Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Now that M23 withdrew from Goma and Sake following the peace agreement initiated by the presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweli Museveni, and J.Kabila, the question to be asked now is, what is the long term peaceful solution  for the DRC? . May be a more accurate question would be whether there is really be a long-term solution to political problems in the DRCongo given its history, and current political context in a country known to be a failed state other than breaking it up. Since the 1960 independence of the DRC, Congolese politicians like many other Africans have been cowards when it comes to challenge the inherited 1885 illogical boundaries that colonialists had left them, which became the curse for cyclic unstoppable wars and ethnic conflicts. The secession of the southern portion of Sudan is a recent and a precedent exception nonetheless. Despite the fact that everyone knows that secession of Congo is the final course of event in the final analysis. But Congolese politicians are still scared to undertake the endeavor of breaking up this ungovernable territory of their as though  that would be necessarily a cause for regret.
According to some experts, "M23 exposed what a fiction the Congolese army is, the UN Security Council immediately did its usual double standard and condemned the rebels, and issued a tough resolution asking them to leave the town. Indeed, the same UN Security Council members are supplying similar rebels in Syria with weapons. On the day they condemned M23, the British foreign secretary, William Haig, went on television to announce that Great Britain was following the US and France in recognising the Syrian rebels as the “legitimate representatives of the people of Syria”. Never mind that the Syrian government, in spite of its authoritarian ways, has not reached the level of barbaric savagery of the Congolese"1  The above were arguments stated by Peter Pham, a high authority in international policies.  
Another expert argued: "The situation in Congo, although it does not imply a particular policy response, may have more general implications about sovereignty, territory, and what makes for a viable nation-state. Maybe Congo is just too big. No one has ever really governed it all, although the autocratic kleptomaniac-strongman Joseph Mobutu came closest. The territory that is now Congo was first assembled as an ill-managed private possession of a nineteenth century Belgian monarch. The Belgian government later took over the mess and did some good things, but effective governance of a territory that is 75 times the size of Belgium itself was beyond its capacity. When Congo became independent in 1960 it was in turmoil from day one, with a president and prime minister trying to remove each other and the wealthiest province trying to secede. With more than half a century having gone by since independence, there probably is sufficient grounds for calling this experiment in nation-building a failure.2

FARDC's short term advantage over M23
Although clearly known to be irrelevant, undisciplined, unpatriotic, and cowards, FARDC is allowed to regain the control of Goma and Sake as M23 forces pull out.  Thus, FARDC of course will now maintain an overwhelming advantage over the force of M23 in terms of brute support of MONUSCO and Tanzanian forces (CGLC) and could enact a military solution to the conflict by ignoring the peace agreement and trying to push M23 out of its headquarters (20 KM out of Goma). Once more that would be a repeat of catastrophe particularly exiling the remaining inhabitants of that region which suffered a lot. However, anyone who knows the realities of the region would not doubt that the FARDC will not succeed such military adventure as the military of ARC/M23 would undoubtedly return and recapture Goma and this time pushing their boundaries way beyond North Kivu region. So, the smart move for FARDC would be to rather cooperate positively with M23 rather than showing off with an amnesia attitude.

Another potential problem would be for the Kinshasa government to continue ignoring the claims of M23, delaying the implementation of the accords, while denying the leaders of other local political movements of equal rights, prohibiting their freedom of movement and giving them no say over the government which controls their lives. In other words, deceived by the presence of foreign forces, the Kinshasa regime may 1. fail to realize the aggreed conventions with M23; 2. Kinshasa may continue using its formalised military system of oppression in which military officials are rulers in the region where civilians’ rights are afforded selectively based on political affiliations and the concept of equality under law is foregone. For example, the current regime has for long given its military officials in Kivu the power to kill and destroy any person who they deem “enemy” (not working on the interest of the Kinshasa regime). These officials have been putting innocent people in Jails, witch hunting others for no other reasons than their political opinions. The point in case is the General Patrick Masunzu who has been tasked to hunt down leaders of some political movement in Southern Kivu, and imprisoning every person suspected of belonging to such movements. It is as if there is no civilian authorities running government institutions. In Southern Kivu as it is elsewhere in the country, military officials determine who comes in, who goes to jail, who is awarded a government job, or even who lives where! Some people have been banned from entering in their own homeland by the military officials. Imagine such a country!

