UGANDA’S PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni, in his capacity as the Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), has called for an emergency Heads of State summit to tackle the tricky question of the unrest in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
All the previous ICGLR summits resolved that the long-term solution to the ongoing crisis lies in a political settlement and not in the barrel of the gun, an option that is unfortunately now being pushed by certain actors, including some ICGLR members with dire consequences for the civilian population.
So will this latest round of talks change the status quo or will any agreement signed be broken before even the ink has dried? The more the Congo crisis has dragged on, the more it has become clearer that not all countries of the ICGLR are reading from the same script, individual interests have taken precedence over Congolese people’s interests.
What Congo needs is not unending talks and shuttle diplomacy; it needs decisiveness and appreciating that there is no shortcut to lasting peace.
If the DRC cannot get back to the table in Kampala and instead continues sounding war drums as it is currently doing, it will have no one to blame but itself.
The Congolese leadership should be made to understand that neighbouring countries and other actors have better things to do than continuously worrying about a crisis that is time and again being exacerbated by Kinshasa itself.
Playing politics on the backs of poor Congolese villagers has gone on long enough; it’s time to pursue peace and silence the guns.