Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Monday, September 19, 2011

The not-so-prodigal son returns?

Most observers would have never thought it possible: Laurent Nkunda coming back to the Congo? Yes, this is indeed the rumor that has been making the rounds in Goma, Kigali and elsewhere over the past few months. Moreover, this mooted return would not be one in handcuffs to the closest prison, but in style and honor to an official military position.


It seems impossible, given that Nkunda is one of the most divisive figures in the country - seen by many Congolese as symbol of Rwandan aggression or Tutsi chauvinism, upheld by some in his own community as a hero. Could President Kabila really accept this? Some CNDP officials are saying yes. Accentuating these rumors, in past weeks, Nkunda has reportedly been seen traveling more freely inside Rwanda, allegedly even coming to a funeral in Gisenyi.


It has been two and half years since Nkunda was arrested by the Rwandan government and put under house arrest in Kigali pending a trial that has never happened. Now, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo suggests, "We are talking to the Congolese authorities with regard to his extradition," (they have said this for a while, also maintaining that this extradition is difficult), and I have seen emails suggesting that he could be named as the military commander of Maniema. 


One possible reason for this return could be to reconcile the two factions within the CNDP, in order to solidify the group before the elections and to prevent any alliance with Rwandan opponents like Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. Or this could just be a rumor to keep people on their toes - after all, the Congolese have maintained they would court martial him if he ever returns.


If it does happen, in handcuffs or not, it is unlikely to take place before the elections. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jason,
le naturel revient au galop, ta haine de Nkunda et des Tutsi... man don't be biased and subjective. Don't worry Nkunda will not be allow to back in Congo for many reasons...

Anonymous said...

the choice for Maniema is interesting, given that this was the supposed relocation target of the FDLR, although it seems the DR Gov's negotiations with them have run into difficulties. It could "confirm" one of those other wild conspiracy theories: that Kigali tries to strike a deal with the FDLR, granting them impunity in exchange for fruitful business cooperation taking the form of flying Maniema's rich minerals straight to Rwanda...........

Anonymous said...

these are just rumours in the Congo French language press.........

there's much more juicy rumours you could translate Jason :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm a conspiracy theorist, but this spells to me a possible Rwanda-Kabila alliance...in the event he loses the election, he tries to take the east.

Anonymous said...

All that congolese want is peace so that they can go on with their day-to-day activities. If what's needed is Nkunda in order to supress the FDLR and the likes, let it be. We, Congolese, have suffered alot, and at this point only a disciplined and truly patriotic army can help stabilise the country, not the elections, not Rwanda, not even the MONUSCO. We are dead tired of rapists and looters that call themselves Congolese, if Nkunda is willing and ready to die fighting for the security of even one inch of the Congolese soil or a handful of congolese people, then he's a true Congolese, i don't care if he's a Tutsi. Gino.

Anonymous said...

Dear sir. It is my first time to come accross your blog. Thanks for making the congolese voice heard. Regards. Norbert Mbu-Mputu, Newport, Wales, UK

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