While the entire African continent was celebrating the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania enounced a clear vision on how the seemingly intractable problems of the Africa Great Lakes Region could be and shall be approached in order enjoy an era of everlasting peace in the region. In his address, he clearly indicated and categorically stated that the enduring problems of the Eastern DRC shall not be resolved by military force alone but to the contrary it should be through direct negotiations between current contested regimes and their respective oppositions. Hence, he specifically called upon the respective leaders of Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda to engage in direct negotiations with their armed oppositions.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), a RUD/RPR Coalition, would like to state unequivocally that it welcomes the bold statements of President Kikwete. Meanwhile, the assessment of several independent political analysts, observers, and human rights organizations has come to the conclusion that the regime in Kigali oppresses its own citizens. Therefore, Rwanda is where solutions must be found and applied if any everlasting peace was to be established. The unruly Rwandan political situation is political in nature and thus requires political solutions through direct and genuine dialogue all the components and/or groups of the Rwandan people. It is important to remind the public that this constitutes one of our long standing positions.

Therefore, our Organization is extremely pleased to see that after almost two decades of rampant conflicts and despair in the region and particularly in Rwanda, one of the most respected regional leaders has charted a clear vision and enounced principles that are at the core identical to those long advocated by the NDC.

In addition, it is important to note that President Kikwete’s bold statements came after the recent nomination of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy for the Africa’s Great Lakes Region by the UN Security Council. The appointment of such high profile Envoy has always been one of the demands our Organization has been advocating for several years. Our organization is of the opinion that the synergy of the clear vision of the Tanzanian President and the nomination of the UN Special Envoy are necessary ingredients that have the great potential of finally bringing hope and peace to a region ravaged by wars, war crimes, atrocities, and human rights abuse.

We are of the opinion that the International Community would agree with us that basic human rights, democracy, and self determination are values that must not be compromised on; these are universal values that must be neither trampled upon nor stifled by any regime, regardless of the excuses. The needs for survival of the leaders of a brutal regime such of Rwanda cannot override the basic human rights and the right to life of individuals.

To stop the rolling humanitarian disaster in the region, it is time that the International Community and especially regional leaders take notice of President Kikwete’s bold vision if there were any genuine commitment to solving this Africa’s Great Lakes Region problem once for all. Instead of resolving to threats, insults, and obstructions, our Organization calls upon Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, in particular to seize this golden opportunity and take substantive measures in order to translate in positive actions his colleague’s vision as the only guarantee for genuine peace and stability in Rwanda and in the region as a whole.

Thus, our Organization would like to reaffirm the following principles that constitute the cornerstones of finding lasting solution of the plight in which the Great Lakes Region has been enduring for decades:

  •   The NDC remains committed to peace and peaceful solutions as it has already demonstrated during the short-lived Kisangani Process that led to Kasiki settlement Centre.
  •   Our Organization is convinced that the principles that were laid in Kisangani Roadmap and subsequently reaffirmed in Rome on Jan. 27/2009 may form a solid foundation in contributing to the lasting solution of the Rwandan refugee problem in Eastern DRC and the region.

 Our Organization is thankful to the UN Secretary General for the nomination of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes Region, as this may constitute the best way towards a timely and durable resolution of the Rwandan refugees impasse.

  •   As our Organization has always stated, the Rwandan problem is political in nature and as such requires political solutions. The current political and undemocratic situation prevailing in Rwanda is the root cause of the endemic instability in the region as it has been confirmed by recent events. Therefore, it is our firm conviction that as long as the Rwandan problem is not resolved the Africa’s Great Lakes region will remain unstable.
  •   In order to foster a reconciliatory Justice system, the only foundation of genuine Reconciliation, we urgently ask to hold, under the auspices of the International Community, an Inter-Rwandan Dialogue. In addition, our organization calls for the organization of a “Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation” Commission in our homeland that would help heal a traumatized society.

  •   We remain convinced that only this Dialogue would lead to lasting peace, stability, and the establishment of new political, judiciary, and security institutions that would be the reflection of the legitimate aspirations of all the constitutive groups of the Rwandan society.

  •   Our Organization has the firm commitment to constructively and actively contributes to finding lasting and peaceful solutions to the problems that have plagued our homeland and the Africa’s Great Lakes Region as a whole. Hence, our Organization adheres without any reserve to President Kikwete’s bold vision as enounced in the Addis-Abeba (Ethiopia) on May 26, 2013.

    May 29, 2013