Some among the most knowledgeable observers of the African politics, rightly argue that the DRCongo is “a vast, organized scam”.
Here is a sobering truth that only mature Congolese would swallow: There Is No Congo. This was the statement made by one of brilliant minds in America, Mr. Jeffrey Herbst. As Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills put it in Foreign Policy, "The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not exist." The authors attacked the idea that "one sovereign power is present in this vast country" of "67 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups," arguing that any international efforts "predicated on the Congo myth" are "doomed to fail." From mineral-hungry colonialists to the unqualified son of a Che Guevara colleague who became president, the authors detail Congo's slide into "ungovernable fiefdoms" built on "repression and patronage."
A question to a Congolese reader: was Mr. Jeffrey right or wrong in his assertion? Well, it depends on what Congolese you are; a rational or emotional Congolese. Chances are, you are emotional Congolese like almost everyone else in Congo because seldom are rational Congolese. Why say this? Simply because a rational person think and act rationally, intellectually and objectively. Emotional person always bases his/her actions based on emotions. Given the choice, an emotional person will opt to jeopardise his and country’s future because of emotional choices rather than calculated, educated and benefit oriented actions.
No reasonable Congolese (except the ruling elites) will deny that Congo is not a failed state. Every Congolese including the ruling class, will rightly tell you that they wish, want and hope for Congo to be peaceful, and prosperous country. But the irony is that very few Congolese are willing to have Congo experience what any other failed state go through in order for it, to be a real state, in the real sense of statehood. Moreover, the sad fact is, not only have Congolese proven incapable to rule and govern their large and rich country, they are even incapable to choose what is good for them and their own people in their own country! I know that sounds harsh and even insulting, but maturity oblige that truth be not only told but also heard!
In 2009 when the then USA Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Congo, here is what Pierre Englebert, wrote: “ Congo is a tragedy for reasons that many know well, including the 5 million who have died from conflict since 1998, the thousands gang-raped by soldiers and rebels, and nearly 2 million who've been displaced from their homes. Add to that a population of more than 60 million citizens suffering from the state's chronic inability to provide safety, dignity, and anything close to development. Progress has been painfully slow. A so-called democratic transition, six years of postconflict intervention, billions in foreign aid, and some 20,000 UN soldiers have done little to end the violence”. ( The Christian Science Monitor, AUGUST 10, 2009 by Pierre Englebert)
Englebert, a professor of African politics at Pomona College, further explained by stating that, “A major reason for this tragedy is that Congo's governance resembles a racket. Its politicians and administrators are mostly corrupt, getting rich from keeping their state dysfunctional, and promoting local violence to serve their interests. Throughout the country, people in positions of state authority systematically dominate and extract resources from those below them, all under the guise of sovereign power.”
The following are some of the reasons why Congo is a failed State and as such must be broken into pieces:
No sense of statehood
Throughout DRC’s history, the ruling elites have antagonized ethnic groups by supporting regional militia groups who massacre people, plunder resources, sowing confusion, fear and insecurity in the process. No sense of statehood could possibly arise out of an exploitive system that continues to this day.
One characteristics of a failed state is lawlessness. In lawless Congo, rebel leaders are accustomed to making deals with the government and remain untouchable. Some warlords have run for president, while other political leaders such as Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi have been vice-president. Yerodia was nominated and installed by Joseph Kabila while publicly encouraging the Congolese population to kill ethnic Tutsis. Even now he is one of the respected dignitaries in the country: a genocide promoter! No real state will allow such a thing! But, hey, that’s jungle, oops! Rather, Congole.
1. No sense of citizenry or patriotism. Congolese are not only known to hate their fellow Congolese due to tribal diversity, but they also known for their lack of patriotism. Here I am mean love the country. Average Congolese including especially leaders are ready to sale the country for less than $500. Without guaranteeing a sense of belonging and security for all its citizens, Congo should not anticipate or expect any guarantee of peace.
2. IRRESPONSIBLE GOVERMNENT: Congo must take responsibility for its failures. Millions of innocents have lost their lives because of possible genocide, civil wars and underreported outbreaks of diseases due to lack of clean water and basic infrastructure.
