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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest blog: The Mai-Mai Lumumba: Okapi killers or self-defense forces?

This is a guest blog by Dan Fahey, an ACM Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at Colorado College.  This blog is based on interviews he conducted during August 2012 in Bunia and Kinshasa, reviews of documents and photographs, web-based sources (as noted), and emails with key informants.
Among the plethora of armed groups currently operating in eastern DRC, a small group known as Mai-Mai Lumumba has distinguished itself through brutal attacks against both civilians and endangered wildlife.  Mai-Mai Lumumba is active in and around the Okapi Fauna Reserve (known by the French acronym, RFO) in Mambasa Territory (Ituri District).  Although it has no known connections with rebel movements such as M23 or COGAI, this group under the command of a man called Morgan has strong ties with FARDC officers, as well as gold and ivory traders, and has emerged as a local threat in western Ituri.
Mai-Mai Lumumba’s most vicious attack to date came on 24-25 June 2012 at the Epulu headquarters of the RFO.  At 5am on the 24th, a group of approximately 35 heavily armed and naked Mai-Mai – “protected” by the dawa of a witch doctor called JP and led by Morgan – attacked and overpowered a small group of park rangers. Joined later by a second group of Mai-Mai, they reportedly looted and burned RFO facilities, raped dozens of women, and abducted scores of people.  They murdered six people – two of whom were burned to death – and killed fourteen out of the fifteen okapi that were captive at the RFO center (the fifteenth has subsequently died).  In addition, Morgan’s men reportedly ate part of the left leg of one of their charred victims.
The viciousness of the attack at Epulu received international attention, probably because endangered okapi were killed – but there has been no media coverage of numerous other attacks by Mai-Mai Lumumba in western Ituri, which have destabilized the region and displaced more than 10,000 people. 
Morgan, whose real name is Paul Sadala, is a native of the Bombo community of forest cultivators in Ituri.  Since at least 2005, he has been poaching elephants and engaging in gold mining within the RFO, which was created in 1992 by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) primarily to protect the okapi and other endangered species. 
According to various sources, local communities in and around the RFO have expressed grievances about entrenched poverty in the area and prohibitions imposed by the Reserve, such as bans on hunting with firearms, commercial exploitation of wood, artisanal mining, and other similar activities.  The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) has been undertaking a variety of programs to ensure protection of this World Heritage Site, to assist local communities, and to promote alternative agricultural practices to exploitation of the Reserve’s resources.  Nonetheless, some people believe RFO is generating large amounts of revenue that fail to reach local communities, while simultaneously preventing local populations (especially chiefs) from pursuing economic opportunities.
Local communities may indeed have legitimate criticisms of the RFO, but Morgan’s activities have been so violent and on such a large scale that they appear to be simply criminal, sadistic, and driven by self-interest.   Prior to becoming the leader of Mai-Mai Lumumba, Morgan was accused of slaughtering at least two thousand elephants in the RFO to sell their ivory.  Morgan profited from the growing Asian demand for ivory, which has pushed prices higher in recent years (ivory currently trades for $200/kg in Mambasa center; tusk weight varies by age but can average 10kg).  ICCN rangers arrested Morgan in 2005 and 2010 for poaching, but in the latter case, FARDC soldiers collaborating with him reportedly secured his release.  In addition, Morgan’s group has controlled several gold mining sites in and around RFO, including one at Pangoy (outside the RPF, near the Orientale-North Kivu border) where at least 60 miners died in an August 2012 collapse. 
