Leaders seek neighbours’  firepower to destroy M23

The chairman for Kisoro District Leaders Forum,  Mr John Kamara (in yellow shirt), and other members after the group’s annual general meeting in Kisoro Town on Saturday. PHOTO/ROBERT MUHEREZA

What you need to know:

  • The Kisoro District Leaders’  Forum says the fighting is affecting trade between DR Congo and Uganda.

The Kisoro District Leaders Forum has appealed to the heads of State of East Africa to urgently intervene and flush out the M23 rebels who are creating insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
The leaders made the communication on Saturday during their second annual general meeting in Kisoro Town.
Heavy fighting between the M23 rebels and the Congolese government in Chanzu, Kiisiza, Ruyoni, and Mbuzi in the north Kivu province erupted last month forcing more than 20,000 Congolese refugees to flee to Uganda through Bunagana border in Kisoro District.

 “Insecurity in the eastern DR Congo is a threat to cross border trade especially at the time when Uganda is planning to construct a multi-million industrial park in Bunagana Town and the Bunagana-Goma road,” Mr John Kamara, the chairman of Kisoro District Leaders’ Forum and Bufumbira North MP, said.
Fr Emmanuel Safari, a member of the Kisoro District Leaders’ Forum, said:  “I call upon all religious leaders in the country to pray for the Congolese nationals who have fled their homes and are currently being accommodated in Kisoro as refugees. Let us all pray for God’s mercy so that the rebels and the Congolese government can reconcile instead of causing bloodshed and untold suffering to the innocent citizens.” 

The group also emphasized their commitment to fighting sectarianism based on religion and tribes and resolved to isolate the perpetrators. 
 “This forum will continue to fight a group of people who deceive the public that the people in Kisoro are divided on religion and tribe [which is not the case]. We have established that such people are using this negative trend to gain personal interests and favours from the government,” Mr Amos Hakizimana, the Kisoro District Council speaker, said. 

He added: “We had a Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Peter Mugisha, and his deputy, Mr Dan Ndikumwami, who were dropped in the recent reshuffle for unknown reasons yet they did great mobilisation that made President Museveni win with 91 percent in Kisoro in the 2021 General Election. We are not happy with such tendencies that are denying us committed and patriotic NRM party cadres.”
Mr Hakizimana said some of the presidential pledges such as the construction of John Kale Institute of Science and Technology, the expansion of Kisoro air field, tarmacking of the tourism roads in the area have not been fulfilled because of some self-seekers who claim that the district is divided on religious and tribal lines for their personal benefits.

Mr Hakizimana wondered why in the recent reshuffle for RDCs, no one from Kisoro was appointed.
The forum leaders resolved to petition President Museveni to schedule a meeting for them so that they can table their grievances because they feel their district is not getting a share of the national cake.

About the forum
The Kisoro District Leaders’ Forum was formed in 2021 with an objective of fostering unity and development in Kisoro District. The forum is composed of local and religious leaders from all religious institutions, civil society and business organisations.