Sunday, June 30, 2013

Letter to President Kikwete on Dialogue and Peace in Great Lakes

President Jakaya Kikwete
Magogoni Road
P.O. Box 9120,
Dar es Salaam,

Re: President Obama’s Visit to Tanzania and Sustainable Solutions to Regional Conflicts

We, the African Great Lakes Coalition (AGLC), a USA diverse and broad-based coalition of Advocacy and human rights activists and organizations, were encouraged by your recent remarks at a special meeting of Heads of State from the Great Lakes Region in Addis Ababa. For nearly two decades, Congolese groups across the board have been calling for an inter-Rwandese dialogue as a means to advance peace and stability in the region.

We write to you to encourage your nation to continue to serve in its legacy of peaceful mediation, as it once did, in pre-genocide Rwanda through the negotiations of the Arusha Peace Accords. We also urge you to raise your proposed approach to regional stability to President Obama on his upcoming visit with Tanzania.

We thank you for your engagement, and encourage you to continue to pursue sound and sustainable measures of peace and security in the African Great Lakes Region. We strongly believe in holding all parties involved in the conflict, including the current Rwandan government accountable, and believe any peaceful and sustainable solutions will require engaging all parties.

Our stories are those of tragedy. We lived through pre-genocide Rwanda, where a raging war between the former Rwandan military, and the former Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels created conditions that easily facilitated one of Rwanda’s darkest and saddest moments, the Rwandan Genocide. We subsequently lived through the Rwandan Genocide, and miraculously survived. In both pre, and genocidal Rwanda, we lost friends, and relatives.

We also lived through and witnessed the eventual escalation of the carnage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where six million people have lost their lives, with the conflict still in motion as the M23 and other militias supported by outside powers, continue to wreak havoc on Congolese societies. In both countries, the conflicts were devastating for us personally, and for our communities.

We can no more accept what happened in Rwanda, both with the genocide, and the preceding war, than we can accept the continuation of the deadliest conflict since the Second World War.

Please raise your proposed approach to lasting solutions for regional peace during President Obama’s impending visit to Tanzania! It is in line with a law he passed as a Senator in 2006, PL 109-456 popularly known as the Obama law.


African Great Lakes Coation: African Great Lakes Action Network, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, Friends of the Congo, Foreign Policy in Focus, Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Congo

Barack Obama, United States President
John Kerry, United States Secretary of States
David Cameron, United Kingdom of Great Britain Prime Minister
Justine Greening, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Secretary General
Uwe Corsepius, European Union Secretary General
Ban Ki Moon, United Nations General Secretary