Friday, December 13, 2013

DR Congo: Batshit Crazy in Nairobi

Congo signs peace deal with M23 rebels in Nairobi

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has signed a peace deal with M23 rebels in Nairobi. The deal seeks to end an insurgency that began in 2012.

In Kenya rather than Uganda. This was signaled yesterday in a press release by the UN although I had no idea that it was going to happen in Nairobi.

" After a failure last month between the M23 and the Government to sign an official political agreement, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, said it is hoped that the document will be cosigned tomorrow by Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Malawi's Joyce Banda, who is also the chairperson for the Southern African Development Community (SADC)."

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and M23 rebels signed declarations Thursday to end the bitter conflict in the east of the country, according to a document from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Malawian President Joyce Banda.

I also have no idea why the DR Congo caved in on this. Clearly there is a significance in shifting the arrangements from Kampala and I guess Museveni was only included due to his chairmanship of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and Banda for similar reasons due to the SADC chairmanship, but the contribution of the Malawi troops in the MONUSCO Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade may have made swallowing this dead rat  a little more palatable for the DR Congo. 

"The DR Congo government and M23 have respectively signed declarations," including the "decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate political party," read the document signed Thursday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

This rates fairly high on my Batshit Crazy index, Peoples Media 24 explains.

" DR Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that the M23 had signed one document and the government another.

There was no single document that both sides had signed, he said.

The M23 document, signed by its political head Bertrand Bisimwa, confirmed the dissolution of the M23 as an armed group, Mr Mende added.

In the government document, Foreign Minister Raymond Chibanda signalled the government’s determination to work towards the disarmament and demobilisation of M23 combatants and their reintegration into society, he said.

There would be no amnesty for those wanted for war crimes, Mr Mende added."

I am also a bit mystified why Kenya allowed its self to get caught up in all this nonsense, clearly it was a convenient given everyone was there for the 50 anniversary celebrations of Kenyan independence but if both parties have signed different documents then one has to ask why did anyone bother. If  When it all turns to custard I guess Nairobi will have its own version of the  Gleneagles Agreement .

DRC spokesman Lambert Mende said government and M23 leaders had signed three documents at the State House in Nairobi. Provisions of the peace deal include the dissolution of M23 as an armed group, as well as demobilization and a renunciation of violence as a means of pursuing future claims, he said.

So we have three documents; according to the United Nations, Banda and Museveni signed one set, we appear to have photographic evidence to back this up.  

Presidents Banda ( Malawi ) and Museveni ( Uganda ) signing something. Thanks to BK Kumbi for finding the photo. 

Then we have Bertrand Bisimwa signing something that that says M23 is finished as a military force, something I would have thought was fairly self evident.  At the same time the government of the DR Congo is signing a third set of papers that seem to bear no relationship with the previous two sets of documents and making matters even worse this is all just speculation on my part as I have not been able to track down the text of any of the documents.

Ann Garrison a couple of days ago speculated. 

 " The agreement proposed between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as the DRC, and the M23 militia backed by Rwanda and Uganda appears to have been re-labeled a "Declaration" to satisfy critics who have said that the DRC should not sign any contractual agreement with a militia that it has defeated. However, the text makes it clear that this is still a contractual agreement to be signed between M23 and the government of the DRC, and that it is a contract to ensure the ongoing occupation of the eastern Congo, of its Kivu Provinces, by M23’s backers, Uganda and Rwanda. Article 10 of the proposed agreement reads, quote:
“The government [meaning the DRC] reaffirms its determination to finalize the implementation of the commitments that have been made under the agreement of March 23, 2009, signed with the CNDP.” Unquote.
This is a shocking stipulation to ask the DRC government to agree to, because, the March 23, 2009 agreement was a de facto surrender of territory to Rwanda and Uganda’s CNDP militia, and its disastrous consequences were detailed in the 2009 UN Group of Experts Report on the DRC. "

Clearly this isn't the case either. In the end I think we can put this down to a face saving exercise  for all involved. That however doesn't make it any less batshit crazy. 

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