Morgan increased his stature this year when he merged his gang with Mai-Mai Simba (from Maiko National Park) and some FARDC deserters.  Representatives of Mai-Mai Simba’s leader – a man called Kasambaza – reportedly approached Morgan sometime in late February or early March 2012, after all FARDC units in Ituri were pulled from the field following the 12 February mutiny at Marabo.  FARDC Chief of Staff Gen. Amisi sent the troops to four camps in Ituri to prevent a spread of the mutiny, but this (predictably) left a power vacuum that allowed armed groups to seize control of territory (e.g., see Henning Tamm’s description of FRPI’s expansion in Irumu Territory). 
By early March, the new mélange of Mai-Mai Simba, Morgan’s poachers, and army deserters under the command of Colonel Kahasha (a former Mai-Mai) had christened itself Mai-Mai Lumumba, in a nod to Simba’s Lumumbist roots.  Around the time of the merger, the non-Mai-Mai (including Morgan) underwent ceremonial rites of passage to become Mai-Mai.   The group includes men from the Ndaka, Bakumu, Nande, and Bapiri communities (together comprising 80% of the members, with Nande the largest group), and Pygmies (20%).  The new group’s first attack was on 12 March at the village of Pangoy, where Mai-Mai elements raped more than 25 women and girls, and looted goods. 
Elements within Mai-Mai Lumumba – specifically Morgan and the FARDC deserters – reportedly have strong ties to senior FARDC officers in Beni, Bafwasende and Kisangani, which may help explain how the group acquired its arsenal of heavy machine guns, RPGs, mortars, AK-47s, and ammunition.  In addition, senior Mai-Mai commanders are known to wear FARDC uniforms before or after attacks, which they carry out naked. 
There may have even indeed been complicity in the Epulu attack with the FARDC unit at Bafwasende (908th Battalion), which inexplicably arrived at Epulu just 30 minutes after the last Mai-Mai elements withdrew with their abductees and loot.   The 908th and its successor, the 903rd, both extensively pillaged businesses and dwellings in Epulu town, but did not engage the Mai-Mai.
During July, Morgan’s relationship with the Simba elements in Mai-Mai Lumumba soured.  According to an ICCN source, some members of the Simba group disliked Morgan’s tactics, which include stripping people naked, dousing them in gasoline, setting them on fire, and watching them burn to death in the company of people from the victim’s community, who are forced to witness the horror.  Around 31 July, members of the Simba group arrested Morgan at Mabuo, in the Lubero Territory of North Kivu.  Simba “Colonel” Jean-Luc demanded $10,000 from FARDC and ICCN to transfer Morgan to their custody, which suggests a financial motivation apart from any more high-minded reasons, but Morgan either escaped or paid off his captors on 6 August., and returned to the bush.
In late July, FARDC deployed the 905th Regiment to Epulu to replace the abusive 903rd.  Since 12 August, the 905th has been working with ICCN park rangers in a joint operation to secure RFO and attack Mai-Mai Lumumba.  On 23 August, the ICCN/FARDC force reportedly wounded Morgan in combat, and on 28 August the force killed 18 Mai-Mai in a battle at Lulumo (Mambasa Territory) and recovered numerous weapons. 
The increased pressure has scattered and further divided Mai-Mai Lumumba.  There are now several splinter groups in the bush, and it is not clear to what extent Morgan controls their actions.  One group composed entirely of Pygmies and under the command of “Manu” (reportedly Morgan's second in command) is still wreaking havoc.  During the week of 27-31 August, there were at least two more attacks attributed to Mai-Mai Lumumba elements. 
The birth and growth of Mai-Mai Lumumba highlights a fundamental and recurrent problem in eastern Congo: the failure of the Congolese state to provide security and to prevent the illegal exploitation of natural resources.  Indeed, FARDC officers appear to be complicit in arming Morgan, enabling his activities, and benefiting from his exploitation of ivory and gold from the RFO.  Mai-Mai Lumumba’s deliberate and exceptional cruelty against people and okapi are shocking, but so too is the Congolese government’s dereliction of its most basic responsibilities.

