Monday, March 18, 2013

DR Congo: Interesting, .......sort of.

New Vision ( Uganda ) reports

One-on-one with . . . M23 rebel leader





(SUNDAY VISION) Goodluck Musinguzi had a chat with M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisiimwa about his vision for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How did M23 start?

On March 23, 2009, different groups signed an agreement with the government of Kinshasa in Goma, but after three years, we asked the government to implement the agreement in January 2012. Instead of implementing it, they threatened to attack us. In February, they attacked. CNDP and other groups decided to form an alliance and defend themselves. This is how the M23 was born.

One would have to be incredibly naive to believe that explanation. 

A recent UN report says M23 is supported by Rwanda and Uganda. Is this true?

The problems we have are not Rwandan or Ugandan, they are Congolese problems. In our claims, we do not have Rwanda or Uganda there.

As I have said I have seen no evidence to suggest Uganda was playing silly buggers over this. Rwanda on the other hand even had troops working with M23 during the run up to the invasion of Goma. Historically there can be no doubt  of Ugandan interference in the DR Congo, but it does not seem to be ongoing at the moment.

How do you feel about the presence of foreigners in the name of peace keepers and the like?


Congolese want to be free, without war. The only thing we want is good governance and security. Eastern Congo harbours foreign militias that kill people. We ask government to protect us but they refuse. When we insist, they call us Rwandans. We have a right to live. The government must answer these fundamental problems.

I actually think Bisiimwa is telling the truth here rather than avoiding the question. He ignores the the MONUSCO as irrelevant because that is actually from his and increasingly the world's perspective the reality of the UN involvement in the DR Congo. They are worse than useless and might as well be disbanded because it has become fairly clear they will not do their  job, in even so far as protecting civilians. 

Women and children are the most vulnerable during war. How are you protecting them?


Ladies are raped everyday by the government army and the marauding groups. The government has failed to sheild its people from these barbaric attacks. Women and children under our territory are secure from these attacks. You visited our area, ladies are working normally, girls going to school.
The Kinshasa propaganda machinery is trying to shift the blame, but the UN recently said it is fed up with some battalions which raped people. We call for the investigation to absolve us of these crimes, but we also hope those responsible be brought to justice.

I have no doubt that M23 have been involved in sexual violence against women in the Eastern DR Congo. This is not in anyway support for M23 but it seems that while in Goma they refrained from raping a pillaging unlike the army of the DR Congo FARDC. Everything he claims about FARDC is backed up by independent verification. I have personally been able to confirm some allegations against the FARDC bastards.  

But the continued fighting is creating IDPs and refugees


We have many problems. Gen. Bosco Ntaganda tried to manipulate some of our soldiers and former president to influence decisions in the Kampala talks. It has brought insecurity, but we are managing it. Ntaganda is collaborating with negative forces, and he has started fighting us. We have to provide security for IDPs going from Kichanga to Rwanda. We want our people to go back home next month.

There would be very few refugees who have any time for M23. They just want them all to piss off and let people live there lives in some security. That includes the Mai Mai pricks and other assorted liberation groups as well as FARDC.

Will you arrest Ntaganda?

Arrest is not our priority but fighting indispline. We can arrest and try him in our courts, but it is not our mandate to arrest him. We do not have an agreement with the International Criminal Court. If they ask to arrest him, we shall look into the matter.

That is not so much throwing down the gauntlet as taking a theoretical AK 47 and and emptying a magazine into Ntagada's chest.

What do you think went wrong with the peace talks in Kampala?


If we do not have agreement from Kampala our people will not agree with us, they do not want war. We are still waiting for a word from the Kinshasa government. We hope they will accept to negotiate and reach an agreement.

Basically nothing has so much gone wrong as nobody can agree on what to talk about.

What do you say about the use of drones in Congo?


They want to make another mistake in Congo. Our people do not want war. If the UN brings drones and soldiers to fight, we shall not accept. War is not a solution, but dialogue for peace. The UN should support the Kampala talks, so that we have a peace agreement soon.

Yawn.

My vision is not for myself, but to bring peace and good governance to the country. I will make sure the talks resume and we reach an agreement. I will tell the people why we are fighting so that we stop existing on paper only. My predecessor did not do much to build institutions but I have already started.

More yawns.

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