25 April 2002

Central Africa: Kigali Blames Kampala Over Kabila, Bemba Deal

The government of Rwanda has faulted Uganda for cutting what it sees as an unfair deal with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president Joseph Kabila to end the four year conflict in the vast country.

Last week in Sun City, South Africa, Kabila cut a deal with the Uganda backed Congolese Liberation Movement led by Jean-Pierre Bemba.

According to the deal, Bemba, 40, would become the Prime Minister.

The Rwanda backed RCD rebels refused to join the alliance but Uganda has hailed the move and Minister of Defence Amama Mbabazi has since said they will help to implement the deal.

But President Paul Kagame's Special Envoy in the Great Lakes Region, Patrick Mazimhaka, told The Monitor that the deal does not conform to the 1999 Lusaka Peace Accord.

"Uganda has nothing to tell us about this so-called power sharing agreement. It does not conform to the Lusaka Peace accord. This move jeopardizes the peace initiatives undertaken. Why should Uganda just say the deal is good because Bemba has been promised a job as Prime Minister," Mazimhaka told The Monitor April 22.

He said the Lusaka accord stipulates that first there should be a cease-fire, followed by the inter-Congolese dialogue, disarmament of warring groups like the Interahamwe and ADF and lastly the withdraw of foreign forces.

"All these were not followed and it seems Kinshasa is not interested in any meaningful talks. It is funny that Uganda is now applauding the deal. They have been supporting Mbusa, Tibasima and Bemba so what will happen to their other two allies," he said.

Asked whether Rwanda will accept the deal if approached by Uganda, Mazimhaka said, "Uganda has to talk to their allies before talking to us. We cannot discuss anything outside the Lusaka Peace Accord. Even the facilitator [former Botswana president] Sir. Ketumile Masire has rejected the power sharing deal; so, how can Uganda support such development," he mused.

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