An indication of the seriousness with which the AU views LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) comes with the announcement of a special envoy to oversee the continental body’s regional co-operation initiative for its elimination.
Retired lieutenant general Jackson Kiprono Tuwei of Kenya takes over from Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira who remains the AU Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism Co-operation and Director of the Algiers-based African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT).
He previously dual-hatted as AU Special envoy for the LRA issue, which the continental body has called RCA-LRA (Regional Co-operation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army).
Tuwei will work on overall co-ordination in consultation with member countries of RCI-LRA and he is also charged with mobilising international support toward eliminating LRA and rehabilitating areas and people adversely affected by LRA.
Among those Tuwei will engage with are the newly appointed UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abdoulaye Bathily, other UN agencies as well as the EU and United States, both of which are providing financial and logistic support for the implementation of RCI-LRA.
Tuwei served for 38 years in the Kenya Defence Force (KDF).
AU chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, thanked Madeira who for 20 months held down two posts.
“Since it was launched in March 2012 RCI-LRA under Madeira’s leadership as special envoy, has registered commendable progress. This included full operationalisation of all contingents as well as sectors of the regional task force (RTF), greater co-ordination among member countries of the RCI-LRA and mobilisation of international support. These efforts have resulted in the significant degradation of the command and fighting capacity of LRA and a relative improvement in the humanitarian situation on the ground,” she said.