Museveni wants Malawi in Great Lakes Region

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has proposed that Malawi, alongside Mozambique, must become members of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The ICGLR is an inter-governmental organization of the 11-member countries in the African Great Lakes Region established under the premise of the recognition that political instability and conflicts in these countries have a considerable regional dimension and thus require a concerted effort in order to promote sustainable peace and development.

Most notable among the conflicts that have had cross-border impacts or origins are the 1994 Rwandan genocide that led to the loss of more than 800,000 lives and the political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that constituted a major threat to international peace and security.

Museveni with Malawi leader Banda at a regional summit of Heads of State last year
Museveni with Malawi leader Banda at a regional summit of Heads of State last year

The organization is composed of twelve member states namely Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

President Museveni, who is the outgoing chairman of the CIRGL, said Mozambique and Malawi needed to be members of the grouping because of their historic link with the eastern coast and Africa’s Great Lakes.

Museveni was speaking at the opening session of the 5th ordinary summit of heads of State and Government from the Great Lakes Region in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

Malawi and Mozambique share boundaries with some countries that are members of the ICGLR like Tanzania and Zambia.

Museveni then called for cooperation between peoples and nations from the region by promoting peace and development adding that it was important to build infrastructure like roads, railways and electricity for economic growth.

President Museveni also stressed the importance of more investments in the region especially in infrastructure, to promote regional development as a guarantee to end sectarian clashes, impunity and peace.

Denouncing the causes of persistent conflicts in the region, the Ugandan leader called on political leaders to abstain from pushing their citizens into new wars and from turning political disagreement into military clashes.

He then told the gathering his country was not backing any armed groups, or rebellions in the Great Lakes Region, as alleged by other quarters.

According to him, policies to reject certain tribes, as carried out by leaders like Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaïre, now DRC, were the origins of instability in the Great Lakes Region, saying some people became expatriates in their own countries.

ICGLR founding history began in 2000 when the United Nations Security Council, as stated in its resolutions 1291 and 1304, called for an International Conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes region.

Later that year, the secretariat of the International Conference was established in Nairobi, Kenya, under the umbrella of the United Nations and the African Union.

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