23 comments:

Stephen - Sports4HOPE said...

Well written Dan...

Stephen

blaise said...

It's sad and discouraging to read those stories over and over. Really feel for those victims of such barbarism.
allowing corruption in the army to flourish is not only bad for the discipline and morale of soldiers but it also a security liability:the soldier will go to the highest bidder including your enemy.
I will call on the government, if they have an once of patriotism left to put an end to this mayhem. The task is difficult but not impossible. The government had to invest on people.

Bismark said...

@ Blaise

I am saddened by stories like this as well; these things need to be stopped and must be stopped. Only a true government of the people and by the people can look after its people.

These people in power today in the DRC are not patriots but opportunists as you defined them some time back, I am even more convinced today that they are in fact sellouts and that the solution will not come from this bunch. You have said something very true and simple:

"...Allowing corruption in the army (and the society at large, I would add) to flourish is not only bad for the discipline and morale of soldiers but it is also a security liability: the soldier will go to the highest bidder including your enemy..."

Unfortunately, corruption is the main tool of governance used by the people you call government; I do not expect them to have the intelligence to understand your simple advice. Corruption is their “Motus Operandi”; it is coupled to the cowardly repression of unarmed citizens expressing their political opinion against the nonsense that is happening in their country. Changing their way of operating will most likely put an end to their thieving and lying ways, something they are not prepared to do.

At this point in time, after Umoja, Kabarebe and Mende’s clowning any thinking Congolese should know that the salvation of the DRC does not rest in the hands of this government of the corrupted by the corrupted. How can any one in his right mind expect to secure the loyalty of military officers and soldiers from RCD, CNDP and Rwanda after incorporating them in the FARDC? What was this thinking, this assumption based on if not on ignorance?

The citizens of the DRC are fighting many battles internally and externally. In my eyes the most important is the internal battle against the JK machinery; it is this machinery that is at the root of the madness in the East. It is only after the defeat of this machinery and the advent of a real government of the people by the people that we will see a common front against the external foes of the DR Congo with Rwanda as the number one foe.

Bismark

muana congo said...

Obviously you guys are right, governance is wanting and army weakness is killing us. What is certain is that Kagame or indeed those behind him (“aid unfreezers”) can not change their destabilizing ways or relent on their demonic projects regardless of who is in power in DRC.

In fact, from my humble assessment, if because of the Chinese Contracts to build a few infrastructures for the country (Chinese are the most upfront and non hypocritical partners you can have, much like Germans) JK can have so much trouble, how about ET who is blatantly “lumumbasque” and all for too much openness? Lumumba died for that. Ask Hamas in Palestine, they won elections democratically!

At this point it may seem impossible trying to defend what is at first glaringly grave, even if one discerns a window of opportunity to work around the present framework to reach Congolese people’s aspirations of full democracy and economic prosperity. One sees that silver lining when you hear Matata’s good intentions and apparent good will, Mende’s re , Tshibanda on BBC or indeed JK himself at times.

Personally I try to remain "cold and just patriot Congolese" in all this, but maybe many other compatriots will no longer afford that mindset.

In short, as Lumumba said: “for whatever reason we should never betray Congo”. For me this war is winnable, we just strategy, coalescence and determination!

muanacongo

Congo man said...

This are the results of President KABILA's weakness and endless compromises.most of the corrupt army officer with ties to the criminal networks and mafia are proven to be former Rebels from RCD,CNDP etc. who where imposed on the DRC by its western partners and donors through power sharing agreements(LUSAKA,SUN CITY,NAIROBI...)even though SUN CITY was very important and led to some good outcome, i think by capitulating to pressure from donors,president Kabila ended up opening the doors of government to the criminal and mafia networks that led to members of this criminals networks to hold positions of power within mostly the military,get access to more weaponry and operate with impunity .that's the reason why all those officers from mostly groups like the RCD and the CNDP shall be removed from any position of power within the army,the police etc.time and time again it has been proven that this people are not willing to Change their old ways.and most of them are still getting advises from their former mentors inside and outside the country.and this is also the case within the opposition that has also proven to be very corrupt,disorganized,irresponsible and also strongly influenced by Rwanda.for example Chisekedi's most outspoken supporter within the opposition sanator ROGER LUMBALA was arrested in BURUNDI where he was on transit from a secret meeting that he held with his mentor PAUL KAGAME in KIGALI.i don't think change of government is the solution to this problem like many opposition activists are suggesting.i think president KABILA needs to grow a back bone ,kick out all the remaining criminals that are still holding positions within the military ,the police, and go after any civilian official who's proven to have ties to this networks,lock them all up and throw away the keys.that's the kind of leadership that the people are expecting from him.even though the M23 present the most serious threat to our NATIONAL SECURITY, groups like the LUMUMBA... shall be confronted and destroyed before its too late.but i wouldn't be surprised if Rwanda has also a hand in this groups because PAUL KAGAME will do anything to achieve his plan of destroying the DRC.

muana congo said...

