Last month, senior diplomats from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo met to discuss bilateral relations, specifically a $10 billion fine the International Court of Justice levied on Uganda in 2005 over its incursions into the DRC. In an email interview, Gaaki Kigambo, a journalist in Uganda, discussed current efforts to improve relations between Uganda and the DRC.
WPR: What is the history of Uganda’s intervention in the DRC’s wars since the 1990s?
Gaaki Kigambo: Uganda first entered the Democratic Republic of Congo—then called Zaire—in 1996, apparently in hot pursuit of rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who had repeatedly conducted deadly raids across Uganda’s western border. Rwanda invaded the DRC around the same time in order to dismantle refugee camps that remnants of the former Rwandan government’s army were using to launch raids into Rwanda. Both countries, at the behest of Rwanda, forced then-Congolese President Mobutu out of office and installed Laurent-Desire Kabila as president, gaining power and influence in return. When Kabila moved to reduce Rwandan and Ugandan influence, the two countries turned against him, sparking the so-called Second Congo War in 1998 that involved nine African countries and lasted six years.