Peace in DRC now – ex-liberation movements
By Santos Vilola
LUANDA – Former Southern African liberation movements have called for lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid an outbreak of the deadly ebola virus which has hit a remote region of the country.
The secretaries-general of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania, Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Swapo of Namibia and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) called on DRC President Joseph Kabila to take advantage of the international conference for the Great Lakes Region to be chaired by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos to solve the political conflict in that country.
The call was made at the end of a meeting of the secretaries-general of the parties that were born of the liberation struggles in Southern Africa which ended in Luanda last week.
In a joint communiqué presented by the MPLA’s Ferreira Júnior, the secretaries-general acknowledged that President dos Santos had begun efforts to find a lasting peace for the Great Lakes region.
They said the Congolese should still have recourse to the international community to resolve the conflict that has ravaged the eastern parts of that country for years, resulting in the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force, known by its acronym, MONUSC.
The secretaries-general expressed concern about the conflict in the vast central African country and said the upsurge of military action had resulted in the deaths of thousands of people while hundreds of thousands of refugees have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
This situation, according to the communiqué, retards constitutional normality and the socio-economic development of that country.
They encouraged Congolese political actors to spare no effort and, in the name of their superior national interests, do everything for peace in that country.
The secretaries-general acknowledged the role being played by Angola, which has welcomed and treated thousands of Congolese refugees who have sought refuge in that country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported 29 suspected cases of ebola, including three deaths, since ebola was discovered in a remote region of DRC on April 22. This deadly virus causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea. It spreads easily through bodily fluids and can kill more than 50 percent of its victims.
The liberation movements also discussed the political situations in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Angolans go to the polls to elect a new leader to replace President dos Santos who is stepping down in August. MPLA vice-president João Lourenço has been identified as the candidate to represent the ruling party in general elections slated for on August 23.
Participants to the meeting also analysed the political situation in Mozambique, where they acknowledge the cessation of military hostilities between the government of Filipe Nyuse and the former rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) movement led by Afonso Dlakama.
A shaky truce has been holding in Mozambique since Nyuse and Dhlakama reached an agreement early this year to stop skirmished between the military and the Renamo rebels. Dhlakama, who has been holed up in mountains in the central town of Gorongosa, recently announced that he had reached a pact with President Nyuse to extent the truce.
With regard to South Africa and Zimbabwe, the secretaries- general recognised the efforts to restore political stability in those countries.
In South Africa, the government of President Jacob Zuma has been under siege from the opposition which has been calling for him to step down from office after he fired former finance Minister Pravin Gordhan from his cabinet. The ANC holds its elective congress later this year to choose a successor to Zuma.
In Zimbabwe, there have been attempts by non-governmental organisations and opposition parties to forge a joint coalition to fight President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF in elections slated for next year.
The former liberation movements also announced the setting up of an ideological school in Tanzania to deepen training programmes to forge new politicians.
MPLA secretary-general Paulo Kassoma said that it was the desire of his party to continue working to strengthen co-operation between the former Southern African liberation movements and their respective governments.
This, he said, would strengthen the bonds of friendship based on the national liberation struggles of all the countries of the sub-region.
The meeting in Luanda was preceded by meetings of former combatants and veterans, and the parties’ women’s and youth leagues who presented reports and recommendations to meet the challenges and prospects for co-operation for the development and prosperity of peoples of the region.
The eighth of former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa was chaired by Kassoma and was attended by the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe, Abdulrahman Kinana of Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Eliseu Machava of Frelimo, Nangolo Mbumba of SWAPO and Ignatius Chombo of Zanu-PF.
Namibia will host the ninth meeting.