Congo has failed to protect its citizens, remaining shamefully hostile to some of its own people, the Congolese Tutsis.
Resentment of Congolese people of Rwandan ancestry, Banyamasisi and Banyamulenge who have endured cyclical episodes of genocidal persecution, are at the heart of eastern Congo’s instability. In 1998 thousands of Congolese Tutsis were lynched across the country. In 2004, about 162 Banyamulenge were killed and over 100 injured in the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi. The perpetrators boasted about the killings in international media and nothing was done to bring them to justice until now. But the international community usually led by France, has always been roaring like a lion every time searching for any suspected Tutsi fighter to bring to so called “justice”; even if he led the fight for self defense against militia genocidaire. Hate speech and have driven violence against the Tutsi population has increased since the 1994 genocide which killed around 800,000 tutsis in Rwanda by the same militias killing alongside government supported Mai Mai in Eastern Congo.
3. Systemic Corruption: In Congo corruption has become a culture and a virtue. Everything runs and moves on corruption. Corrupt people are rewarded for being so corrupt. Thieves run government institutions without ever being questioned for their corrupt deeds. Corruption begot poverty, which in turn begets conflicts and wars. One of the outside observers, Adam Hochschild rightly describes it well in the New York Review of Books on the "unimaginably horrifying" culture of widespread rape and forced labor by warring militias in "the world's largest failed state." Hochschild explained that oppression has been "considered the right of armies" from the colonial Belgian occupiers through today.
4. Congolese are EXCELLENT IN SCAPEGOATING.
If there is one thing that every Congolese knows better than anyone else in the world, is shifting blame to someone else. It’s never their fault that the country is in such a mess. With this fundamental failure, Congo has excelled in externalizing the blame to outsiders. Rwanda, Uganda, and the “International Community”. They have become victims in the art of scapegoating. They take proud in not taking personal responsibility, which is a proof of immaturity! Asking Congolese government or civil society to take responsibility for its (Congo) failures is unfortunately too much to ask, and yet it is the only mature way of beginning to change.
If the people of Congo are going to even dream of having a peaceful and prosperous country, they must be willing to make a real change that must be fundamentally different from what has been tried before. It is one and one thing only:
CONGO MUST BREAK UP INTO SMALLER, MANAGEABLE COUNTRIES, AND RECONCILIATION OF THE PEOPLE.
There will be no peace and progress without reconciliation.
Unless competing tribal rivalries are reconciled, corrupt leaders will continue to benefit from the lack of a national identity. The army is dysfunctional, soldiers are not paid and often do not have enough to eat. Worse, the army has no regard for the citizenry it is sworn to protect. Without emotional, tribal, or national connections, there is no motivation for the army. It has proven impossible to govern Congo the way it is and it is doubtful another “neutral international force” can do the job when 20,000 MONUSCO troops have failed.
In addition to reconciliation, some of the international experts interested in the region, especially on two large and especially troubled regions of Congo, the suggest the splitting into politically manageable entities as follow: "It is time to ask," they wrote, "if provinces such as the Kivus and Katanga (which are themselves the size of other African countries) can ever be improved as long as they fall under a fictional Congolese state." They also argue that the international community should work with local forces to develop infrastructure. "Deal with whomever exerted control on the ground rather than continuing to pretend that Kinshasa is ruling and running the country," they advised.
Hochschild blamed "ethnic warlords and their backers…" who exploit the country's massive natural resources to fuel endless civil wars, abetted by a government of bribe-seeking bureaucrats. "Government as a system of organized theft goes back to King Leopold II, who made a fortune," he wrote. He recounts being approached by a stranger in the streets offering to sell him uranium for $1.5 million.
Truth be told: SELF-DETERMINATION OR SECESSION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR THE PEOPLE OF KIVU. There you have it. The question is are the people of Kivu, rational enough, reasonable enough and objective enough to have the courage to fight for self-determination, or they would all die being emotional and driven by hate and bigotry?
At the end of the day, it all boils down to people’s ability and right to choose.