The Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A region of hopeless daily life


An article written  by Kurakiza from South-Kivu

Since 1990s, DRC, especially its Eastern part had encountered a hub of many sorts of conflict. All started with a small cloud of liberation from Mobutu dictatorship, which had been burying Congolese from normal citizens to hopeless people. In time of Mobutu, the principle that guided Congolese was “chacun pour soi, Dieu pour tous” literally meaning each one for himself, God for everyone. The real meaning was: you should fight for your survival life disregarding others’ rights due to the fact that government intervention was less if not null. As a country with no common customs and no single package of moral values, DRC was classified as a country but unlikely a nation.

The cloud of liberation came from the East in 1996. Being not confident to liberate themselves, Congolese did not care about what could cost the fact of being liberated by an outsider coalition. The Coalition started by naming the war “liberation of minority Tutsis Banyamulenge” in Eastern Congo, then after it went on having a broader agenda of liberating Congo.

Considering the hardship conditions that people were in, none could question the context of the war. Slowly some started asking themselves: who is benefiting in all this war? What are the objectives of the outsider coalition with Rwanda-Uganda as figure-heads? The absence of a planned societal project of Mzee Kabila, a man who was proposed from his suburb in Tanzania-Dodoma by the coalition to lead a fully conceived and well-designed movement, the country went from bad to worse.

Later the so called Boss “Mzee Kabila” started feeling that his power is being underplayed as he couldn’t make sounding decisions. Then a misunderstanding between him; the then president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Col. James Kabarebe the then Army Chief of Staff representing the coalition which invaded the RDC started. One can assume that the coalition was able to overthrow the man from power though the huge cost that would have incurred.

While the coalition was given an unprepared goodbye, a group of Banyamulenge soldiers refused to leave Kinshasa though they were proposed to do so by the Coalition led by Col Kabarebe. Due to lack of maturity in politics, Congolese leaders at that time couldn’t see the trap behind that drill, the population was asked to kill Tutsi, and the context of the war automatically changed. Abdulaye Erodia Ndombasi made an official statement encouraging the population to kill whoever looks like Tutsi.

In 1998, the second war stated, first by organizing an intervention forces to save a group of Banyamulenge soldiers who escaped from the announcement made by Mr Ndombasi, struggling on how to slip in the jungle to find a way to Angola. Kitona operation took place as a suicide plan of new rebellion aiming to overthrowing a fragile regime of Kinshasa which could not at all prioritize what to do first. In the East from Kavinvira border with Burundi to the far Northern border with Uganda a new movement was born and this is RCD.

A self-resistance of the population rose but the power of the new rebellion was too strong. This is how some group Mai Mai had renewed their movement of self-defense. Elite groups of Congolese, Tutsi or not were all forced to join the new movement of rebels but yet they did not know what was the end of the new war. Communities among them started calling each against other enemy based on what side they are aligned to. Each community (organized in tribes) created its group to defend its survival. Consequently Congolese Tutsis who are allegedly seen as on hub of the conflict and insecurity went on paying the cost of the new rebellion everywhere.

Long later the battle between Rwanda and Uganda had a day. The world was observing but with no word. The UN and its knife-hand Security Council did not say anything. The magnitude to extend the rebellion countrywide being weakened, then Congolese started rethinking what is behind this curse that was given a Congolese people? A ground of war, a butchery where anyone can’t escape, people were massively killed, rape has been given a chair and become an informal system of different rebel movements, etc. All these messes happened likely unnoticed by neither national nor international media.

At that time two countries feared to lose their interest of minerals in Congo and came to agree on a cease fire not for the benefit of Congolese people but for them to share evil acquired minerals.

In the other side of High land of Mitumba, I mean here Minembwe RDC, Rwandan cordon was trying to impose its power among young soldiers Banyamulenge led by Commander Masunzu who mutinied against Rwandan ideology of  compelling Eastern Congo. The defeat of Commander Mutebutsi, himself from Banyamulenge community made Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) to intervene with no umbrella to be hidden in. An open conflict between Banyamulenge Community and RDF became weighty. RDF led by General Rwigamba Andrew couldn’t dissuade the population to join their sons’ philosophy, and on the other hand they couldn’t also win the battle because of jungles in the backward highland with no road. Finally RDF failed and behind the scene, due to the international pressure RDF was forced to return in their country. From there they (RDF) could have learnt how it is actually impossible to dominate over someone with no limit.

The bad thing is that the battle was again the loss of innocent people, the displacement of the population and the dysfunction of all layers of life. No school was operational, no health facility was functional though there were few, and women were be massively raped with no legal proceeding as there was no operational governance structure to handle the issue.

After millions of Congolese were killed, the international pressure made RDC government to seat for an agreement with all the groups of rebels in Sun-City SA, from which a formulae of 1+4 was initiated (1 president + 4 vice presidents).

The head-quarter of RCD moved to Kinshasa but left behind General Nkunda who couldn’t understand why they are being integrated in the DRC government. On one hand you may confirm that he (Nkunda) knew about the plan of the coalition Rwanda-Uganda to despoil DRC but on the other hand you can’t affirm that he knew strategies and tactics planned to be reinforced to reach the undefined desired point.

Meanwhile, the national army badly organized, had difficult to be mixed and serve all of them under the national flag. The fragility of the leadership in many levels of governance led to mutiny off and on in the whole region.

At that time the number of the populations who fled the country was becoming higher, without citing those who were killed. The distrust between communities became more sensitive and national cohesion was deteriorated than ever. Number of armed groups became uncountable including FDLR, FNL respectively from Rwanda and Burundi. In the North Joseph Kony and ADF NALU were also slaughtering with no excuse.

The extents become extremely more complicated by the new start of M23, born from CNDP redesigned of Nkunda who was arrested and filed away where no one knows the reality. We encountered around thousands of people who fled the country and more than that were displaced within the region. Though unverified, but FARDC report recently revealed that 900 combatants were killed both group mixed (FARDC and M23).

The myth was decorticated once again when 2 factions (Makenga-Ntaganda) were find in M23 and people start realizing that the context that was always given to the conflict is wrong, rather it’s “dividing for spoil”. As it has been said ‘you can sometimes lie to everyone, and you can lie to someone every time, but you can’t lie to everyone every time”, and said again “days of the thief are forty”.

Another evidence of the long coalition plan was the way verified reports including UN experts’ reports had revealed how rebels are backed; but no tough warning was announced from global powers. It showed also how weak is the diplomatic system of the DRC and the volatility of the RDC government.

By God mercy through region pressure to the coalition, M23 was defeated. However, practically there will be long term peace and Justice once the governance system is also devoted to improve. A great mobilization among communities needs to be organized through traditional leaders in parallel with a well-designed military structure to avoid indiscipline and irresponsibility among higher ranked officers.

In all circumstances that DRC had undergone, the international community was silent in a way one can feel that Congolese were sentenced for death penalty. Human rights reports have been coming out but the effect was null. However, this time Congolese have to show to the world that they have capacity, willing  and resources to rebuild national cohesion by initiating how leaders (national or local) can learn and feel common values and be respectful of human beings with emphasis on justice for all. The other way round will be exceedingly worse than it has been before.

God bless DRC.

@UkuKiza

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