What excuse would England (or Britain if you prefer) base their decision to “unfreeze” aid to Kagame, now that it is established that this man will never allow the resolution of the crisis in the Kivus and peace in the region? Not only has Kagame absconded the crucial summit in Kampala but his ministers are stalling everything by refusing the involvement of UN (yet everyone has read Mushikiwabo stating that they were opposed to no one as part of the neutral force including MONUSCO).

Truth is, Kagame junta is running out of subterfuges. They surely banked (as Kaberebe admits in the Breakman interview) on the neutral force never materializing for operational or financial reasons.

But as utter surprise to all Kagamists, Tanzania’s Kikwete and SADC members are prepared to contribute troops and DRC can get loans from Angola, South Africa, Nigeria or any other friend of Congolese people who are have been martyred for too long by Kagame’s militias.

In any case TRUTH is catching up with our “gamers” form Kigali town. Now is ample time for Human dignity advocates and people of good will around the world to press for the END to the tragic nightmare in the Kivus!

Gisa Rebero said...

@muana congo,
May be the next blog subject will be about ebola virus outbreak and mechanism to contain its propagation in conflict zones. Then I am sure you will find a way to divert the debate into another attack on Rwanda, Kagame, Kagamists... as the evil propagators of the virus. It seems that is your sole mission.

Congo man said...

The British people needs to ask their leaders why are they cutting founds from more needed social programs in GREAT BRITAIN, and at the same time they are spending millions of British taxpayers money to help war criminals in AFRICA. It's very shameful for the British government to continue founding the RWANDAN dictatorship wich is using those founds to finance rebels who are raping ,killing and committing all kinds of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Eastern Congo. many communities inside GREAT BRITAIN are straggling to cover their budget but the British government is continuing to send millions of taxpayers money to the Rwandan dictator and his generals , the British people shall pressure their leaders to stop this now.

blaise said...

As expected, the famous neutral force will take a little bit time to materialize hence buy more time for the M23 to forcefully recruit new human shields.
I still believe that we are asking the wrong question. We should past this philosophical pondering :"is Rwanda helping the m23 destabilize the country". The real question should be "what are we doing about it?".
What are we doing to support our troops? What are we doing to support our troops families?What are we doing to help our countrymen and women to cope with this ordeal? What are we doing to organize the resistance?What are we doing to turn the tides?
At the end of day, it's what we ARE doing that will determine the future of our country.

Bismark said...

@ Blaise

Who is the "we" in your pertinent questions? You are indeed correct when you say that "It's what we are doing that will determine the future of our country", but in the DRC's context who is this "we" in your questions?

Who has the capabilities and resources to answer your questions?

Who has the capabilities to put in place in a short order the necessary mechanisms to achieve the objectives addressed in your questions?

Who is this "we"?


Bismark

blaise said...

@ Bismark
Where to start? are u familiar with the 6 degrees separation theory?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation), that's to answer to the resources and capacities you were worry about.We (the people) all know somebody who knows somebody,etc.
One of our biggest problem is that everybody is acting as an island. We should discuss instead how to coordinate our efforts to push Congo's agenda.We have people all over the world, the diaspora can "stalk" members of parliament in their different countries for example.
There is so much people can do but there is a need to discuss what we are trying to achieve and how we will get there.
The Czech showed the way with the charter 77 (http://libpro.cts.cuni.cz/charta/docs/declaration_of_charter_77.pdf)
Iranians are following suit http://www.rferl.org/content/rights-charter-attempts-to-unify-iranians/24704125.html
The idea is to have a single message and to ponder it around the world until the madness is stop.
Maybe someone has an idea to help ppl to defend themselves, maybe another knows how to organize underground resistance, maybe someone has a way to help the army, I don't know.
Check out this analyses to realize what we are against :

http://digitaldjeli.com/2012/2207/

muana congo said...

