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Museveni’s move to stop the wars

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th December 2006 03:00 AM

THE LRA will soon have no place to operate from in the Great Lakes Region. On Friday, six leaders of the Great Lakes region, including President Yoweri Museveni, signed a protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence.

THE LRA will soon have no place to operate from in the Great Lakes Region. On Friday, six leaders of the Great Lakes region, including President Yoweri Museveni, signed a protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence.

By Reuben Olita
in Nairobi


THE LRA will soon have no place to operate from in the Great Lakes Region. On Friday, six leaders of the Great Lakes region, including President Yoweri Museveni, signed a protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence.

At last, decades of armed conflict and humanitarian disasters are headed for an end, largely thanks to Museveni’s spirited efforts to ensure that the signatories to the Nairobi pact committed themselves to this cause.

Museveni was the hero at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi when he championed an amendment to Article 3 of the protocol. This allows for member nations to criminalise any act of aggression or subversion of groups operating in their respective countries.

He also spearheaded a paragraph providing for a mechanism of assisting, as a region, a member country that may harbour negative elements against their will, because they do not have the capacity to cope with this challenge.

Under the pact, no country in the Great Lakes region will be allowed to harbour armed groups against other countries.
This means that it will become increasingly difficult for Rwandan and Ugandan rebels to continue operating from Congolese soil, which has been at the root of the five-year conflict in the DRC.

Indeed, the Nairobi agreement is paving way for a joint intervention against the LRA and other Ugandan groups in DR Congo. Congolese president Joseph Kabila has already hinted at taking military action against armed groups in the east of his country if they decline to disarm voluntarily.

The Nairobi conference came as a result of several UN Security Council resolutions, urging African countries to take the lead in finding lasting regional solutions to their problems.

Because of the wider dimension of the Congo war, the countries making up the Great Lakes region quickly extended from the original three members - Burundi, DRC and Rwanda – to a total of 11 members, also including Uganda, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

The special UN representative for the region embarked on a series of consultations with the respective leaders on the way forward. These led to the first Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in November, 2004, which saw the signing of a first pact on peace, security, democracy and development.

The second pact, signed last week in Nairobi, includes the Dar es Salaam declaration. It is a special $2b fund for reconstruction and development as well as regional follow-up mechanism. It addresses peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, as well as humanitarian and social issues.

The special fund will receive contributions from the member states. It may also get funding from international development partners. The fund will be housed within the African Development Bank.

Burundi was chosen to host the secretariat, which should be operational within three months. Tanzania nominated the executive secretary, a post which went to diplomat Liberata Mulamula, while Zambia was chosen as the focal point for democracy and good governance.

Tanzania announced a contribution of $559,350 to the secretariat and a further $500,000 towards the special fund for reconstruction and development.

Newly-elected Congo president Kabila contributed $1m towards reconstruction and the Netherlands donated 5m euros.
The summit also approved a follow-up mechanism to ensure the implementation of the pact.

Museveni’s move to stop the wars

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