A tired population of Kivu
Living in a failed state, is bad enough for a population that has been accustomed to oppressive regimes, and  a total absence of basic government services. Actions of injustice by military officials in the Kivu are definitely exasperating the population and will inevitably make things worse off for the entire region. The people of Kivu have had enough of these unacceptable military behaviours by a government that has failed to provide for their basic needs. They need a government that respect the rule of law; a government that cares about real issues of people such as peace and security, poverty reduction, access to clean water, health care, education, food security, creation of basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, promote investment and free enterprise, etc. Unfortunately, none of the above issues is a priority to the Kabila regime. For quite long time, the Congolese government had succeeded in manipulating the eastern congolese population along the lines of ethnic tensions. However, the people of Eastern Congo have started putting their differences aside and are making alliances for a commun front in order to liberate themselves from a regime running a failed state and are slowly taking their destiny in their own hands.
It is clear that the current government as the previous ones is also incapable of providing solution to such a list of problems. That is why many people of Eastern Congo believe that their only and last alternative is self-determination of Kivu. It desperately needs the support of international community which must stop its indifference towards the Congolese people.

The need to end tidal wave of Congolese opprobrium
Whatever the current government does as long as it ignores the fundamental rights of the people of Kivu,  would be enough to turn the DRC into another tidal wave of opprobrium and  violence on par with Syria. Congolese people have been humiliated enough by not only irresponsible government officials, but also military forces that cannot defend their country from any attack. Additionally, there is good reason to believe that many Congolese and their present-day supporters around the world would be disenchanted with a State that keeps failing its citizens and would be unlikely to continue to provide support with the same level of tireless international support that has heretofore allowed a failed State to thrive in violence for over a half century. 
 Truth be told, much of the international support for the Congolese government is based on a tireless dishonest lobbyist who feed the public with lies and unfounded and erroneous factors about the causes of Congolese wars, or conflicts aided by disguised unethical hutu extremist media who have made it their struggle to ensure only lies are believed about the factors on Congolese real political and social issues. Instead of addressing the real issues from its roots, the international community has allowed itself to be manipulated by biased reports, unfounded allegations, and scapegoating mechanisms in searching for Solutions in Congo. Unfortunately, the Congolese population is the only victims, and the only victorious are the Congolese totalitarian political and military elites as well as the so called UN experts on Congo who ensure their jobs are protected by producing unreliable reports.

In sum, taking the totalitarian way forward that those in DRC's rapidly ascendant political and military elites, is a likely route towards national self-destruction; something which is not in the long-term interest of Congolese people and ultimately not of regional inhabitants as well, the latter of whom have an economically symbiotic relationship with the DRC which would be adversely impacted by the country's implosion and who would not necessarily stand to gain where the DRC loses.
The Way forward
The other popularly discussed way forward is the erection of a new state solution;  of which both the Congolese and Kivutians could potentially be assured a future in the region which is both secure as well as democratic, has been subject to objections by those who continue to push forward the so called intangibility of the Congolese integrity which by all accounts is dead and buried.
The major criticisms which have been levelled have been that the balkanisation of Congo would be immediately plunged into civil war along ethnic lines, the unique Congolese identity character would be lost (to the detriment of newly created states), and that it will create another precedent for a disintegration of  modern states system in Africa following the Southern Sudan. However, that is exactly the case. The Southern Sudan is a very good precedent that has to be followed in the case of the DRCongo.
Here is what one of the prominent international figure and expert in African affairs had to say about the way forward for DRCongo: " If some enterprises, public or private, can be said to be "too big to fail," Congo is the reverse: it is too big to succeed. It is an artificial entity whose constituent parts share the misfortune of having been seized by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in the name of a rapacious 19th-century Belgian monarch. From the moment Congo was given independence in 1960, it was being torn apart by centrifugal forces, beginning with separatism in the mineral-rich southern province of Katanga." stated Mr. J. Peter Pham , director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center.  He further stated: "The international community has repeatedly dodged this reality by opting for so-called peace deals with shelf lives barely longer than the news cycle. Rather than nation-building, what is needed to end Congo's violence is the opposite: breaking up a chronically failed state into smaller organic units whose members share broad agreement or at least have common interests in personal and community security". 
Some of the Congolese have unrealistic fear of breaking up the DRC into manageable entities, while some have been hyperbolic and others appear to be cynically inflated to avoid mere discussion of the topic. However, in a zero-sum game between remaining in unitary system in the Congo and multi-state solution, the death of the latter behoves a reasonable discussion of how the former may be implemented in a manner which ensures a peaceful transition to an independent stable and secure new country (the United Republic of Kivu).
Contrary to fear-mongering from certain Congolese groups, a new country is not by definition an impossibility as the prospect begins to loom larger the need to articulate a rational, comprehensive and implementable self-determination vision for the future of the DRCongo. Such a reality could be aided in coming to fruition by addressing a few of the basic points of contention in the current various rebellions in both Kivus; a solution  which would be infinitely better to plan and negotiate into than to fall chaotically and haphazardly.


1. Paul Pillar (Congo the Colossal Cripple, November 26, 2012)
2. J. Peter Pham , director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center.

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