By Mariam Nalunkuuma
On Thursday last week President Museveni and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed major agreements that will see the two countries bolster cross border trade and development and stabilize Eastern Congo that is wrought with pockets of instability
The signing ceremony was a follow up to the meeting between President Museveni and President Felix Tshisekedi that recently took place at State House Entebbe.
President Yoweri Museveni signed inter-governmental agreement on behalf of Uganda while the Democratic Republic of Congo Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Christophe Lutundula signed on behalf of DRC.
On the same occasion a Project Development Agreement was signed between the two countries on cross boarder roads, Museveni said, peace is bread, roads are butter for the development of the country and the region at large.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport Mr. Bageya Waiswa signed on behalf of Uganda while the DRC Minister of State for Infrastructure and Public Works Alexi Gisaro Muvunyi signed on behalf of the country.
The third PDA agreement was signed with the Dott Services Contractors and witnessed by DR Congo’s Presidential Advisor Bisere Fortunate.
Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, President Museveni applauded his Congolese counterpart and his entire government for ensuring the agreements are signed in the three crucial sectors of roads, electricity and security to bolster development.
“This is just butter on a bread roll. Peace is the bread and roads are the butter. It’s good that President Tshisekedi sent his team to do something about the roads. We are also ready to for the electricity. We took power to Kasindi and now Beni and Butembo. We shall extend to Mahangi. We are ready to work on three things, security, roads and electricity. Even if we don’t do anything else for now, people on both sides will be happy with these,” Museveni said.
Breaking with protocol, President Museveni said a new government has not yet been appointed into place because they need parliament to sit and vet the appointees, adding that it is the reason he had to sign the agreements witnessed by the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Former Ministers including Same Kutesa who was invited as MC, Gen. Katumba Wamala and former Attorney General William Byaruhanga were invited as guests.
“We have not constituted government now. There are only three people, the President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker. There are no ministers. I will sign with the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.
According to Museveni, Uganda and the DR Congo not only share borders but their people are the same.
“The Nandis in Congo, the Bakonjo, Banyoro, Bahema, Banyamboga, Bamba, Hutu, Lendu etc are the same people. When there is insecurity, we are affected directly. We currently have 4000 Congolese refugees in Uganda camps and others in society with their relatives,” he said.
PM Christophe Lutundula who delivered a special message from President Tshisekedi to President Museveni said he trusts him in the three areas of roads, electricity and security and believes that once implemented, the needs of the people here will be met.
“His commitment to these projects is true and firm. We shall implement what is going to be signed today and we believe and are convinced that they will be appreciated and will be of great benefit to the people both current and future generations,” he said.
Lutundula told the president that his counterpart President Tshisekedi trusts and banks on him and the Uganda government to support DRC in the three sectors for the good of the people of the two countries and reiterated his commitment to the implementation of the said programs.
He added that President Tshisekedi was happy with President Museveni’s Pan-African stand that emphasizes Africans finding solutions for her own problems.
According to Lutundula, DRC counts on Uganda to guarantee security in the great lakes region and asked him to take on the leadership in this crucial area.