The Democratic Republic of Congo remains a failed state, occupied by six foreign armies, tormented by militias and unable to meet the most basic needs of its people. The war, which began in August 1998, has not yet ended.
More than two years after the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, the Inter-Congolese Dialogue officially opened in Addis Ababa on 15 October 2001, under the facilitation of Sir Ketumile Masire, the former President of Botswana.
There are many challenges facing the Lusaka cease-fire signatories and the wider international community in implementing the Congolese peace agreement, but perhaps none so complex as the effort to disarm the non-Congolese armed groups destabilising the region from Congolese bases.
Joseph Kabila, son of the late Laurent Désiré Kabila, speaks a far more peaceful language than that of his bellicose father. But he will not be able to deliver peace alone, and there are already signs that the many parties to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are heading for renewed confrontation.
The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, signed eighteen months ago to stop the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has proved hollow. The accord largely froze the armies in their positions, but did not stop the fighting.
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.
What seems to be turning into a continental war first broke out on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo on 2 August 1998. So far, it has involved a dozen African countries, either directly as combatants in the fighting, or indirectly as mediators in various peace initiatives.
A continental war has begun in Africa. It reaches almost without interruption from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Whereas some of the conflicts along this path started decades ago, a new phase involving more than a dozen states has now begun.
On 2 August 1998, barely 14 months after the end of the war initiated by the anti-Mobutu coalition, the emergence of a new armed movement announced the beginning of a further "war of liberation" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this time against the regime of Laurent Désiré Kabila.
On 2 August 1998, barely 14 months after the fall of the late Zairian President Mobutu, a new armed movement in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the beginning of another “war of liberation”, this time against the regime of Laurent Désiré Kabila.