Congo oh Congo – Umpteen.0 reloaded


Congo’s regime leader Joseph Kabila seems to have shaken off the stunning blow delivered during the recently concluded Francophone Summit in Kinshasa, when both the French President and the Canadian Prime Minister accused him publicly of stealing the elections and of an atrocious human rights record, when he returned to his usual belligerent self in accusing Uganda and Rwanda to be the source of his own troubles.

Congo had openly opposed Rwanda’s election as a non permanent member of the UN Security Council and this week invited a number of opposition scribes from Uganda to Kinshasa where he wined and dined them before laying into the Kampala government. Kabila claimed the loss of investments in Congo and the absence of tourists was directly linked to Uganda’s and Rwanda’s involvement in the civil war in Eastern Congo, where his regime plays willing host to killer militias and terrorist training camps aimed to destabilize the neighbouring countries. It is in the east of the Congo where powerful mining interests in league with his regime, and often hand in hand with militias and allegedly even the Congo army, run slave labour mines, while doing little if anything to ensure that protected areas like the Parc de Virunga, with its prized gorillas, are left alone.

Said a periodic source close to the seat of power in Kampala on condition of not being named: ‘Let him invite opposition mouthpieces and give them hate material. We know them from here, it is not new to us. It proves our point that sections of our media are fueled and driven by a foreign agenda and serve foreign masters. But they have failed to make any impact. When Kabila was in Kampala for our Golden Jubilee celebrations we held a summit. He realized all the EAC countries have stood together and exposed his schemes for what they are. If he raises the lack of tourists in East Congo, it is not a result of external meddling like he does it but as result of the lack of security he is responsible for. Let us remind ourselves that the Bwindi massacre was perpetrated by killers Congo gave refuge to and permitted to move freely. We and our Rwandan brothers simply defend our own territory and protect our own important tourism industry which prospers in the border triangle. And while we cannot always say what is on our minds, I like the way you wrote about the recent outbreaks being linked to the flood of refugees we received from Eastern Congo. We provide shelter for these poor people. Many flee not just from the fighting but from ethnic discrimination, perhaps ethnic cleansing. And when they come in their thousands they cannot be screened when they cross for what illnesses they bring and then we in Uganda have to deal with it. We would long be declared polio free for instance but for the constant threat of a case here and there along the Congo border. They have no health care network there, so people even cross the borders illegally to seek treatment here. And you are right, he [Kabila] would not invite you of course, he can only invite 5th column scribes who are willingly serving his purposes’.

Both the Uganda and Rwanda government are expected to react in due course to this latest verbal broadside from Kinshasa but will probably be undeterred in their expressed views that there is no evidence linking any official government contacts with individuals or groups on the ground in Eastern Congo other than using diplomatic means to bring the fighting to an end. Watch this space as Congo, oh Congo adds yet another chapter.

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