news analysis advocacy
tips on searching

Search AfricaFocus and 9 Partner Sites



Visit the AfricaFocus
Country Pages

Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central Afr. Rep.
Congo (Brazzaville)
Congo (Kinshasa)
Côte d'Ivoire
Equatorial Guinea
São Tomé
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South Sudan
Western Sahara

Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!

Print this page

Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Congo (Kinshasa): Peace Agreement

Congo (Kinshasa): Peace Agreement
Date distributed (ymd): 990826
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +peace/security+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains a slightly condensed version of the executive summary of a new 43-page report by the International Crisis Group on the peace agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report outlines the background to the agreement and the numerous obstacles to its implementation. The full report is available on the web:

The executive summary is preceded by brief excerpts from recent updates from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN).

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147; Fax: +254 2 622129

IRIN-CEA Update No. 741
for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 23 August 1999)

WHO "amazed at turnout" for vaccination campaign

WHO and UNICEF reported that 8.2 million polio vaccinations were carried out by over 75,000 volunteer vaccinators during last week's mass vaccination against the polio virus, and the figure should be closer to 9 million once complete data were available, officials said. Some 10 million children under the age of five had been targeted. "We have been amazed at the turnout. Mothers in every village have brought their children ... often walking several kilometres with their infants on their backs to get this precious vaccine", a WHO press release stated. DRC, with the most intense virus transmission in the world, was the single biggest priority for the global effort to eradicate polio, it added.

"Catch-up" campaign scheduled for Kisangani

In Kisangani, 70 percent were reported to have been vaccinated, despite the outbreak of fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces, while mothers and children earlier trapped in vaccination clinics by the fighting had managed to return home, WHO reported, adding that an extra "catch-up" campaign targeting those children not yet reached was scheduled.

IRIN-CEA Update No. 742
for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 24 August 1999)

Democratic Republic of Congo: Rebels agree to sign peace agreement

The long-awaited signing of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement by rebels of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) was on Tuesday reported to be imminent after the RCD-Goma faction said it intended to sign. All the founding members of the RCD - covering both factions currently antagonistic towards each other - are expected to sign in a breakthrough arrangement agreed at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in the Mozambican capital Maputo last week, news agencies reported. The development had been previously flagged, with some sources suggesting it could be signed as early as Monday.

International Crisis Group

The Agreement on a Cease-Fire in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
An Analysis of the Agreement and Prospects for Peace

20 August 1999

Executive Summary

After a year of failed attempts by Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), South Africa and other regional powerbrokers, the six countries involved in Africa's seven-nation war in the Democratic Republic of Congo signed the Agreement for a Cease-fire in the DRC in Lusaka on 10 July 1999. The war has pitched Kabila and his allies, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia against a Congolese rebellion backed by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi since August 1998. The main provisions of the agreement include: immediate cessation of hostilities; the establishment of a Joint Military Commission (JMC), composed of the belligerent parties to investigate cease-fire violations, to work out mechanisms to disarm the identified militias, and monitor the withdrawal of foreign troops according to an established calendar; the deployment of a UN chapter 7 force tasked with disarming the armed groups, collecting weapons from civilians and providing humanitarian assistance and protection to the displaced persons and refugees; and the initiating of a Congolese National Dialogue intended to lead to a "new political dispensation in the DRC".

However, a month after signing, the war continues. While it does not dispute the content of the document, the main rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) has refused to sign the agreement. The RCD split earlier in May, when Ernest Wamba dia Wamba was ousted as head of the group, but refused to step down and established his headquarters in Kisangani with Ugandan backing. Both the RCD-Goma, backed by Rwanda, and the RCD-Kisangani, supported by Uganda, have demanded the exclusive right to sign the peace agreement. This has delayed the implementation of the agreement and encouraged factions to engage in strategies to buy time. Since the signing, more troops have been deployed and the rebels and their allies have continued to make territorial advances. Many claims and counterclaims of violations of the agreement have already been made, making the commitment by both parties to the cease-fire agreement more and more suspect.

