Thursday, September 20, 2012

DR Congo. Verification propaganda from New Times Rwanda

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

DRC: The verification team is on the ground, what next?

“Today, we mark an important milestone in our journey in search for peace in eastern Congo. What brings us here today is to give dignity to the people of this region,” Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda’s defence minister and current chair of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s (ICGLR) ministerial committee on defence, said during the launch of the Joint Verification Mechanism in Goma, Eastern DRC on September 14.

The minister stated the fact that the ICGLR Heads of State and Government shall meet in October 2012, for the fourth time since July, to solely address the eastern Congo conflict, underscores political will.

Except it doesn't underscore any political will. It underscores a willingness to do nothing and allow the people of the DR Congo to carry on suffering   while neighbouring states calculate the risks of their territorial ambitions.  

Kiyonga reminded his audience that the meeting was mainly composed of military strategists from the region, pointing out that outsiders can only render support in seeking solutions to the DRC question but not as prime movers.

“We have partners in the efforts to deal with this problem. The leaders in SADC (Southern African Development Cooperation) have spoken loudly that they are in support of ICGLR initiative on eastern Congo. AU is behind us and UN is willing to support this effort,” the minister argued.

The efforts are designed to help end the latest conflict in eastern DRC pitting government force, FARDC, and the newly-formed M23 rebels, who deserted the army in April accusing Kinshasa of failure to honour its commitments in a March 23, 2009 peace deal, under which the former CNDP
rebels, had been integrated into the official army.

M23 ? Lets just call them the Rwanda expeditionary force.

As the crisis fast unfolded, President Joseph Kabila’s government started to accuse Kigali of backing the rebels, even as the latter was working with the former to try to nip the crisis in the bud.

Propaganda. Sorry the UN points the finger at Rwanda unequivocally. The Congolese people know this I just wish the west would listen to them. 

The JVM is, therefore, supposed to help verify those claims, but also lay the ground for a sustainable solution to the recurrent conflicts in eastern Congo.

Speaking to The New Times, Rwanda’s Defence and Military Spokesperson, Brig. Joseph Nzabamwita, said the JVM is tasked with monitoring and validating all issues related to the conflict in eastern Congo.

Some of the few but salient issues to the conflict revolve around the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda; in view of the fact that the militia largely blamed for that slaughter maintains a foothold in eastern DRC, under the name Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Its mission is to exterminate all Tutsis. 

The Congo is full of militias what is really needed is a proper mandate and rules of engagement for the UN troops. As to the extermination of all Tutsis well not really, this is about far more mundane issues. Greed sums it up.

 In the meantime, FDLR, an internationally blacklisted terrorist organisation, has visited wanton mayhem on a section of Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese perceived to be Tutsis, creating a humanitarian crisis within the region.

The group’s field commander, Sylvestre Mudacumura, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for such atrocities as killings, rapes, among others.

Yes they are bastards of the first order in a field that is full of very bad bastards.

DR Congo, nonetheless, happens to be home to many domestic and foreign militias with almost every village and tribe literally having a militia group. Some of them are ragtag fighters opposed to governments of Uganda and Burundi. Some have no clear agenda while others are fighting over matters of existence.

“In Rwanda, it takes six hours to register a business, but in DR Congo, it takes much less to start a militia,” one security officer joked recently, signalling just how easily state power has been
challenged in that part of the world.

This has been occasioned by so many factors. Some are very recent; others date back to colonial times; while others are self-inflicted. If, for instance, DR Congo supported FDLR only to realise later that
the battled-hardened group had outgrown its own military.

Mostly it is occasioned by indifference on the part of the West. We are happy to throw $5 million US per day at the DR Congo through the UN peace keeping but not allow the UN troops to take out the militias. Lets try something different, let's let the UN actually make a difference and get some value for our investment along the way. Let's look after the interests of the people of the DR Congo let's look after and out for my friend Louise who I have never met or am likely to in this world.

In essence, ICGLR’s mechanism is to lay the ground work for the establishment of an international neutral force to deal with this cobweb of issues.

The neutral force already has an unenviable task on its table; to watch over a borderline stretching between DRC and three of its neighbours, namely Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

Let's not forget the other predators that are in the mix, how are you President Mugabe ?

Nzabamwita agrees that this is not an easy task. 

“Even if it was an aerial surveillance, it would not be easy,” he concedes, adding that the monitors shall concentrate on hotspots, particularly the Rwanda/DR Congo border.

For the international force to be deployed, it must have the blessing of the AU and UN for purposes of legitimacy as required by the international law, and logistical support for it to be functional.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the ICGLR chair, was requested by the recent Heads of State summit in Kampala, to make a case to the international community with a view to garner support for an all-Africa neutral force.

I just don't see this happening the ICGLR is little more than a talkfest with regard to this. 

But Museveni was also requested to “continue with his diplomatic engagements with the parties to the conflict in Eastern DRC with a view to securing a complete cessation of hostilities and putting an end to the crisis, if feasible, through peaceful political means”.

Indeed, there has not been any military confrontation between the M23 rebels and the Congolese army for more than a month. It is hoped that the ceasefire, declared by the rebels at President Museveni’s request, can be built on to avoid further skirmishes and instead work out a negotiated settlement to the crisis. 

Yeah well sometimes you need to resupply and that has a cost.   

Nonetheless, Kinshasa is adamant, insisting there will be no talks between both sides; and participating in the ongoing regional efforts, it continues to send emissaries around the world blaming Kigali for its troubles.

Could it be they have a reason ?  The evidence is overwhelming something the New Times of Rwanda seems unable to point out.

Meanwhile, both the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Security Council have expressed support for the regional peace process, and a Mini-Summit on the DRC crisis – to be attended by regional leaders – will be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week.

Crucially, following a briefing by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, who recently wound up a regional tour, the Security Council on Tuesday pronounced its support for the ICGLR-spearheaded diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.

Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, told reporters that the 15-member body agreed that a political solution to the crisis is “of utmost priority”, according to a UN statement.

Don't hold your breath.

On the military front, African troops have proven that they can handle crises on the continent better than troops drawn from elsewhere. The relative success of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is often given as the example of Africa’s capacity to deal with its own security challenges, while the well funded United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Congo (Monusco), composed of non-African forces, has proven the opposite.

Bullshit the UN can do the job if the security council will give them sensible rules of engagement.

Yet much as ICGLR, backed by the AU, may want the neutral force on the ground urgently, it is faced with logistical and financial difficulties. The region estimates that about 4,000 troops can do the
job, with Tanzania the only country to have categorically promised to contribute soldiers.

Talkfest. Make no mistake this is a mission that none of the participants want to do. The opportunities to plunder are not easy under this scheme and thus it is not attractive to the ICGLR members.  

But analysts suggest the UN may not buy the neutral force idea, not because it is a bad idea, but because it practically amounts to a vote of no confidence in its own peacekeeping force in DRC, Monusco, which was deployed there 13 years ago – and now with a budget of more than US$1.3 billion a year.

The Joint Verification Mechanism is already on the ground since September 14, 2012 with 14 officers, out of 24, with the rest expected in Goma, the seat of the neutral force, any time. 

24 officers ? They all know the scale of the problem crisis. This is a joke. 

DRC and Rwanda, which previously maintained a bilateral JMV, are represented by three senior officers apiece, while the other nine ICGLR member states have two officers each.

“Deployment was hasty. Others are on the way,” Brig. Nzabamwita told The New Times.

All said and done, will the UN allow its own force to be disgraced? Never mind that there is no reputation to protect in the first place.

Oh for fucks sake New Times you are little more than a propaganda organisation certainly not an independent newspaper.

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