Congo oh Congo, when will it ever end


Host Joseph Kabila of the Congo DR, ended up with egg all over his face when in an uncharacteristic broadside not just one but two key participants of the just ended Francophone Summit in Kinshasa first told him off before taking aim at the UN’s MONUSCO mission. And it was not in whispers in the corridors but from the lectern of the hall to the plenary, when he was branded to have stolen the elections, being an undemocratic despot and a serial abuser of human rights.

The French President, unlike his predecessor, wasted no time with niceties when he reportedly said that the situation in the Congo DR was: ‘totally unacceptable in terms of human rights, democracy and the recognition of the opposition’ before stumping his host further by publicly meeting opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who is under constant watch by the ever more totalitarian and paranoid regime.

Canada’s Prime Minister added insult to injury when wading yet more into the murky waters of Congolese politics when blasting from the podium about the: ‘complete unacceptability of failures in the electoral process and the abuse of human rights that are taking place in this country’ before repeating his clarion call on the UN’s MONUSCO mission of two years ago, saying what the everyone knows, namely that it was not effective. The UN mission in Congo had oftentimes come under fire when troops were found to trade weapons for minerals, diamonds and gold, displaying open bias on where to keep the peace and whom to pursue, making it all but clear they had almost become stooges of the Kinshasa regime and of powerful business interest groups. It also brought back recollections in Rwanda about the dismal failure of one Koffi Annan in 1994 to expand the UN’s peace keeping in Rwanda but through the withdrawal of the mission personnel opened the flood gates of the genocide which claimed up to a million lives in the space of 100 days before the country got liberated by the RPF.

In turn the UN was, not having learned a thing from past failures, swift to ‘leak’ once again allegations against Uganda and Rwanda from what was supposed to be a confidential and yet unpublished reports into the public domain, playing again into the hands of the Congo regime and their financial backers with huge interests in mining and logging. Blaming Rwanda and Congo however was a predictable escape route, equally ending in a dead end like before, as evidence is lacking that the M23 liberation movement in Eastern Congo was indeed benefiting from illegal support with weapons and ammunition by the governments in Kampala and Kigali. Fighting the killer militias which enjoy the Kinshasa regime’s hospitality and freedom to roam at will , the groups responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda continue to pose a serious threat to the border regions between Eastern Congo on one side and of Uganda and Rwanda on the other side, threatening not only security in both countries – allegedly regularly attempting to infiltrate newly trained terror recruits into neighbouring territories – and also posing a threat to the vibrant tourism industries centred around gorilla tracking in the border triangle.

Thus exposed as biased, Kigali and Kampala wasted no time in mounting their defense and categorically dismissing the leaks as works of fiction and bare of substance, knowing that they now have the backing of the East African Community member states. Part of the recent series of meetings of Great Lakes region countries, the EAC partners have finally understood the dubious role of the UN and the aggression by Kinshasa. Kabila, with the help of misguided ‘friends’ on the continent has been fending off demands for a regional peace keeping force to either take over or supplement the UN MONUSCO mission, and to be inserted into precisely those hotspots where regime troops and their own militias leave the genocide gangs well alone or at worst make financial arrangements for ‘royalties’ on what slave mining produces in riches.

It is good to note that opinion finally seems to shift towards accepting the reality on the ground and no longer take for granted the web of lies constructed by Kinshasa and co, realizing that were it not for the firm stand by Rwanda and Uganda in defending their territory, the entire region could have descended into chaos under the cover of which the mineral riches could be robbed with greater ease. Regional politics made plain in a rare excursion from tourism and conservation to the politics of regional power struggles. Watch this space.