Relations between Rwanda and Uganda have grown increasingly strained since the RCD split. Soldiers from both countries have been stationed at the airport and control separate parts of the city of Kisangani. Despite recent efforts by South Africa and Zambia to verify leadership claims and to put pressure on both factions to sign, the disagreement degenerated into open urban warfare between the two armies on 14 August. The former allies fought for the control of several installations as well as of the city international airport, employing heavy artillery. On 17 August, Rwanda and Uganda agreed on a cease-fire. They say they will send a military team to find out why the fighting erupted. They also agree that they will respect the outcome of the investigation on leadership claims within the RCD undertaken by the South Africans and the Zambians. If the investigation committee doesn't come up with a clear result, both will recommend that the 28 founders of RCD should sign the agreement.

The Lusaka agreement, however, meets the demands of the rebels and their supporters, and more specifically of the Rwandans by recognising their pledge to disarm the Interahamwe and ex-FAR in the Great Lakes region. But the current fighting between Uganda and Rwanda in Kisangani makes quite clear that the security interests of those countries, which their intervention in the DRC was supposed to protect, are not the only motivation for the war. ...

The fighting between Uganda and Rwanda also legitimises Kabila's claim that those countries are aggressors, an argument the Congolese leader seized upon when he called on the Security Council to strongly condemn the violations of the cease-fire and to demand the "immediate departure" of forces from Uganda and Rwanda. ...

Key questions remain unanswered. Is peace in sight at last or is the stage set for the war to continue? Can the Lusaka cease-fire agreement be resurrected in light of the glaring cease-fire violations by both sides in the conflict? Can the pressure that was put on all the parties to sign the agreement be sustained?

The high level of tension between Uganda and Rwanda is likely to affect the geopolitical order of the region; it could lead to further fragmentation and a de facto partition of the DRC, with each army occupying a sector and a very volatile military situation. If Ugandan troops remain in the North, Rwanda could be tempted to concentrate its efforts on Mbuji-Mayi. It could also convince Uganda to give up and withdraw, leaving Rwanda alone facing accusations of aggression. Parliament members in Uganda have already announced its intentions to move a motion seeking the complete withdrawal of the troops from the DRC. And last, but not least, anti-Rwanda feelings are already growing in the Ugandan army, even though government officials in both countries have played down the impact of the Kisangani clash on the broad alliance of Uganda and Rwanda. The Ugandans have lost a lot of soldiers in the battle and some of their strongholds have been taken by the Rwandans, which is perceived as a humiliation by the UDPF.

Since the beginning of the war, the fragility of the Congolese state has been exploited by all foreign forces, whether allies or enemies of the Kabila government. For the first time, with the Lusaka agreement, the Congolese domestic agenda was brought back to the centre stage. If the cease-fire agreement is not implemented, the continuation of violence could postpone the National Dialogue, which is key to the deployment of a peacekeeping force, the withdrawal of foreign troops, the formation of a new Congolese army and the re-establishment of state administration on DRC territory. As long as the military situation remains unresolved, it is unlikely that the Congolese will be in charge of their own fate.

This report analyses the motivations of each of the main parties to the conflict to sign the Lusaka agreement. It also looks at the difficulties that lie ahead if the agreement is to be implemented.

Each belligerent party took the opportunity to put his own domestic concerns on record, especially by demanding that rebel groups fighting their governments be disarmed, and also by securing a regional commitment to address their national security interests. One of the main precedents created by the agreement is that the belligerent parties are, through the JMC, turned into the enforcers of the agreement. The JMC is supposed to share intelligence regarding militias and work out mechanisms to disarm them. However, it will take time for the parties to overcome their suspicions and do more than make sure that their enemies don't continue supporting the rebels. Furthermore, it will be difficult for Kabila and Zimbabwe to turn against and disarm their allies, the ex-FAR and Interahamwe. Intelligence reports have already indicated that some armed groups have started going underground.

