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Vol 41 No 17

Published 1st September 2000


A losing gamble

Under renewed military pressure President Kabila's regime does not understand the strength of its opponents

President Laurent-Désiré Kabila had hoped that his opponents' quarrels would bring him a quick victory. After the Rwandan forces had defeated their former Ugandan allies at Kisangani in June, Kabila launched heavy attacks against the armed opposition in Equateur province. The result was a military and diplomatic disaster, and made a fiasco of the latest Southern African Development Community summit in Lusaka on 14-15 August. The meeting brought together the leaders of the SADC states, and of Rwanda and of Uganda, in an attempt to get the peace process back on track. Yet none of Kabila's fellow Presidents, not even his Namibian ally Sam Nujoma, could persuade him to accept Botswana's former President Ketumile Masire as official facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue, or to accept United Nations' peacekeepers in government-held areas.

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