Monusco puts its foot in its mouth
The UN has problems with credibility; always has had them; always will.
But let’s be fair: this enormous, stuffed bureaucracy occasionally does something of benefit to humanity. However even a blind squirrel does find a nut every now and then.
The latest instance of ridiculous UN action comes from our region. Allegations made by MONUSCO, the dollar-hoovering operation of so-called peacekeepers based in the Eastern DR Congo are the cornerstone of a new, yet to be released report accusing Rwanda of – yes, you guessed it – wrongdoing in that country. Specifically that Rwanda is fuelling rebel wars in Eastern Congo by training fighters and sending them to join armed groups.
Monusco, for those of you who might not be familiar with them, is that fine, upstanding group of gentlemen and ladies whose members have among other things been accused of illegal trade in Congolese minerals and, or sexually trafficking girls, many not older than twelve. These are accusations made by victims of these crimes, witnesses who have been willing to go on record with the world’s media.
What evidence then does Monusco base on to accuse Rwanda, which is tirelessly working with the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila to resolve the long-running instability in the latter’s country? No evidence at all.
Rather Monusco is ready to make damaging allegations on the basis of a bunch of uncollaborated rumors. About a dozen people claim they were trained by the Rwandan army and then sent to join Congolese rebel groups to participate in rebel wars. That is all. No documentary evidence; no recorded voices of any Rwandan army personnel conspiring to send these “soldiers”. In other words nothing admissible by any standards as proof to back accusations of such a nature, or any other nature for that matter. The accusations are so lacking in credibility that even Monusco, we have learnt, is now backing off them.
Incredibly, a big news organization like the BBC early last week was gleefully basing on the unsubstantiated rumors to air a report that “there is evidence that Rwanda is fuelling the war in the Congo”. The BBC is an otherwise fine newsgathering organization that has proved, time and time again that it can be quite shameless as well. And it can, and often is even more shameless reporting on the world’s poor, and therefore powerless, like Rwanda.
Rwanda has time and again fought off baseless, malicious reports that have been found to be seriously wanting in all objective criteria. It is never going to be easy. On the one hand we are faced with the belligerence of the FDLR, the Hutu extremists wreaking havoc in the Congo, who are the Rwandan government’s sworn enemy, and who are determined to bring Genocide back to this country.
They and other cutthroat groups like Mai Mai rebels are the main source of instability in the Congo. But you never hear Monusco make serious accusations against them. Why? Because, lets be realistically cynical here, without instability in the Eastern Congo, the reason for Monusco’s presence there ceases, and with it the billion dollars a year that is their budget, a budget that goes to pay for insane allowances, per diems and perquisites for the hundreds of Monusco personnel.
Plus, the lucrative, albeit illegal trade in gold, diamonds and other minerals too goes out the window. Not a single Monusco person, or FDLR wants that status quo to end. And they will resort to all kinds of desperate lies to discredit the people who genuinely desire it to end.