@ Gisa Rebero

Welcome, you can bring on any topic we will engage. We can talk about Ebola outbreak in DRC and Uganda. Or we can talk about the ravages of HIV/AIDS in Rwanda (it has one of top highest prevalence in the world) and how we can all help them.

I would suggest for example that we talk about the ongoing renaissance of Congo that Kagame’s Rwanda is bent on preventing. I say this as TP Mazembe and Leopards (Congo’s soccer national team) dominance of African sport have always been a proxy for the preeminence of Congo in Africa. Through the astonishing progress of TP Mazembe beating Egypt Al Ahli and Leopards thrashing E-Guinea (after Katanga Gov. Moise Katumbi incetivised players with $50000 for each goal and they won 4-0), Congolese people stunned and proved to all that when they are united, leave aside petty considerations and just focus on the big picture(the common enemy), no one can beat Congolese.
Today, like in the glorious past (1960-1970) with TP Mazembe and Leopards, Congo is debt-free. Gecamines is no longer selling but buying back assets. By 2016 Congo will be top exporter of cobalt and copper one again. In 2 years, it will have world-class commercial gold mines (Banro, Ashanti Gold, Mwana Africa). In 3 years, Congo will have 3 int’l airports (Kinshasa, Lubumbash, Kisangani). It will have 6 new electricity dams thanks to our Indian and Chinese friends, the most populous city in Africa Kinshasa(after Cairo) will be self-sufficient in electricity with a road network second only to South Africans. I can go on and on, and this is the half-full glass that is not talked about.

But right now, the most important topic upmost in Congolese minds is the ongoing Genocide of our compatriots in the Kivus. HRW has just released a well-documented and detailed report of serious WAR-CRIMES by Kagame’s M23 militia. Do you want to talk about that?

Bismark said...

@ Blaise


I read the analysis on "digitaldjeli", thanks. I also read about the 6 degree separation theory as well as the info about chapter 77.

The article on "digitaldjeli" describes the magnitude of the mess in the East. There is one key sentence in this analysis that summarizes the main and determinant problem which must be solved if we are to have a chance to put an end to this tragedy:

…For sure a major part of the problem is a Congolese state that continues to be weak thus enabling predatory neighbours and assorted criminal elements to take advantage…

I remain convinced that the solution will come from within the DRC, when it stops being
artificially weak (weak by design by the ones in power) and it stops creating the enabling
environment that allows for the enemies of the DRC to flourish.

The 6 degree separation theory (using social networking to communicate in my understanding) has shown its feasibility in the examples you give. A lot can be done as you put it so well. There is a need to do all of those things that you mention but to me applying this theory successfully to the DRC particular reality could be a Herculean task.


Thanks for sharing the info

Bismark




Gisa Rebero said...

@muana congo
" By 2016 Congo will be top exporter of cobalt and copper one again. In 2 years, it will have world-class commercial gold mines (Banro, Ashanti Gold, Mwana Africa). In 3 years, Congo will have 3 int’l airports (Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Kisangani)..."
For the first I am proud of you. This is the kind of talks we would like to hear about the giant Congo. Not usual self-victimization (rape, killings,...). HRW and their sponsors will do everything it takes to stop you make it a reality. 6 months ago Kabila and Kagame were working together and for the last 3 years, they managed to stabilize the region.
Then came in Reynders , the rest is history. Any way it is your choice to keep being distracted or look objectively and understand that Rwanda has nothing to gain when Congo is agonizing. On the other hand, si le Congo decole economiquement c'est toute l'Afrique qui decolera. Our president Kagame once said of the HRW and sponsors " They Love Congo but not the congolese".
http://www.afronline.org/?p=25610

Toko Wa said...

Latest HRW report a damning report, full of horror, murder, rape and proofs of Rwanda real vision for DRC.

While Kagame, Kabarebe, Mushikwabo and Co claim that they are the DRC true lover in open air read what they do behind closed doors:

English:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/11/dr-congo-m23-rebels-committing-war-crimes

Francais:
http://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2012/09/10/rd-congo-les-rebelles-du-m23-commettent-des-crimes-de-guerre

blaise said...

