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DR Congo Government to Sign Ceasefire Agreement With Rebels

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Joseph Kabila’s government will today (Tuesday) sign a ceasefire agreement with rebel forces based in the country’s North Kivu Province, including rebels loyal to renegade general Laurent Nkunda. The ceasefire agreement aims to end the ongoing conflict, which has reportedly displayed scores of ordinary citizens who are often caught in the line of fire between the government and rebel forces.

A commission comprising representatives from all the groups would be set up to monitor and report to the international community any violations of the ceasefire. Jack Kahora is the VOA’s French to Africa correspondent. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the North Kivu capital, Goma that all is set for the signing of the ceasefire agreement.

“Today is the plenary activity in which all the different groups, which worked on the different scenes related to peace, security and development. They have to present their work in the plenary, after that there would be a signature of the ceasefire. The draft was presented to all the armed groups yesterday, and the draft was discussed among all the groups. There were something’s which were not clear, and the different groups came back to the representative of the government and discussed again to clarify exactly where it was not clear. And finally today, it’s now a day to sign this agreement because they agreed on the different points, which were written in the agreement,” Kahora noted.

He said President Kabila’s government aims to dispel rumors, which are being allegedly peddled to derail today’s ceasefire agreement.

“The only fear which people have in Goma was that there were rumors among Congolese that the people who are in the conference are going to sell the country to the rebels. That is why the authorities had enough time to discuss with all the groups. And even they gave the different documents, which were submitted to the different groups they submitted even to the members of parliament to discuss them as well so that they cut short the rumors. So peace is really expected in North Kivu, people are very happy to hear about how peace is going to comeback in the province,” he said.

Kahora was hopeful today’s ceasefire would be adhered to by all the parties concerned.

“The explanation which was given to people shows that there is no power sharing. The interest of the government in terms of power sharing was never involved and people are sure that obviously peace is going to be achieved and that it would be respected by all the different groups. So there is no fear for people that this can be achieved, since the interest of the government was not touched,” Kahora pointed out.

He said a commission would be set up to monitor and report any group that undermines the ceasefire.

“There is no fear on this point because in the agreement which was submitted, it said that all the different groups are going to make a technical commission, which is going to make a buffer zone. This technical commission has to work on the implementation of the ceasefire. It means the commission will have to ensure that the agreement is respected and it is gong to be helped by the international community, the European Union (EU), the United States of America, the African Union and other international organizations such as MONUC,” he said.

Meanwhile, another technical commission would also be established to oversee the disarmament of rebels loyal to Nkunda as well as Mai Mai fighters so that they would be integrated into the national army or demobilized.