Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DR Congo. The crocodile tears flow

New Vision reports

Uganda angered by UN report on Congo

The Government has reacted with disdain to a UN Security Council's Group of Experts report that has accused Uganda and Rwanda of arming M23 rebels fighting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government.

In a rebuttal, Uganda now points to a ploy by Western countries with vested interests in DRC of peddling a stance that would derail the regional efforts chaired by President Yoweri Museveni to end the conflict.

Museveni, as the current chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), has chaired four summits in a row since July aimed at defusing the resurgence of conflict in the DRC. The latest summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo approved the deployment of a Neutral International Force (NIF) to patrol disputed areas.

Ugandan Government Press Release here ( I can't get it to copy  across ).

A couple of observations though, Uganda is accused in the report of providing M23 with support.

" The report - seen by Reuters news agency on Tuesday - says army units from Rwanda and Uganda have helped M23 expand its control of territory in the war-torn east of DR Congo."

This is totally unacceptable but I am unsure as to the truth of it with regard to Uganda the report later claims that Ugandan  support is limited.

 "While Rwandan officials co-ordinated the creation of the rebel movement as well as its major military operations, Uganda's more subtle support to M23 allowed the rebel group's political branch to operate from within Kampala and boost its external relations," it said.

Uganda is trying to to maintain a cease fire between M23 and the DR Congo army and it would be astonishing if they didn't allow the political arm of M23 to operate in Kampala. America did much the same with regard to the IRA in the British / Irish shambles. Another point in Uganda's favour had been its treatment of Congolese refugees see my post Kubwa Habari kutoka Uganda I am not prepared to judge Uganda on the evidence I have seen to date.

New Times Rwanda confirms it is a propaganda tool of the Kagame regime and has ignored the UN Experts report totally. It does report on the DR Congo in a cynical opinion piece on the Francophonie summit that does nothing to enlighten anyone but does confirm my view that anything published by New Times is well... eligible for entry in the Booker prize for fiction. 

All Africa  on the other hand has reaction from Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

Rwanda: Government Takes the Fight to the UN GOE

" We will not take this kind of treatment lying down - Mushikiwabo"
After months of attempting to placate western governments intent on pinning the blame for the DRC chaos on Rwanda, the tide it seems, is about to turn.
The Government of Rwanda is set to pursue legal action against a United Nations-appointed Group of Experts that has accused Rwanda of fermenting dissent and political chaos in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

I wonder what court they are going to litigate this in. The court of public opinion ? Well failing big time there Rwanda. I have no idea where they can litigate this it certainly doesn't come under the jurisdiction of the ICC. 

" The Court may exercise jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  These crimes are defined in detail in the Rome Statute.
The accused is a national of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the jurisdiction of the Court;
The crime took place on the territory of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the jurisdiction of the Court; or 
The United Nations Security Council has referred the situation to the Prosecutor, irrespective of the nationality of the accused or the location of the crime."

Rwanda has been widely accused of arming and training a rebel group known as the M23, which is a mutinous faction of the DRC Army composed mainly of fighters formerly of the CNDP rebel group that were integrated into the army following a 2009 Rwanda-negotiated peace accord but claim that the DRC government has since reneged on the deal.
The Rwanda government has subsequently been subjected to various types of punitive action including suspension of financial aid by major donors such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, all the while maintaining its innocence.
Sort of left out the USA in that propaganda effort they also cut aid. Very selective memory Minister Mushikiwabo.
After cooperating willingly with all demands made by the foreign governments so willing to pronounce Rwanda guilty without any tangible evidence, and producing evidence that proves the allegations as baseless, the aid embargo was eventually lifted and the situation cooled, but nonetheless continues to cast a long shadow over the government's foreign allegiances.
The embargo has been relaxed not lifted and I would hope it is not only reintroduced but that it is extended. The problem is that foreign governments made one demand, put simply get the fuck out of the DR Congo.  Rwanda in its over confident, arrogant and frankly stupid opportunism decided to covertly continue with its destabilising efforts in the DR Congo. From an observers perspective the ineptitude that Rwanda has done this with is astonishing, Minister Mushikiwabo please explain .   The BBC is the worlds most respected media organisation. It can't be bought off even by the British government so you have a major problem of your own manufacturing. 
After President Paul Kagame's recent heartfelt speech regarding foreign aid and international justice being used as a 'dangling carrot' to dictate how Africans must live, the Rwanda government will no longer accept to play victim in this matter. Instead, it's taking the fight to the oppressors.
Orwellian usage of " victim : and " oppressors " is noted. That unfortunatly has been the nature of all the denials from the Kagame regime.   
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, speaking yesterday to New York based Metro Newspaper, had tough words for the UN Group of Experts, and in particular its coordinator, Steven Hege.
"We will not take this kind of treatment lying down," Mushikiwabo stated.
The Foreign Minister categorically stated that Hege's long history of opposition towards the Rwandan government is well documented and that the panel has been "hijacked" by his political agenda.
" Hege was appointed to head the Group of Experts (GoE) on DRC on June 25, 2010. Members are Marie Plamadiala (Moldova), Ruben de Koenig (Netherlands), Steven Spittaels (Belgium), Nelson Alusala (Kenya), Emilie Serralta (France) and Hege (USA)."

Lets have a look
" A U.N. human rights official, Marie Plamadiala, warned the Security Council that the U.N. could be held responsible for human rights violations committed by the Congolese army.
The Congolese army, "is indeed supported by MONUC. And they are indeed committing these human rights violations. We should address these violations otherwise we could be considered complicit," she said in Kiwanja, where more than 100 people were killed last year."

