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Life Reflections

Cry, the beloved DR Congo

By November 25, 2013June 6th, 2023No Comments

1st November 2013

Yesterday a number of psychologists were said to have found that people tend to tell lies more in the afternoon than in the morning. It’d be interesting if they also carried out their experiment on the international community.

On one hand, can anyone define the form and content of this body? On another, is anyone safe from its snooping and its penchant for spoiling even for what we thought were its member parts, despite its denials, going by what’s happening in Europe? It’s as if spinning yarns is its full-time occupation.

First this amorphous body announced to all that Rwanda was suspected of being behind the formation of M23. Next, Rwanda was reportedly supporting M23. Then she was reportedly recruiting for the rebels. Soon the group was confirmed as Rwanda-backed M23 for which she was recruiting child-soldiers.

But, as we were waiting to be amazed by what else Rwanda was capable of, M23 suddenly became “ants’ feathers”!

That formidable fighting extension of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) dissolved in the face of the Congolese army (FARDC). The same rebels that FARDC in combination with MONUSCO could not dare face in Goma the other day, became simple hot air. Yet the world knew that FARDC, MONUSCO and the new Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) all together would not be caught for a second facing off with Rwanda.

So, why is no one celebrating? Excepting President Joseph Kabila, no one seems to have felt any triumph over M23’s seemingly definite defeat. Kabila, too, gave a feeble expression of achievement, attributing his country’s victory to the Congolese citizenry. But knowing, as we do, that the victory belongs to MONUSCO-FIB, more than it does to FARDC, have the peace-keepers/interveners become part of his citizenry?

If it’s that, considering how long the international community, dispatchers of those peace-keepers, have been claiming citizens’ rights (mineral and all), President Jacob Zuma seems to have come rather late in the day. Still, of course, the South African president landed his prize. However, by the time the presidents of Tanzania and Malawi come to claim their pound of flesh, one wonders if DRC will still have flesh around ‘its mines-skeleton’!

So, taking all the above into account, it’d seem that M23 was a creature of an international community conspiracy. Or else, why scare FARDC that it was pitted against the fearsome Rwandan army?

Maybe if it’d dared challenge M23 instead of taking to its heels at the slightest sound of gunfire, the rebels’d have disappeared as they just did.

Imagine the pain the citizens of eastern DRC have had to suffer. The resources that have been spent on dousing these phantom fires would’ve gone into uplifting the lives of the Congolese citizenry – hopefully not into lining their leaders’ pockets.

Rwanda, too, would’ve been spared the anguish of having to shoulder heaps of lies – and whatever followed those lies.

While the international community is at it, however, it should not forget that DRC is still infested with real, killer rebels. A knowledgeable Congolese has put the count of these rebel groups at 56, with an additional M18 and Mai-Mai Cheka springing up the other day. Now that M23 is no more, MONUCO-FIB-FARDC should put all their effort in eradicating all rebels. Hopefully that Mai-Mai Cheka (‘cheka’, Kiswahili for ‘laugh’) has no intention of having the last laugh!

And, whatever citizens’ rights they claim, the peace enforcers should not forget the task that brought them to DRC in the first place. It was to neutralise Forces Démocartiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), a task they’ve decided to shelve, as they watch it fight in the ranks of FARDC. Apart from FDLR being a threat to neighbouring Rwanda, these terrorists are also the reason that creature, M23, took up arms.

As far as anyone knows, if it exists, M23 put up resistance only in Kibumba, at the beginning of this latest flare-up. Having lost a minimal number of its fighters, it is still intact with its arms. This means that what may happen in the coming days is anyone’s guess.

Is it capable of regrouping; is it a spent force? And, most crucially, can M23 fighters bear to sit in hiding as their parents languish in despicable refugee camp conditions in Rwanda and Uganda?

It is good that, unlike Kabila and his lieutenants, the international community insists on the resumption and conclusion of the Kampala peace talks. However, there is no doubt that convincing a victorious DRC to sit around a table with a vanquished rival will prove tenuous. Unless Kabila knows what’s good for his country, this victory may be his undoing.

There is no doubt about it. A durable solution is only possible with the active participation of Kabila’s Great Lakes Region neighbours in the search for a negotiated peace settlement.

Only neighbours can exorcise the spell cast on DRC by the West.

Will Kabila find it in himself to divorce the West as determiners of his country’s destiny? Or will he be the first Congolese leader to embrace his neighbours for the sake of his tortured country? DRC is at a crossroads.

Whether Kabila will take the right turn, your guess is as good as mine.

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