Uganda has advised fighting groups in DR Congo to join elective politics or face military action by the EAC regional force.
The government also advised DR Congo to ensure inclusive politics for the sake of achieving lasting peace, stability and development.
In a statement Uganda presented to the AU Peace and Security Council on updates on DRC situation, government of Uganda insists that the AU PSC and the United Nations Security Council need to leave issues of pacifying the Great lakes Region to the East African Community.
Uganda through our Permanent Representative to AU also Ambassador to Ethiopia Amb. Amuge Rebecca Otengo says DR Congo and other countries in Great lakes Region need to avoid politics of exclusion and allow all political players to participate in any elective position in the land.
“We must avoid politics of exclusion of certain actors for the national political processes and instead, promote broadbased inclusive and competitive politics where all actors are given equal opportunity to present themselves for leadership for any office in the land through elections” Otengo reportedly said in the AU PSC virtual meeting.
She said that the Great lakes Region has been a theatre of all sorts of armed groups and elements adding that these negative groups are defeatable but the challenge has always been lack of cooperation among states to deal with them.
“Negative groups can easily be defeated if all partners in the region work together to locate, increase pressure, deny sanctuary and eliminate them. Uganda and DRC have for example, worked out a cooperation agreement to hunt down the Allied Democratic Forces” she said.
Otengo we’re told, informed the meeting that already the EAC under chairmanship of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, on April 2, held a meeting and established what was termed as a ‘dual track approach’ adopting both political and non-political remedy as they find problems to the DRC issue.
She said having realised that the problems of the Great lakes Region cannot to resolved by military means alone, it’s for this reason that the political track was put in place to provide an avenue for the armed groups to participate in the political processes so that they resolve their grievances.
“Those that will fail to do so, will be considered as negative forces and will be handled militarily by the region. It was for this regard that it was determined to establish a regional force to help contain and where necessary fight the negative forces” she said.
Otengo said that it is therefore important for AU PSC and UNSC, the international community and other stakeholders to support efforts by leaders to pacify and develop DR Congo.
“It is our (Uganda) considered view that all efforts are complementary and should be aimed at resolving the strategic problems of the country. It’s therefore important for all actors to follow the lead of EAC because it is the closest and most affected by the developments in the region.
We call upon AU PSC and UNSC to grant the requisite authorizations to the EA regional force to deal with the stabilization of the Great lakes Region” she said.
According to what we got, Uganda however, supports the call for establishment of a Strategic Support Cell within the AU Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department to support the EAC military operations. Uganda also commended the efforts by Angolan president Manuel Lourenco who is also the chairman of the International Conference on Great lakes Region (ICGLR) for his recent initiatives to bring about peace in Congo.
“We welcome the Luanda Roadmap on the Pacification Process in Eastern DRC and take not of the Ceasefire Agreement on July 21 between Rwanda and DRC” she said.
Both Rwanda and DRC are currently nursing an icy relationship with Congo accusing Kigali of supporting M23 rebels in Eastern DRC while Kigali also accuses Kinshasa of backing rebels.
The AU PSC this week condemned in strong terms the attack of UN peace keepers and humanitarian personnel, saying this obstructed delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in dire need of it. It also via it’s Twitter account condemned the continued illicit trade of minerals in DR Congo.