Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hope for Peace in Africa's Great Lakes Region

After a long period of wars in the region, the GLR organizes a conference in Kinshasa for the chairpersons of the National Assemblies of the country members as to see how durable peace can be restored

Africa's Great Lakes Region, or GLR, consists of three countries -- Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. In 1994, this region experienced a horrible carnage due to the death of the late president of Rwanda and Burundi in a plane crash. From this period, the region has been living war after war with very negative consequences. When the genocide of Rwanda burst in 1994, there were massive movements of refugees and the Interahamwe Militia who were fleeing to the Congo, then Zaire under the dictator Mobutu.

Two years later, the Rwandan Army invaded Zaire together with Kabila father as to liberate the country from Mobutu dictatorship. At the same time this was a good occasion for Rwanda to dismantle the refugee camps of the Rwandese who were living in the Congo with the Interahamwe who were hiding in the forests and who were a threat to Kigali regime. This contention generated high tensions between both countries and their diplomatic relations were impacted negatively. Each country withdrew its Ambassador and so things fell apart.

This was followed by a series of wars in the Eastern Congo, which wars until today are nurtured by different war lords carrying hiding behind rebellions. These wars are mainly funded by the minerals that the fighters extract abundantly from the soil of the Eastern Congo. Several reports have clearly showed the role these minerals play in fuelling these endless wars in this part of the Congo. All the parties to the Eastern Congo conflicts are not willing to end the fights, may they be on the side of the local side, the rebels and even the UN peace keeping mission in the Congo who should be protecting the local populations are all eager to continue staying there since this makes good deals for them.

On the other hand, the local population in these mineral areas do suffer all kinds of violence that are perpetrated by the fighters or the soldiers located in the area. Among the people who suffer more in these zones, are women and girls. They have become a sex industry , they are forced to supply sex to those soldiers and rebels and so they contaminate HIV/ AIDS. Rapes and forced sex range among the very many acute evils these unfortunate creature suffer. They are therefore doomed to endless moral, physical and psychological suffering that generate trauma, fear, hatred, etc. among them as their majority are not supported in their sufferings for healing.

These minerals that are dug out these areas are exported outside the continent and this boosts the cycle of wars. All this is happening on the nose of the great police powers of the world; maybe they are also accomplices. The USA have now asked the companies who buy these blood minerals to stop doing so since this is endangering the lives of the local people in this part of the Congo. I believe they will not obey this, but they will be purchasing them in a way or another from some Congolese.

It is only since the end of last year that some light of hope to recover peace started to kindle when Rwanda renewed diplomatic ties with Congo in reopening its Embassy in Kinshasa. The latter also did the same. Due to this people can hope the future will be fine. Next the presidents of these three countries met in Burundi for the first time in 2009 since 1994 as to see together how they can summon their efforts in bringing peace to this region.

Additionally, after the meeting of the heads of states of the GLR, there was organized the first conference of the parlementarians of this region in 2009 in Bujumbura Burundi. A step ahead is done and this year, there has been held the second conference of the Chairpersons of the chamber of parliamentarians of the three countries members of the GLR in Kinshasa, namely Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. They were bid a warm welcome by the Congolese chairman of the National Assembly Evarist Boshab and Kengo Wa Dondo, the senate chair person. The aim of this conference is to see how to evaluate and implement the resolutions contained in the final declaration of the first conference that was held in Bujumbura in September 2009.

When they landed at Kinshasa, these hosts declared that their attendance to this second conference conveys their counties willing to strengthen the collaboration among these three countries and see how to recover durable peace and unity for a better future where their interests are shared.

The Great Lakes Region is a panafrican organization that was created in 1978 for economic integration and the facilitation of the movement of people and goods among the countries members. Their headquarter is located in Gisenyi Rwanda. The GLR has not been operational since 1994 due to the Burundian crisis and the genocide of Rwanda. However in 1996, all the agreements were following the liberation war of the Congo under the auspices of LD Kabila, the father of current president of the Congo. This time, we hope it has opened its doors once for all.

People expect this conference to make ways out of the war and lead toward sustainable peace in this region.

About the Writer

MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Hope for Peace in Africa's Great Lakes Region

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By Theresa H Hall on April 04, 2010 at 04:11 pm

Thank you for writing the article. I am sickened by the torture and torment the peaceful Africans suffer, for the sake of Mother Earth's precious minerals!

There should be bounty hunters hired to exterminate these warlords, their militia and anyone found to be purchasing these precious minerals, resulting in the debauchery and blood letting, should be imprisoned for the remainder of their lives.

Put a high price on the evildoers and perhaps something good can come out of this. Stop destroying the beautiful peoples of Africa!

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on April 05, 2010 at 09:42 am

Theresa, lots of torture and death follows; as if poverty is not enough. Sending war lords should be ok but this would not end violence. What can help is that if people could understand the how much human life is worthy, sacred and divine but for these killers no matter if people die, or others are raped or mutilated. The world has gone crazzy, I tell you.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on April 05, 2010 at 09:44 am

Cher, thanks for you precious comment. Raise awareness and write, yes but the hearers are very few. No peace will come if people still consider the lives of others as those of flies.

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