Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DR Congo: The games go on ( and on )......

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

East DR Congo militia want to join peace talks

                                                                                 Mai Mai kifuafua. Net photo.

Members of the eastern DR Congo militia Mai Mai say they deserve to be included in talks between the Kinshasa government and the M23 rebel movement.

“The Mai Mai have several well-founded demands. ... We want to be and should be part of the talks,” Joseph Assanda, who represents 11 Mai Mai groups based in South Kivu province, told AFP on Monday.

As if things weren't way to complicated already. The reality is though that there is no way that Mai Mai can be included in the talks. It would be interesting to know who is behind these demands. My bet would be Kinshasa. 

The talks in Kampala, which were adjourned on December 21 until Saturday, concern a 2009 accord that applied to dozens of armed groups in the volatile mineral-rich region.

The accord aimed at ending chronic unrest in the area, especially since the 1994 Genocide in neighbouring Rwanda sent tens of thousands of refugees across the border as well as thousands of elements that participated in the Genocide.

There seems to be a determination on all sides to screw up any chance of these talks working which I guess is consistent with the spirit of the 2009 accord.
The unrest has served as a constant cover for the motley groups to plunder the region.

The Mai Mai militia groups are indigenous to the region, known for their fearlessness said to be based on the belief that water protects them from bullets.

This particular stupidity seems to promulgated at every opportunity by the main stream media. If they believed that drops of water would protect them from bullets it is a fairly safe assumption that they would not be demanding representation at the talks in any physical sense. I struggle to understand why any media would print such utter crap, it is condescending, culturally inaccurate and racist.

They have been known to shift their alliances with different rebel movements in a country whose two back-to-back wars from 1996 to 2003 claimed a staggering number of lives.

The chronic unrest has allowed myriad opportunists to plunder the area’s rich mineral deposits, often with their bare hands.

How fucking hilarious, the propaganda mouth piece of the Rwandan Government describes the the Rwandan leadership no less, as " ...myriad opportunists to plunder " read it and weep.

The M23 rebels, who occupied the key eastern mining hub of Goma for nearly two weeks in November, emerged out of a previous rebel force which was integrated into the DR Congo army under the peace pact signed on March 23, 2009.

They mutinied last April, claiming mistreatment and the failure of the Kinshasa government to implement the accord.

After withdrawing from Goma on December 1, the M23 rebels entered talks with the DR Congo government on December 9.

The talks mediated by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region are taking place in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Except of course they aren't. Many things might be happening in Kampala but " talks " isn't one of them.

Assanda took issue with the venue.

“We are Congolese, and the agreement was signed in (DR) Congo. We want talks that will include us to take part in Congo,” Assanda said.

Which shows a lack of understanding about the whole Kampala process something I am inclined to be very forgiving of.

The Kinshasa government should “pay particular attention to other armed groups that signed” the accord, said a Mai Mai official, Longangi Kanyere.

His group is among 11 Mai Mai groups based in South Kivu province who signed the accord.

“We need more consideration,” he said. “The ranks earned by our soldiers who are still in the bush ... should be recognised.”

I suspect that this is a demand for money. On the face of it it would be cheap easy solution if my suspicions are correct.

He said that if this demand were met, many other armed groups in South Kivu, as well as in North Kivu, “would spare no effort to help the Congolese government bring a sustainable peace to the eastern DRC.”

As I said I suspect Kinshasa is behind this Mai Mai initiative. The problem of course is that the last time this was tried it resulted in a shambles and it is hard to see how it would end any differently this time regardless of Mai Mai efforts. 

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