Brigadier General Emmanuel Lombe Bangwangu has been recently appointed as the army commander of 8th military region, North-Kivu. His nomination comes after a sudden death of the Major General Lucien Bahuma Ambamba who passed away last week in Pretoria, South Africa. The late General Bahuma died suddenly by possibly the Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) crisis as reported by Congolese defense ministry officials. Though his death happened within doctors’ hands, in a country considered as having developed health facilities, the suddenness and place where the illness took place seem to have shadowed his demise.
Even though within the African context an explanation of a death needs to be found, circumstances around General Bahuma’s passing away are likely to raise questions and suspicions. On one hand, observers suspect the surrounding environment and location where late General Bahuma sickness erupted as the death follows a violent malaise while he was roughly ending a meeting in Uganda. On the other hand, the assassination attempt on General Bahuma early 2014 as well as circumstances around Mamadou Ndala’s death can bring unquestionably different interpretations.
Though Bahuma’s death looks apparently different from that of Mamadou, they all require to get cleared up. Nonetheless, since a roughly year ago, investigation hasn’t yet proved what was behind the assassination of Mamadou Ndala. Hence, the delay of communicating what happened 02 January 2014 makes people believing that it has been internally plotted. However, the choking aspect around these disappearances is how some opponents to the Kinshasa’s regime tend to raise them for politically motivated reasons. The blog guess that losses of such importance wouldn’t be exploited for political reasons before sounding as human beings. It sounds clever to focusing once on supporting relatives and family members of those who passed away before presenting political interpretation.
The military and socio-political context in North-Kivu seems to be complex and quite complicated. It is in this regards that there are many challenges ahead of General Emmanuel Lombe nominated to command the army in that province. These challenges are mostly related to security ‘contour’ in the region as well as the current political mood. The security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially in North-Kivu looks fluctuating with several domestic armed groups and those neighboring countries. In addition, there is also confusion of who is practically commanding militarily the region due to different forces operating officially in the region, including the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Congo. The complexity of these operating forces may create easily interferences leading to a dilemma.
Despite the above mentioned generals, deaths of some FARDC commanders that occurred within wrapped contexts are largely connected to the security situation on one way or another. It’s seemingly that these known or unknown deaths’ circumstances are interlinked and may internally be motivated by positioning manoeuvers and strategies. There might be also a possibility of non-plotted deaths or originating from outsiders of the national army. In any case, there is a need of army reform to get rid of them, notably by reducing political interferences within the military but also establishing clear mechanism of promotion based on merit.
Nevertheless, the new appointee would be advised to be cautious mostly on military successes management. The article hypothesizes that one of possible causes, leading to plotted assassination, may come from “heroism” of some individual military commanders. The reader will likely agree that the existence of armed groups can be exploited for political motivation aiming at boosting their names. If the hypothesis can be confirmed, defeating armed groups or rebellion won’t be individually credited. It rather needs to be interpreted as resulting from a commanding chain while the army commander-in-chief being is on the first place. Unfortunately the lengthy defeats within the FARDC in front of implicitly small groups have created a frustration to the extent that any success gets individualized and as sounding that some guys can work well as compared to others. Therefore, figures willing to see their names written as heroes who managed to defeat these armed groups cannot support the individualization of military successes.
In addition, the current political context approaching 2016 elections remains crucial to understand military appointment as well as commanders’ behaviors. The most challenging puzzle to be managed by 8th military commander is around his probable military successes management and to whom these have to be credited. On other side, local population would be advised to avoid individualizing military achievements in a form of creating myth to single individuals. Within soft institutional arrangements, the emulation of military becomes a “grudge” that may lead to infighting and internal killings. Furthermore, as achievements in terms of developments cannot convince by themselves, the politics confuses and interferes into the military, resulting in puzzle that requires wisdom for being handled. That is one of the most challenges that require to be underscored by General Emmanuel Lombe.
In end, the article calls on military commanding in general and those from North-Kivu specifically to cautiously avoid playing the devil’s advocate while keeping in mind all these parameters around managing military successes , from my viewpoint, are highly recommended. They need also considering the primary interest of the country; that is, serving the people. Have a different viewpoint? Please share with others.
Ntanyoma R. Delphin
Twitter account @delphino12