Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DR Congo The talk fest continues

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

Congo:Renewed call for dialogue

President Museveni (L) receives President Kagame to the ICGLR Heads of State and Government Summit in Kampala yesterday. The New Times / Village Urugwiro.

The fourth Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), held in Kampala, Uganda, on Monday, reaffirmed the region’s commitment to pursuit of sustainable peace based on home-grown solutions to the recurrent crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Summit, chaired by President Yoweri Museveni was attended by Presidents Paul Kagame, Joseph Kabila of DRC, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

Well not really sure how this story differs from this story  except that it is New Times and not the Ugandan Monitor.

It acknowledged steady progress and cooperation of member states.

What progress ? I have seen absolutly no evidence of any progress the situation in the eastern DR Congo. It has gone to hell in a basket. I have told you about Louise Baseme I have told you of personal tragedy reaching out from the Congo to Auckland  .   Alex Engwete has expanded with far better sources than I on both the situation in Goma and Rwandan and Burundi intentions regarding the eastern DR Congo. 

Opening the discussions, ICGLR Executive Secretary, Prof Ntumba Luaba said: “I strongly encourage continued and sustained high-level dialogue at the bilateral and regional level... I welcome the recent progress in strengthening confidence building measures, notably the Joint Verification Mechanism.” ( JVM )

The  JVM was of course agreed at the last meeting and it it is based in Goma. Yes as Alex would term it the murder capital of the DR Congo.  

At yesterday’s Summit, leaders discussed implementation of the regionally driven mechanisms, which in three months since the first Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have seen notable advances, including the cessation of hostilities in Eastern DRC.  

Excuse me, are you all bloody bonkers ?

The expanded Joint Verification Mechanism and the Military Assessment team, launched in Goma in September, are operational with all members from the 11 ICGLR member states now on the ground fulfilling their commitment to bringing peace to Eastern DRC.

President Museveni, the current ICGLR chair, was, again, tasked with “continuing dialogue with belligerents as well as ensuring support from all member state for the implementation of a neutral force.”

By press time, a join communiqué was yet to be issued at the end of the meeting.

I will do a "for the record " blog on the communique when I have a chance.

ICGLR is a regional grouping of 11 countries, whose leaders have met at least four times in a space of three months to try and find lasting solution to the crisis, which broke out in April when elements in the Congolese army mutinied accusing the government of reneging on a March 2009 peace deal under which the former CNDP and PARECO rebels had been integrated in the official army.

What is interesting is  the attendance at this meeting.  President Museveni two weeks ago was proposing a Tanzanian led African Union response to this problem. In fact from his tone
One might have thought it a fait accompli  

“If they fund it ( AU ), 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."

Which leaves me one question. Where was Tanzania, it would seem that they didn't attend the meeting at a high level. Jakaya Kikwete ( President Tanzania ) didn't show for the meeting. There is no mention of an AU force lead by Tanzania in this story. So I guess something has changed, Tanzania has decided that it isn't going to become Rwanda's puppet in Rwanda's hegemonic games ? 

But the M23 rebellion is just a fraction of DRC’s chronic woes, with the country infested with more than 40 armed groups, including local and foreign militias who have visited untold suffering on the local population.

Among these groups is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) terrorist outfit composed of elements largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which more than a million people were slaughtered.

The Kampala meeting comes just days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hosted a high-level summit on the Congo – on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly – in New York, which rallied support for the region’s DRC peace roadmap, but fell short of cooling tensions caused by the latest conflict.

The real problem is that Africa has no intention of trying to solve the crisis in the eastern DR Congo. That actually provides President Kabila an opportunity but he is to bloody incompetent to avail himself of that opportunity. 

UN experts and Kinshasa have accused Kigali of backing the M23 rebels, but the latter has strongly denied the allegations, and instead blamed the Congolese government of provoking the mutiny and integrating FDLR militants in their ranks.

Rwanda has also accused Kinshasa of fuelling anti-Rwanda sentiments, which have led to targeted attacks, torture and killings of Congolese of Rwandan origin.

The M23 rebels, who have previously called for talks with the government, last week threatened to expand their territory accusing the latter of failing to protect civilians – which would effectively end a two-month lull in fighting.

Afghanistan is all but over and lets be honest it was a waste of everyones time. Our failure to learn from history has been paid for in the blood of our respective western militaries. African intervention in the DR Congo has failed. The UN mission is hamstrung and needs reinvigorating. How about an NATO, Australian, NZ, Fijian force take over the mandate. Sorry I have lost all confidence in the Pakistan / Indian led forces and that might be unfair but they don't seem to want to engage the militias. I would give M23 and the militias no chance against such a force.  The Afghanistan debacle might yet have an unexpected dividend.  Fat chance though of either.

The group had declared a unilateral ceasefire, citing a request by President Museveni, who was asked by the last ICGLR summit to continue engaging the two warring parties with a view of reaching a political settlement.

The regional grouping has clearly stated it prefers a political solution to a military option even as it has taken preliminary steps towards deploying a proposed African neutral force to help return peace to eastern DRC.

There is no ' acceptable to all ' political solution available.

Meanwhile, President Kagame will today attend Uganda’s 50th Independence Day ceremonies in Kampala.

How Ironic, Kagame the architect of the current DR Congo instability celebrating Ugandan independence. 


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