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This problem of insecurity in Africa can be defeated - Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni has returned from a two-day working trip in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Museveni with H.E Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, and H.E Félix  Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during an interval of the Great Lakes Heads of State summit on Peace, Cooperation and Security in DRC’s capital Kinshasa.

He was in the DRC to attend and address the 10th Heads of State Summit of the Regional Oversight Mechanism (ROM) of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement.

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During the summit, Museveni, who is outgoing chairperson, handed over chairpersonship of the mechanism to the president of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi.

Upon his return to Uganda, Museveni was received at Entebbe International Airport by a number of officials led by Uganda’s vice president, Jessica Alupo.

Museveni said that ROM has dropped the ball with regard to the growing security threats in the Great Lakes Region, and he identified four reasons why:

- The imported pseudo ideology of exclusion and sectarianism

- The handling of security in the region

- Lack of co-operation

- Poor infrastructure and lack of socio-economic transformation

ROM was formed to end the cycles of conflict and violence that have characterised the Great Lakes region, particularly the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Accordingly, 11 countries of the region, including Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the DRC, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia signed on 24 February 2013 the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

They were later joined by two other countries, Kenya and Sudan, which also signed the peace deal on 31 January 2014.

The PSC Framework provides for ROM, which is the main oversight body under the PSC Framework.

It meets once a year at Head of State and Government level to review progress on the implementation of the national and regional commitments of the signatory countries.

The first high-level meeting of ROM took place at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa on 26 May 2013.

During the just concluded summit, Museveni described as "ideological bankruptcy" the belief that the groups causing insecurity in the region do not belong here.

"In the Great Lakes, we have known the people who live there since time immemorial. The ones who live in the grasslands, in the mountains and forest regions, but some have been promoting a pseudo ideology of exclusion. This is what caused big problems in Rwanda and Burundi and other parts," he said.

Museveni, the former chairperson of the ROM, said this chauvinism is what has led to mishandling of security issues, causing suffering and displacements.

"We are very rich in refugees. We [Uganda] have got 1.7 million refugees. These refugees are not coming from the moon but from the Great Lakes region, caused by insecurity and attacks by criminal groups."

According to Museveni, the groups causing insecurity in the region can all be defeated from what he has observed over the last decades.

"This problem of insecurity in Africa, which is becoming bigger and bigger, can be defeated. Our elders like Mwalimu Nyerere [Tanzania], Kenneth Kaunda [Zambia] and others with friendly fighters from Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, defeated bigger problems.”

"We were able to defeat the whites in Southern Africa and Namibia. How can we fail to defeat these reluctant groups? That means there's something that is missing which our elders did and we're not doing," said Museveni.

"There's now more capacity than Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia had in 1974 when the African armies defeated the Portuguese Army in Africa."

"I can tell you, if we co-operate, there's no security problem we cannot defeat in Africa. I'm telling you this because I know it," said Museveni.

The two-day summit involved varied heads of state and representatives from the 13 countries in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Namely, Uganda, DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Presidents Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville), Ali Bongo Odimba (Gabon), Jose Eduardos Santos (Angola), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) and Évariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi) all attended.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN undersecretary on peace operations, was also present.

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