From 15-18th, 2009, there will be a launch of a long delayed inter-ethnic reconciliation conference, finally being organized in the town of Baraka, South Kivu of DRCongo.
This much anticipated conference will bring together various ethnic/tribes of Southern Kivu for reconciliation purposes.
The conference is being organized jointly by Babembe and Banyamulenge under the leadership of Mr. Sebatware Kijana.
This conference is surprisingly important in many ways:
First, the organizers are not political or religious figures, but a young dynamic team under the leadership of a young man who believe to have been called by God to do this important work.
Second, it is hosted by Babembe, who are collectively willing to not only invite their fellow Banyamulenge, but also host them in their town, houses and families during the conference.
This will undoubtly bring back the nostalgic memories of good old days when the two groups used to fellowship together peacefuly, interact, socialize and crack jokes about each other.
Lastly, this is not a government manipulated initiative where people are compelled to meet for political or financial reasons. It is a community initiative, done by the people for the people.
The majority of participants at the conference are expected to be Babembe and Banyamulenge, who, in the past have been bitter enemies and responsible for mutual self-near annihilation.
It is worthy remembering that after 15 long and painful years of wars and conflict that took lives of hundreds of thousands people in Kivu, these people might be at the verge of finally putting behind their demons of hate, and ignorance due mainly by a bad governance and poverty.
Although these two ethnic groups did have a peaceful coexistence and mutual relationships, the Babembe tribe started the conflict 1996 by killing thousands of innoncent Banyamulenge in the village of Kabila, Bibogobogo, Baraka and the neighbouring areas. They also took hostage, a number of Banyamulenge women and children (girls) who survived the massacre, and took with them in Tanzania after raping them and eventually forcefully married them in the refugee camps of Tanzania. Most of those Banyamulenge women are still their wives in those Tanzania refugee camps.
Consequently, Babembe also accuse Banyamulenge soldiers for killing many Babembe and causing others to go in refugee camps in neighboring countries. This tic for tat might be over they both really mean business at the conference.
The organizers say that there will be workshop discussions, and talk sessions during the day, and then time for prayer in the evening.
This conference could be a milestone and a good foundation for peace and reconciliation between these two rival tribes, largely responsible for their own miseries.
The organizers of the conference need as much financial and moral support as possible, and would like to request any contribution by anyone who wishes to see a peaceful Kivu.
Eyes of many people in the region are fixed on the hopeful result of what might be a historical meeting.
Long live Kivu’s Peace
Journal minembwe http://www.mulenge.blogspot.com/