The Eastern Congo imbroglio
A man found a snake on the roadside, in a bad shape. It had been run over by a car. Overcome with compassion, the man took the snake home and nursed it to health. Then in a fit of kindness he decided to share the warmth of his bed with the snake. In the middle of the night, the snake bit him. “What have you done that for?” asked the man. “Honestly I don’t know, after all you have done for me, but I guess that is what snakes do” replied the snake.
When I first heard the story I thought it was fiction. Then I read about Mark Wolford the “serpent-handling” West Virginia pastor who died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before.
It hit me then, how not only men but also organisations, contrary to commonsense, like handling snakes. I am talking about the “extremely confused, complicated, embarrassing tragic situation” in Eastern DRC.
The inept efforts by MONUSCO at the blame game, (an internal report leaked to major media outlets without corroborative evidence) the stinging rebuke by the government of Rwanda, and a status quo in eastern DRC that puts to shame international action.
19 years to the day, the world witnessed unbridled violence in Rwanda, the Genocide against the Tutsis. The UN Man in Rwanda, Gen. Romeo Dallaire had warned the international community of the impending catastrophe months before. The architects had confirmed his prediction openly by declaring an impending apocalypse. But the suits at the UN dillydallied, wringing their hands ‘helplessly’ and debating whether to call it genocide, or simply to view it as ‘another African excess in killing’. Meetings were held, minutes were recorded…and everyone went home satisfied that they were ‘doing something’.
A pattern begins to emerge in the eastern Congo conflict dynamics: MONUSCO falls short on its commitments. They write a report accusing Rwanda, and ‘leak’ it for maximum effect. A few days later Human Rights Watch releases a press statement confirming MONUSCO’s report.
The French once again showed how resolute they were, when they organised ‘Operation Turquoise’ which in part was to cover up for the fruits of France’s African foreign policy, and in part to protect and give safe passage to the architects of the genocide.
Once the Rwanda Genocide had been stopped, the international community flooded into Rwanda with ‘emergency humanitarian’ Aid. True to principles, the UN flooded the same Aid, to the perpetrators of the Genocide in Congo. The situation stabilised. The ‘Architects’ resumed their mission, under the kindly eye of the UN. Unfortunately a snake bites. That is what it is programmed to do. To believe otherwise, is to go against the laws of nature. It was not long before, the ‘armed groups’ born of the ‘Architects’ ideology started killing. The natives tried to defend with catastrophic results for humanity. A vicious cycle of violence had started.
The UN’s reaction was to dress up the jigger that is the Congo conundrum with a plaster… albeit an expensive plaster; 2 Billion dollars per-annum for the largest ‘peace-keeping’ force of the UN’ MONUSCO was set up ‘to keep peace in eastern Congo’. The jury is still out on the result so far. The UN’s focus on results is documented: Policies, plans, manuals on ‘result-based management’ are all the rage. It was not surprising therefore, in the absence of results (read peace) for MONUSCO to blame someone…or else the funding would dry up.
A pattern begins to emerge in the eastern Congo conflict dynamics: MONUSCO falls short on its commitments. They write a report accusing Rwanda, and ‘leak’ it for maximum effect. A few days later Human Rights Watch releases a press statement confirming MONUSCO’s report. The government of Rwanda vociferously denies any wrong doing. And the pattern continues. There is no love lost between HRW and the government of Rwanda. The latter accuses HRW of being a lobbyist group with ulterior motives and out of touch with the bigger picture. HRW wants to portray itself as THE voice on Human rights abuses in the region. The animosity came to a head when a HRW representative in Kigali, was sent packing albeit for using documents with forged signatures.
But let’s examine the facts:
- August 2010 Luvungi; FDLR and Mai Mai militias rape almost 200 women and children within earshot of MONUSCO (sources say MONUSCO was within 10 km although it says it was 30 km away). United Nations Department of Safety and Security in New York sends to its UN staff members in Eastern Congo an email, forbidding them to go to Walikale (reminiscent of what it did during the Rwanda Genocide)
- Sept 2010, UN ‘leaks’ the infamous ‘mapping report’ accusing Rwanda.
- Kiwanja massacre, done under the nose of MONUSCO.
- Kikozi rape in Uvira, 2011, by Congo government forces. MONUSCO responded two days later.
It is worth noting that, even during Mobutu’s kleptocracy, Eastern Congo did not experience such murderous conflict. The conflict surged when the genocide forces from Rwanda, continued their ‘work’.
Rugumire Makuza is the President of the Rwanda Evaluation Society