@ Bismark,
I agree with you that those tasks are daunting but I believe that not doing anything is the worse thing imaginable.
Most of the time,keeping things simple is better than any complex gimmicks.
I believe that if Congolese start defining the priorities and come up with a simple plan to implement those projects, we can start moving the ball.
a good start can be to have a repertoires of what is done by sectors and activities.Than we can know what can be done. From there, we can use our networks to have the job done.
The whole point is to start the conversation.

Bismark said...

blaise said...
@ Bismark,
I agree with you that those tasks are daunting but I believe that not doing anything is the worse thing imaginable.
Most of the time,keeping things simple is better than any complex gimmicks.
I believe that if Congolese start defining the priorities and come up with a simple plan to implement those projects, we can start moving the ball.
a good start can be to have a repertoires of what is done by sectors and activities.Than we can know what can be done. From there, we can use our networks to have the job done.
The whole point is to start the conversation.


September 12, 2012 5:50 AM
Bismark said...
I was once given an illustration by a friend I respect a lot to describe what is happening in the DRC. He told me first that everyone out there is looking for his interests (survival) foremost. One wakes up in the morning and goes to work (if they have one) or attends to other activities to earn a living. It is all about ones survival, ones interests first. On the other end in these fights for ones interests (survival), one will encounter others who are fighting for their own interests (survival) and who will take advantage of you to achieve their goals of survival. They will do so without reserve, mercy, pity or any consideration
of x, y or z.

My friends went on and gave me an example of two households, in the first household, the parents keep everything in order, there is harmony, discipline, the kids are well groomed and educated and know their chores and everything is where it is suppose to be.
On the other end, in the second household anything and everything goes, kids don’t
respect their parents and do whatever they want, the father never says anything to guide
and give a minimum of discipline and order. The mother is busy watching TV all day and
does not care about what her kids are doing. This household is a picture of disorder and
lacks guidance from the head of the household, the father, in the traditional sense.

My friend asked me: “In witch household do you think that a person of ill intent, who
is determined to do arm by stealing, corrupting, exploiting and filling a void at the head, has the most chance of succeeding?”

The obvious answer is the second household which is JK’s DR Congo and its corrupt and
incompetent leadership.

I could not resist posting an analysis on JK by somebody else in this case David Aronson without his permission, my apologies.

An Illustration that Should Anger every Congolese.It came with a map of the DRC
and Ruanda side by side.

It's easy to forget what we're talking about when we talk about Rwanda's exploitation of the Congo. The truth is that Kabila's inability to stop Kagame and the M23 is completely inexcusable. Not only is Congo 80 times larger and eight times more populous, it is also vastly, almost unimaginably richer.
To be sure, Rwanda is behaving atrociously, but what is happening now in the Kivus reflects at least as badly on the failures of the Congolese state as it does on Rwandan avarice. Kabila has been in power for more than a decade. The prices for Congolese minerals have never been higher. There is no reason why a tiny, landlocked, ethnically driven, resource-deprived country should be taking such advantage of the Congo. The first responsibility of a state is to protect its territory and defend its hegemony. Kabila needs to take a serious look in the mirror and ask himself whether he wants to be known to history as a loser and failure, a figure of international contempt and ridicule. Because that is what he is fast becoming.

Posted by David Aronson at 1:03 PM 10/11/12 Bismark


October 11, 2012 8:27 AM

grand stick said...

Kabila is a prisoner of his own government. There are too many self-interested hawks for anything constructive to come out of Kinshasa. EDRC is ungoverned, one could argue a failed state. Perhaps the AU needs to control the EDRC. They should send in a stabilization force (African countries) because the culture of corruption in the DRC is not going to end without generations of purification. Purification will not come without strong leadership and rule. The current crowd in Kin will not let that happen. The power and greed have been an active cancer for decades. The Congolese people and the region are victims of ungoverned space and it wont be fixed from within. Except for logistics, get MONUSCO out of the DRC, get the ICGLR and AU in, with troops/countries that have a vested interest. This would be a start.

bfhend said...

