DRC-M23 Peace Deal: How It happened


information pills sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>M23 leader, information pills Mr Bertrand Bisiimwa, signed the declaration of commitments on behalf of the Movement of March 23 (M23) followed by the Congolese Minister for foreign affairs, Tshibanda Raymond, at State House, Nairobi as witnessed by president Museveni of Uganda and Kenyatta of Kenya.

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The two declarations taken together articulate the 11 points that were negotiated and agreed upon by the parties.

Needlessly to say, the signing came after a long process of doubt and uncertainty on the side of the Kinshasa government as opposed to the M-23 rebel group as well as the mediator, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The meetings between government and the rebels started in April 2012 at the request of Kabila and United Nations Secretary General; Ban Ki-moon after the combatants took Goma.

Formal dialogue started on December 9, 2012 till November 3, 2013 and yet still, the talks were never cemented with ink as the Kinshasa government withdrew at the last hour demanding that the declaration be edited since it never considered M-23 as a legitimate political party.

Below is a blow-by-blow account of how events unfolded before the deal’s signing as provided in the communique:

Following the request by H.E. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the DRC and by H.E Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations to H. E. Yoweri K. Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of ICGLR; and the decision of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Extraordinary Summit on 8th August 2012 concerning the security situation in eastern DRC; and the Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) signed at Kampala on 24 November 2012, requesting the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to give the M23 a hearing, to evaluate its grievances and to respond to those which proved legitimate.

1. President Yoweri K. Museveni took on the task of mediating between the Government of the DRC and M23.

2. Formal dialogue started on 9th December 2012 and ended on 3rd November 2013.

The facilitation of the dialogue was carried out on behalf of President Museveni by Uganda’s Minister of Defence, Dr. Crispus W. C. B. Kiyonga, with the support of the ICGLR Secretariat and technical assistance from Mrs. Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and from the United Nations, New York.

3. On 5th November 2013 at Kampala, Uganda, M23 issued a declaration that it had renounced rebellion and had requested its combatants to prepare for the process of disarmament, demobilisation and social reintegration.

On 6th November 2013, the DRC Government issued its own declaration taking note of the renunciation of rebellion by M23 and announced that it was going to take measures to facilitate and render irreversible the renunciation of the rebellion by M23.

4. Today the DRC Government and M23 have respectively signed Declarations reflecting the consensus reached during the Kampala Dialogue on steps necessary to end the armed activities of M23 and on measures necessary for the realization of long term stability, reconciliation and development in eastern DRC. The two Declarations taken together articulate the eleven points that were negotiated and agreed upon by the Parties.

In summary the eleven points are:

(i) Decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate political party;

(ii) Amnesty to members of M23 only for acts of war and insurgency;

(iii) Transitional security arrangements leading to disarmament;

(iv) Release of M23 members under detention by the DRC Government for acts of war and rebellion;

(v) Demobilisation of the former M23 combatants;

(vi) Return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes;

(vii) Formation of a commission to handle confiscated, extorted, stolen, looted and destroyed properties, including land;

(viii) National reconciliation and justice;

(ix) Social, security and economic reforms;

(x) Implementation of the conclusions of the review of the implementation of the 23rd March 2009 Agreement; and

(xi) Implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the agreed positions.

The Declaration by the DRC Government and the Declaration by M23 are attached to this Communique as Annexes 1 and 2 respectively, and articulate the eleven points (attached as Annex 3).

5. It will be recalled that at the end of the Joint ICGLR-SADC Summit on 4th November 2013 in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, the Heads of State and Government of ICGLR and SADC countries in their Joint Communique noted that all the eleven issues under discussion in the Kampala Dialogue had been agreed upon and an agreement was to be signed.

6. On 2nd December 2013, following a Summit between H. E. President Joseph Kabila Kabange and H. E. President Yoweri K. Museveni at Entebbe, Uganda, a Communique was issued calling for the conclusion of the Kampala Dialogue in order to facilitate the peaceful return of M23 ex- combatants and the completion of the demobilization process.

7. Accordingly, we the Chairpersons of ICGLR and SADC acting on behalf of our respective sub-regions hereby witness the Declarations respectively signed by the M23 and the DRC Government.

8. We welcome the conclusion of the Kampala Dialogue and commend the parties for this achievement. We encourage them to fulfil their commitments.

9. We thank the team of Special Envoys led by Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, which included:

(a) Mr. Boubacar Diarra Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission for the Great Lakes Region;

(b) Mr. Russell Feingold, Special Envoy of the United States to the Great Lakes region;

(c) Mr. Koen Vervaeke, Senior Coordinator of the European Union, for the Great Lakes Region; and

(d) Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) for their diplomatic engagement, which invaluably supported the facilitation of the Kampala Dialogue.

10. We commend Dr Crispus Kiyonga Minister of Defense of the Republic of Uganda for his tireless efforts in facilitating the talks till their logical conclusion.

11. We also commend the Executive Secretariats of ICGLR and SADC for their support to the process and call upon them to remain engaged to support implementation of the commitments.

12. Finally we call upon the international partners, particularly the United Nations and the African Union to work together and provide support and resources to the Government of the DRC for the implementation of the commitments made at the Kampala Dialogue and its follow-up process, as appropriate.

Done in Nairobi, Kenya, December 12, 2013

H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni

President of the Republic of Uganda


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