The DRC conflict has three dimensions: local, national and regional. For peace to return to the DRC, the peace process should comprehensively deal with the conflict at all three levels. For the international community, this is a unique opportunity to re-engage with the region, to demonstrate commitment to African peace processes, and to rebuild credibility with national partners in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. In particular, the international community should support regional efforts to restore the territorial integrity of the DRC and to resolve its security issues. Given the failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and to address the long term security issues it created, ICG recommends that the UN Security Council, its members, and the OAU seize the opportunity to:

At the Regional Security Level

  • Put continuous pressure on all rebel factions to sign the Lusaka cease-fire agreement and on all parties to respect it

    US, Security Council and regional diplomatic pressure should be directed towards Uganda and Rwanda to respect the Kisangani cease-fire; to respect their commitment to the Lusaka cease-fire; and to take a common stand on the issue of the RCD signature, so that the Congolese may start their National Debate process. Although the rebel leaders have developed their own individual and group interests, Rwanda and Uganda can still prevail on them.

  • Support the Joint Military Commission (JMC)

    The Security Council Member states should undertake a serious examination of the needs of the JMC, and support those needs fully.

  • Strengthen the mandate of the OAU-appointed chairman of the Joint Military Commission

    Understanding that the JMC is composed of representatives of the belligerent parties and has no accountability nor supervision mechanism by any neutral body, ICG recommends that the OAU should play a more active role as arbitrator of the agreement and carry out that role until the UN PK force is able to provide accountability and supervision, as mandated in the agreement.

  • Mobilise international and regional efforts for a proactive non-military response to the Ex-FAR and Interahamwe problem by:

    Putting pressure on the Kabila and Zimbabwe governments to demobilise Interahamwe and ex-FAR as a gesture of good will in the regional peace process;

    Encouraging the neighbouring countries of the DRC to make a special effort to arrest the leaders of those groups responsible for the genocide and whose names are on the list of the International Tribunal in Arusha;

    Supporting a demobilisation and re-integration plan for the Interahamwe and ex-FAR, who are estimated to count between 30,000 and 45,000 members. This recommendation is based on the experience of successful re-integration of Interahamwe and ex-FAR (since February 1999) into Rwandan society.

    The governments of the region should be strongly encouraged to practice inclusive politics and offer reintegration alternatives to their respective rebellions

  • Support a peace-keeping force in the DRC with a realistic and concrete mandate

    The terms set by the Lusaka agreement ask for a chapter 7 force that will have the mandate to, among other things: "track down all armed groups in the DRC." A chapter 7 force would require at least 100,000 soldiers to monitor the situation from the Sudanese to the Zambian borders and from the Congo-Brazzaville to the Tanzanian borders. In the event the Security Council doesn't authorise a chapter 7 force, support should be given to the JMC to carry out that mandate and more UN/OAU observers should be sent. In a second stage, a chapter 6 force should be authorised by the Security Council as a confidence building mechanism and sign that the international community has an interest in the DRC; as an observer of the implementation of the agreement; as an investigator of the violations of the cease-fire and protector of civilian populations; as a catalytic mechanism to help the population distance itself form the fighters; and as a provider of humanitarian assistance.

At the National Level

  • Support the Congolese National Dialogue and Reconciliation Debate by:

    Giving expert technical support to the Facilitator chosen by SADC;

    Encouraging the Facilitator to include Congolese armed groups that were not represented in Lusaka. These are the Mai - Mai, the Banyamulenge and the former Mobutu soldiers, and to make sure no potential disrupters are excluded;

    Enforcing the provisions in the agreement stating that all participants should have an equal status;

    Monitoring the proceedings of the debate and ensuring that they are free of manipulation and intimidation.

At the Local Level

  • Create a donor liaison group to mobilise resources for humanitarian assistance, local reconstruction, rehabilitation of infrastructures and reconciliation initiatives at the community level.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

URL for this file: