The National Congress
for People's Defense (CNDP) rebel group is expected to hold negotiations with
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila's government Tuesday to
find ways of implementing a recently signed agreement. This comes after former
combatants complained about delays and Kinshasa's failure fully to implement
the agreement that would integrate them into the national army. The agreement
signed in March also provides for the transformation of the CNDP rebel group
into a political party and the release of former rebel group members captured
by the national army.
CNDP Chairman Desire Kamanzi told VOA that the former
combatants are not enthused about Kinshasa's delay.
came in with the aim of looking at ways of implementing the agreement which was
signed on 23rd of March, and we have been waiting. There is what is
called the National Committee to follow up the implementation of the agreement,
so we came to discuss with the government how we should go about it," Kamanzi said.
He said the rebels are
looking forward to having a meaningful discussion with Kinshasa over the full
implementation of the recently signed agreement.
"Today's meeting is
promising, and we haven't gone through the details. But at least we were given
some documents, which shows how the committee will be working. Also, we are in
touch with the international mediation we met before we came here in Kinshasa.
We met in Goma," he said.
Kamanzi said residents in
the restive North Kivu province are hopeful about a peace agreement despite the
"I think everybody is just
tired to see that things are not as were expected to be," Kamanzi said.
He said although the
implementation has been slow, Tuesday's negotiations could expedite the
"In fact, our expectation is
to speed up the process because we already have delayed with the implementation
one month and a half. It is a long time, so we will like to discuss them to put
up mechanism which should be set up and speed up the process," he said.
Kamanzi said there is need
to look at the modalities by which the peace agreement would be fully
"In fact, we are to discuss
because we had already a matrix, which shows the date, and already the time has
passed. And we have to discuss and revise the matrix and implement everything
so we haven't gone through the details. But we hope that at the end of our day
here in Kinshasa, we should have a clear plan about that," Kamanzi said.
He said former combatants of
the CNDP were not enthused about Kinshasa's holdup in implementing the peace
"They were not happy because
of the delay, but when everybody heard that we are to be invited to be in
Kinshasa, I think everybody is waiting and see what is going to happen," he
Kamanzi said Kinshasa has
been unable to explain fully why its action contributed to the delay.
"There is no clear
explanation that we have got at the moment. We have been asking the minister
what is going on, but nothing was given as a clear explanation about it,"
Nigeria's former President
Olusegun Obasanjo, who doubles as UN special mediator between Kinshasa and the
rebels was present during the signing of the agreement in the North Kivu
capital Goma. The head of the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC) Alan
Doss was also present during the ceremony.
Under the agreement,
Kinshasa will pass an amnesty law for former rebels. Both sides also agreed to
what is described as the principle of a local police force, understood as a
branch of the Congolese national police, which listens to the public and serves
at their will.
CNDP was previously led by renegade Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda and began its
uprising in the Kivu hills in 2003. The militia has been accused of using
sexual violence as a weapon of war, grabbing young kids from schools, and
conscripting them into its ranks. In addition, in November, 2008, some of the
fighters were accused of massacring more than 100 civilians in the village of
Kiwanja. The militia has denied the charge, saying the dead were Mai-Mai
observers say the promised amnesty raises serious questions about suspected war
criminals within the CNDP. The rebel group's new leader Bosco Ntaganda was
indicted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court in August 2008 for war
crimes. He has repeatedly been named by child soldiers testifying before the
court in the trial of one his former allies, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.
Ntaganda remains free in eastern DRC. With the new peace deal, Kabila appears
reluctant to hand him over to the ICC. His regime shows that the need for peace
in eastern Congo is paramount to the capture of the warlord. In the past,
Kabila's regime has acquiesced to ICC requests, handing over Lubanga, who
had abandoned fighting to join the government, much in the same manner that
Ntaganda is negotiating to do. Kinshasa also handed over Germain Katanga and
Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui to the ICC. Both men are accused of war crimes and
crimes against humanity.