The Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework has not worked well to deal with the growing security threats in the great lakes region, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
Museveni says that the imported pseudo ideology of exclusion and the sectarian way of handling security in the region, lack of cooperation, poor infrastructure and lack of social-economic transformation are the four reasons responsible for the increased security threat.
Museveni who took pride in being one of the most indigenous groups in the Great Lakes termed as ‘ideological bankruptcy,’ the thinking that the groups causing insecurity in the region don’t belong here.He made the remarks while addressing the 10th Heads of State Summit of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Addis-Ababa Framework Agreement in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa.
“In the Great lakes, we know the people who live there since time immemorial. The ones who live in the grasslands, in the mountains and forest regions, but some have been promoting a pseudo ideology of exclusion. This is what caused big problems in Rwanda and Burundi and other parts,” Museveni who is also the outgoing chairman of the Summit said.
He added that this has led to the mishandling of security issues causing suffering and displacements. “We are very rich in refugees. We (Uganda) have got 1.7 million refugees. These refugees are not coming from the moon but from the Great Lakes Region, caused by insecurity and attacks by criminal groups,” Museveni said.
According to Museveni however, the groups causing insecurity in the region can all be defeated from what he said he has observed in the 60 years.
“This problem of insecurity in Africa which is becoming bigger and bigger can be defeated. Our elders like Mwalimu Nyerere (Tanzania), Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) and others with friendly fighters from Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, defeated bigger problems. We were able to defeat the Whites in Southern Africa and Namibia. How can we fail to defeat these reluctant groups? That means there’s something that is missing which our elders did and we’re not doing,” Museveni said.
He added that there’s now more capacity than Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia had in 1974 when the African armies defeated the Portuguese Army in Africa. He also saluted President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC for cooperating to eliminate the rebels of Allied Democratic Forces – ADF.
“I can tell you if we cooperate, there’s no security problem we cannot defeat in Africa. I’m telling you this because I know it,” Museveni stressed. At the same summit, Uganda’s President handed over the chairmanship of the Mechanism to Tshisekedi who saluted Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame for the successful reopening of the Katuna-Gatuna border for the smooth flow of business in the region.
In attendance were among others; presidents of Republic of Congo Brazzaville President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon, Jose Eduardo’s Santos of Angola, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Évariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi.
The Great Lakes Region is made up of countries; Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania, and Uganda.