The African Union’s New LRA Special Envoy: Who is Francisco Madeira?

 

With the recent African Union, or A.U., announcement of the selection of a special envoy, many keen observers of anti-LRA initiatives have been wondering: Who is Francisco Caetano José Madeira, and what will he contribute to the efforts to end the destabilizing activities and atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army? A lifelong Mozambican diplomat with familiarity in the Great Lakes region as well as years of service to both the United Nations and the A.U., Madeira brings over three decades of diplomatic experience to the post of LRA special envoy.

The A.U. communiqué indicates that Madeira will work with the governments of LRA-affected countries to “provide overall political and strategic coordination of the operation against the LRA…assist in mobilizing assistance for the victims of the LRA atrocities, the rebuilding of shattered communities and the rehabilitation of the affected areas.” Additionally, he will coordinate with the A.U.’s bilateral and multilateral partners contributing to the effort to end the LRA.

Born in Beira, Mozambique in 1954, Madeira holds degrees in international relations and law. He joined the Mozambican diplomatic service in 1975 and served as ambassador to several African countries between 1984 and 1989. Domestically, Madeira served the president’s office as minister for parliamentary affairs from 1995 to 1999 and as minister for diplomatic affairs from 2000 to 2010. He became a member of the National Parliament of Mozambique in 2005.  

Madeira has experience on several negotiation and facilitation teams across the African continent. He was a member of the government delegation sent to Rome to negotiate the peace accords with RENAMO in the early 1990s, which ended the 15 year-long Mozambican civil war. Following his participation in the successful signing of the Rome General Peace Accords, Madeira assisted both former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and former South African President Nelson Mandela as a member of the facilitation teams for the Arusha Peace Negotiations on Burundi. He continued his mediation work as the OAU/A.U. special envoy for the Comoros from 1999 to 2010 and then as the A.U. special envoy to São Tomé and Príncipe, following that country’s 2003 coup d’etat.       

Madeira has some significant experience with LRA-specific issues. Madeira served as a special representative of the Mozambican government to the Great Lakes region. He also worked closely with the current Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, during the ultimately unsuccessful 2006 to 2008 negotiations with the LRA. Additionally, Madeira assisted former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano during his time as the U.N. special envoy for LRA-affected areas.

Perhaps the most intriguing point on Madeira’s resume is his role as the A.U.’s special representative in charge of counter-terrorism cooperation and the head of the Algiers-based  African Centre for Studies and Research on Terrorism. He will hold these two positions concurrently with his responsibilities as the LRA special envoy. This expansion of Madeira’s counter-terrorism portfolio coincides with the A.U.’s designation of the LRA as a terrorist group. The United States, a key ally in the anti-LRA fight has declared the leader Joseph Kony a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. It is clear that the A.U. hopes to leverage Madeira’s counter-terrorism credentials in the fight against the LRA stating he “will bring his counter-terrorism expertise to bear on the efforts aimed at putting an end to the criminal activities of the LRA."

Madeira has been appointed on an interim basis, “pending the conclusion of the ongoing consultations with the countries concerned regarding [his] appointment.”

Photo: African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (african-union.org)

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