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There is hope for peace in Great Lakes region now

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st August 2002 03:00 AM

SIR— On the issue of eastern Congo, Rwanda has been remarkably consistent. What the RPA has been doing in its areas of operation has been in total agreement with what the politicians in Kigali say are the reasons for the occupation.

SIR— On the issue of eastern Congo, Rwanda has been remarkably consistent. What the RPA has been doing in its areas of operation has been in total agreement with what the politicians in Kigali say are the reasons for the occupation. Then comes in the Kagame-Kabila peace deal that has been termed as a landmark because of the new hope it brings to the region. Kigali has always maintained that the day an alternative reliable way of guaranteeing security for Rwanda against the Interahamwe who operate from within the DRC will be found is the day RPA will be repatriated back home. If and when Kinshasa comes good on its commitment to disarm and demobilise the anti-Kigali rebels, of course with help from the UN, Rwanda will be more than willing to seize the opportunity and demonstrate to the world that only its national security was the issue at stake and not minerals as has been alleged in certain circles. This potentially fruitful accord should not be seen as an accident. President Paul Kagame is now a mature leader and it shocks few that he signed with comforting relief. On the other hand, Joseph Kabila should be commended for at last making out who the right people to engage in peace talks are. Yet I do not feel confident to call it a new wind of hope sweeping across the sub-Saharan region, the reason being that there have been a number of thwarted positive moves before. Nonetheless, we can easily recognise the Kagame-Kabila pact as part of other good political initiatives on our continent. Look at Ethiopia and Eritrea: they can now be safely called good neighbours. The post-Savimbi Angola is calm. Zambia’s new leadership is handling the Chiluba issue in the right way. Kampala and Khartoum are fast re-establishing diplomatic ties, which allows the UPDF to accomplish its mission of wiping out Kony’s LRA in Operation Iron Fist. Garang and Bashir are on talking terms and the hostilities between Khartoum and SPLA have come to an end. Kampala and Kigali are doing the soul searching, each asking what could have gone wrong at a certain stage in the past and showing clearly the willingness to sort out matters once for all. Obviously the international community has lent a hand especially the wealthy West. Cynics would want to view the donor community’s efforts from the neo-colonialism angle. But if the pressure from there can stop the carnage and minimise the ever looming wars and conflicts, then it is much welcome. Ignatius Kabagambe Mbale

There is hope for peace in Great Lakes region now

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