Clearly a woman hijacked by a pro DR Congo agenda. The Rwandan  rhetoric doesn't stand up to any scrutiny however cursory that scrutiny might be. 

She also revealed that in order to clarify matters once and for all, the government had retained the services of Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump to review Mr. Hege's prior writings on Rwanda, which carried out extensive research into Hege's writings and concluded that his placement as chair of the committee was questionable at the very least.

This is starting to go further than verging on the ridiculous, Akin Gump's wikipedia page reads like an advert for them but they probably wrote it so no surprises there. Here is a exert from an internal email by partner Steven Pesner of Akin Gump. 

9. For those of you who think you are exempt from doing time sheets on a daily basis, I’d suggest that you re-evaluate your importance and get ready to prove that (a) you are busier than I am on legal work, (b) you are busier than I am on client development work, (c) you are busier than I am on firm work and (d) [redacted] and I do not have better things to do with our time than beg you to be responsible;

10. Candidly, I’d put every future material violator’s name in a hat, randomly pick out a name, and publicly fire the person on the spot—to demonstrate that time sheet compliance is serious business. And incidentally, it is my understanding that the job market is not so good right now in case you did not know;

Candidly, you seem like a horrible person. Yes, the job market “is not so good right now.” So, why to be a tool and bring that up in the context of theoretically firing somebody whose name you picked out of a hat. Did you think that sharing your sick little fantasy involving your own power over the careers and livelihoods of the people who work for you would sound funny? Or would better express the seriousness of your concerns? A petty despot can have a man hanged to set an example for his people; it doesn’t make him any less odious. Elie Mystal

Akin Gump concluded, "The lack of transparency, the reliance on questionable sources and the complete lack of analysis of witness bias, motivation or contradictory evidence in the conclusions reached [make] those conclusions highly unreliable."

I think we will describe that as opinion from Akin Gump not evidence there is a difference.
"The fact-based evidence, which was vetted by Akin Gump and submitted to the Security Council, in the case of Hege, is damning in the extreme and should have disqualified him from taking the position as coordinator of the Group of Experts in the first place." Mushikiwabo pointed out.

Fuck the woman is a cabinet minister and can't distinguish between a paid for opinion and facts. OK Mushikiwabo the only fact you have given us is that your government paid a legal firm to come to a opinion, not even a legal opinion just an opinion that unsurprisingly supports your view point. That is why you pay them. In the court of public opinion the only court available to you, you just fucked up your case. 
Hege has been exposed as an FDLR sympathizer by his 2009 writings entitled "Understanding the FDLR," where he describes, falsely, the current Rwandan government as made up of illegitimate outsiders, a "Ugandan Tutsi elite," and that peace in our region is only possible "when international opinion eventually sours on the Rwandan regime."
Hege has since pulled the article off the internet, and remains mum on the issue.
Minister Mushikiwabo also called the entire UN selection process of its committees as "broken" and in need of repair, saying that not only Rwanda but other African countries as well have been hurt by these "miscarriages of justice."

Or it could be that Africa needs strong institutions not strong men. Crocodiles tend to fuck up democracy. Have a look at Zimbabwe.
"It is clear that the U.N. process for the appointment and vetting of "experts" is broken and in desperate need of repair. The failed expert selection on Congo, which has somehow turned into an indictment of Rwanda, is but one of a number of recent miscarriages of justice of the same kind hurting African countries, including expert panels on Cote d'Ivoire and Somalia-Eritrea."
"The time has now come for the international community to know about the treatment being meted out to powerless countries like Rwanda through unjust, outdated and punitive international mechanisms such as the U.N. Group of Experts when it falls into the hands of individuals with a personal political agenda." Mushikiwabo underscored.

Cry me a fucking river.
The Rwandan Foreign Minister also outlined plans that are in place to resolve the DRC crisis, saying that a regional solution is not only the best way forward, but the only way forward.
Steps have been taken however, to attempt to bring the entire DRC melee to a final and binding close.
Minister Mushikiwabo elaborated that eleven countries of the region, including Rwanda and the DRC, are joining forces to bring about a lasting solution to the crisis. 

At the last ICGLR meeting there was a notable absence President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.He decided having a chat to the Canadians about Chinese investment in Tanzania was more important. That made Ugandan President Museveni earlier comments on the AU force ring hollow. They were.

“If they fund it, I believe the Tanzanian army can do the job like we have done the job in Somalia. I don’t think the groups in DRC are more dangerous than the Al Shaabab,” he said. Tanzania has offered to contribute troops to the neutral international force. During Heads of State and Government Summit in Kampala early this month, other ICGLR member states were urged to make a similar commitments within one month. The humanitarian situation remains dire in eastern DRC, with over 226,000 people displaced in North Kivu alone in the past several months while over 57,000 Congolese have crossed into Rwanda and Uganda."  
This includes deploying a neutral force to monitor the borders between the eastern DRC and its neighbors. It also includes a "joint verification mechanism," which is a way to test the truth - or otherwise - of the many claims and counter-claims that circulate during periods of instability.

I think Tanzania might well be having second thoughts and so the should they are being set up to fail.
"The regional peace process has led to a two- month cease-fire, and there is overwhelming consensus that the only way out of the mess is a political solution, not a military one."

I sort of think an AU Military force might suggest a military solution is being considered or are we being prepared for a back down.
"There are dozens of armed groups running riot, and the state of governance is weak. The problems didn't emerge overnight and can't be fixed overnight, but there is a strong belief that a regional solution is not only the best way forward -- it is the only way forward."
The United Nations has remained silent and on a "no comment" stance in regards to Steven Hege's writings and Rwanda's call for him to be removed.

The crocodiles have spoken it would seem.

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