There waas a study done by Steven Metz for the US Army War College in 1996 "Reform, Conflict, and Security in Zaire" in which he suggested that Mobutu would likely win a clean election victory in 1997 - which might well lead to a fracturing of the Congolese polity.

His best case scenario was that an electoral outcome in Zaire that removed Mobutu would lead to a twenty year process towards a truly consolidated democratic system. I don't necessarily subscribe to Steven Metz's views - but I suspect they had an important influence in the Pentagon during the Clinton Administration.

The problem I have with David Aaronson's analysis is that he lays all the blame at Joseph Kabila's doorstep - in ten years Kabila has failed to deliver on a generational project.

Bismark tends to assume that if ET had been inaugurated president in 2011, somehow he would have transformed the Congolese political system. Where was Tshisekedi during the Sun City negotiations...where was he during the 2006 elections? I'm not sure how an individual politician who seems to be obstructionist at every turn, can then claim that deus ex machina he can fix everything.

Did Tshisekedi actually win more vote than Kabila in 2011? I'm not sure that fraud engineered by AKM (which was inexcusable) actually rises to the level of a stolen election by Joseph Kabila.

I am sympathetic to the views expressed by David Aaronson (and Jason), that Kabila's domestic legitimacy was severely tarnished by the 2011 elections. However, I disagree that history will judge him a failure because he was willing to take the political risk to cooperate with the international community, and went the extra mile to engage in a rapprochement with Rwanda.

Six months ago Bosco Ntaganda was Kabila's problem, today it is up to Paul Kagame to justify his support for M23 led by an ICC indicted war criminal - which he continues to deny. Does anyone actually believe him?

Bruce

grand stick said...

I agree, Kabila, despite the significant risk with his hawks and most Congolese, did the right thing to begin rapprochement with Kigali. This kicked off in very early 2011 with security initiatives.

However, it is apparent that he was a highly ineffective leader from the word "go." The thread of legitimacy he had (with some) before the elections burned up in .0001 seconds.
Kigali gave him some more options to shoring up promises in the Kivus and relaxing international pressures... It was a marriage of many conditions which was extremely fragile but at least a start. Kigali knew things could turn overnight; they saw this train wreck potentially coming.

Kampala didnt fair as well on rapprochement but that is another discussion. Buj, well Buj is... Buj.

A solution to the EDRC will HAVE TO involve Kigali, Kampala and Bujumbura - pas de question. State sovereignty arguments only end up in wild discussions down rat holes and it is not a practical argument to many African leaders when one talks about the plague of ungoverned space.

Dialogue between the ICGLR capitals and Kin is sine qua non to getting out of this mess and going forward. Kin cannot govern the DRC, given the current political dynamics and structure.

No way FARDC troops will last two rounds with RDF. The FARDC won’t do it -- they know that survival means running west (with the possbile exception of some elite units). We've seen that story line a few times. M23 is an appetizer and hopefully the soiree abruptly stops there and I think it will due to significant pressure on Kig by others. An ICGLR force is potentially a way-out of this nightmare for Kigali - (not MONUSCO, never).

Myopic initiatives to support the ICC by the international community burned Kinshasa and Kigali (all regional security). Years of gains gone. Better to listen to the guys on the ground than special interest groups.

End of rant.

Blogging Forward said...

Remember France,UN imposed solutions in Ivory Coast? The international community labelled Gbagbo as the 'evil' Leader, and presented their Man Ouattara as the 'Saint' Ivory Coast:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uthZhu1q2as

Blogging Forward said...

Ivory Coast Artists response to armed violence:

Collectif Zouglou -- Liberez mon pays

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBYY9TIuVl4

From Libya imposed regime, to Ivory Coast, there is no doubt People will call for true freedom.

Blogging Forward said...

Western hypocrisy, West backs brutal Libyan Rebels, Ivory Coast Rebels,Burundi former Hutu Rebels, and still lecture on morality and democracy?

See footage of Laurent Gbagbo's Son (born from a French Mother) being interrogated by Ouattara's Men: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOE1sTlKeno

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