Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila is expected meet the central government of the restive North Kivu province today (Tuesday) to restore peace to the troubled region. Mr. Kabila pledged Kinshasa's determination to begin rebuilding infrastructure adversely affected by clashes between the national army and various rebel insurgent groups. This comes after a Kinshasa signed an agreement with the rebel National Congress for People's Defense (CNDP), effectively ending hostilities in the region and bringing about some calm. Scores of Congolese have lost their lives, and thousands have been displaced following incessant clashes between the rebels and the national army in North Kivu. North Kivu deputy governor Fellel Lutaicheiowa tells reporter Peter Clottey that hopefully, President Kabila will help address various challenges the province faces.
"What I can say is that the meeting will be focused on the problems of North Kivu and South Kivu. And in our two provinces, we have big challenges, first in security, and secondly in rehabilitation. And I think that now the work will begin in these provinces," Lutaicheiowa said.
He said he is hopeful work will begin as soon as possible to return the provinces to where they were before clashes destroyed basic infrastructure.
"After today's meeting we are expecting work to begin soon. Because of the war, nothing had been done in these provinces, and the president has said in yesterday's (Monday's) meeting that now in these provinces, the work will begin. And this is why he invited all ministers, all the members of the central government to come here to Goma in a big meeting, including the prime minister and all the ministers of Kinshasa. They are all here in Goma, and I think they will deal with our problems. And that is why the governor may talk about all of our challenges," he said.
Lutaicheiowa said residents of the troubled provinces are hopeful today's meeting with help transform the region towards peace.
"And I think that not only of our provincial government, but also all North Kivu people are waiting and hoping from what will come out of this meeting today," Lutaicheiowa noted.
He said the agreement of the various armed groups to be integrated into the national army helped with Kinshasa's peace efforts.
"As you know now, all of the various armed groups are in the process of integration into the national army. They all made a commitment to be under the command of the national army. But I think for these Rwandese armed groups like the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) ? as you know with diplomatic efforts now, we hope that we have an approach to resolve all these problems of these special armed groups. And for all the people residing here, there is hope that peace will finally return. And we believe that this was a big condition to begin all projects of reconciliation and of reconstruction here in the provinces," he said.