because war is not an option,” Ugandan Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr. Hilary Onek told the media in Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday July 16, 2013. On Friday, July 19, 2013, Minister of Defence, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, confirmed Mr Onek’s comments and went further that the Ugandan Government has already agreed to the principle of negotiating with the Ugandan ADF rebels. ADF rebels have recently become a significant force with close to 2,000 troops operating Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The willingness by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to negotiate with ADF falls in line with the proposition by the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on May 26, 2013 (See our article: Talk to Your Armed Opposition, Tanzanian President Kikwete Tells Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Joseph Kabila of DRC of May 26 2013).
Since the proposition by President Jakaya Kikwete, President Yoweri Museveni welcomed the idea of negotiations. He did it right away. DRC President Joseph Kabila has resumed negotiations with and …. engaged into war against his armed M23 rebels. Rwandan Paul Kagame has belittled and threatened to assassinate Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (see our article: I will Just Wait For You At the Right Place And I will Hit You, Rwandan General Paul Kagame Threatens Tanzanian Jakaya Kikwete).
Following his proposal, President Jakaya Kikwete has not remained his hands crossed. It appears he has been on the same page with Yoweri Museveni since the start. He has welcomed to his country the most powerful man in the World, US President Barack Obama (see here: President Obama: armed groups[in Africa] need to lay down their arms, and human rights abusers need to be held accountable of July 2, 2013), he has sent his troops to fight for Joseph Kabila, and he has promised to wallop General Kagame like a small boy (see here: You Will Be Whipped Like a Small Boy, Tanzania Government Warns Rwandan Dictator General Kagame of July 13, 2013).
Since May 2013, Jakaya Kikwete has become the most important leader in the Great Lakes Region and the peace broker to reckon with. To see how important the man has become, one may refer to our various articles related his political and diplomatic actions since May 2013, here .
The situation is now that: Jakaya Kikwete is leading the pace and has the tailwind; Yoweri Museveni has listened; Joseph Kabila is following; and Paul Kagame is being driven nuts.
How about the rebels themselves, those the governments are supposed to negotiate with.
ADF rebels, aka ADF/NALU, have lately been on offensive, driving thousand of Congolese refugees into Uganda. Earlier this month, they seized the towns of Kikingi and Kamango, near the major city of Beni in North Eastern DRC causing a lot damages. The FARDC managed to chase them out of the towns by July 15, 2013. But they had made their statement.
M23 Congolese rebels are on the run; this despite the overwhelming support, from Rwandan Defense Forces Special Forces, in troops, modern weapons, and equipments. Also, Rwandan Military and Security forces have been rounding up the youth inside Rwanda and sending them across the border to reinforce the ranks of the rebels, but to no avail. The Congolese forces FARDC, usually notorious for their lack of military courage and discipline have surprised almost everyone. They chased the M23 rebels from their advanced strong positions in the town of Mutaho, Kanyarucinya, Kibati near he provincial capital Goma and Kinyandonyi and Ngwenda around Rutshuru.
Near Goma, the M23 rebels, rather the RDF special forces, only control the towns of Kibumba and Buvira, across the border from Rwanda. M23 rebels have lost hundreds of troops killed and hundreds more injured. The situation is so bad for M23 rebels that Rwandan Government had to complain to the United Nations Security Council, against the United Nations, arguing that United Nations Mission in DRC, MONUSCO, is working with Rwandan rebels of FDLR and bombing Rwanda. The once proud Rwandan Defense Forces are on the run from the once looked down FARDC. The FARDC count on one officer the Rwandan Military leaders never expected: the self style Colonel Mamadou N’Dala Moustafa. In May, Colonel Mamadou N’Dala Moustafa threatened to Bring War to Rwanda. Will he do it? (see our May 30, 2013 article: FARDC Commander Colonel Mamadou N’Dala Moustafa Threatens to Bring War All Way to the Source).
Rwandan rebels, namely FDLR-FOCA, RUD-Uruana and RPR-Inkeragutabara remain emboldened by their recents successes on the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) (see our article: Invigorated by Recent Successes Against Rwandan Defense Forces, Rwandan Rebels Close in to Rwandan Border of July 5, 2013). They also feel good following Jakaya Kikwete’s statements.
However, as the United Nations Group of Expert on DRC reported in the leaked June 2013 report, FDLR-FOCA continues to be rocked by internal divisions. According to our sources within FDLR-FOCA, the divisions were aggravated this week, when two FDLR-FOCA executive committee members based in Europe, Djumatatu and Callixte Mbarushimana, wrote a press release in which they targeted RUD-Urunana (see our article:FDLR-FOCA Spokesperson Mr Laforge Fils Bazeye Does Not Know What He is Talking About of July 17, 2013). They wrote the press release, added the name of the FDLR-FOCA spokesperson, La Forge Fils Bazeye, before publishing it and gave interviews to news media. According to AfroAmerica Network sources, La Forge Fils Bazeye explained to FDLR-FOCA military leaders that he was not informed of the press release by Djumatatu and Callixte Mbarushimana until the release was published. The press release also claims that General Achille Musenyeri aka Leopold Mujyambere is the FDLR-FOCA commander, instead of General Mudacumura. The press release has created further tensions within FDLR-FOCA, according to our sources and have raised concerns especially that the June 2013 leaked UN Experts reports says that:
“The Group has not found any evidence that FDLR receives significant financial or other support from abroad. The Group has investigated a diaspora network led by Bernard Twayiramungu, Felicien Barabwiriza, and Jean Bosco Uwihanganye, who have been residing in Germany. In December 2012, German authorities arrested these individuals and charged them on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization. The Group continues to investigate FDLR support networks that may be maintained in Europe.”
Despite these tensions, FDLR-FOCA and other Rwandan, Ugandan, and Congolese rebels appear positioned to benefit from the momentum of negotiation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, momentum launched by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete..
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