Priorities for US Diplomatic Engagement in the Great Lakes Region
The following comments represent the single perspective of Multi-Stakeholder Group partner Dr. Sloj Silika Litofe, PhD, DRC's Political Economy and Public Policy expert, and Fulbright and World Bank scholar. Details on the four concerns in this intervention are in his book to be published by the end of February, 2014: "Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Facts & Fiction. "
First of all, let me congratulate Senator Russ Feingold, for his excellent leadership. Indeed, since his appointment as the Special Envoy of the United States to the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), things are finally moving in the right direction, and positive changes are daily being observed on the ground, in the Great Lakes Region in general, and in eastern Congo in particular.
That being said, I would like here to pinpoint four basic points that constitute the kernel of most Congolese's concerns. These four basic concerns are: The impunity, the real identity of the so-called Congolese rebel leaders, the lingering issue of the balkanization of Congo, and the organization of the free, fair, and democratic elections in 2016.
I. Regarding Impunity in the Great Lakes Region in general, and in Eastern DRC, in particular.
(A ) The example of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, is a case in point, because it is an excellent illustration of the Jurisprudence. Indeed, after witnessing all kind of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violation of international humanitarian laws that Sierra Leone's rebels committed during the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone's civil wars; the international community stood up as a single person, and say to Charles Taylor, the godfather of the Sierra Leone's rebels, that enough is enough. Today, Charles Taylor is serving 50 years in prison, for backing Sierra Leone's rebels and their atrocities.
(B) What does this means? This means that, the international community can create a Hybrid courts to hold Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege, Innocent Zimurinda, and many other so-called Congolese rebel leaders accountable, for diverse heinous crimes that they committed in eastern Congo.
(C) However, so long as the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, and the international community at large, will not say enough is enough to Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the two godfathers of several armed groups operating in eastern Congo. These two godfathers will always be able to manufacture others Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege, Innocent Zimurinda, etc. Furthermore, so long as the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, and the international community at large, will not be able to say enough is enough to the multinational corporations involved in the illegal exploitation of Congo's natural resources and other forms of wealth, the Hybrid courts that will be created, will be less relevant in promoting a lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region.
(D ) As such, the question that comes to mind is: What are the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, and the international community at large, waiting for, in order to hold Museveni and Kagame accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violation of international humanitarian laws that divers armed groups that they, directly and/or indirectly, created, recreated, and continue to restructure at their free will, committed and/or continue to commit in eastern Congo? What is behind this kind of “double standard policy”? Furthermore, what are they waiting for to hold the multinational corporations involve in looting of Congo's natural resources accountable?
(E) Besides, since mid-October 1996, I have been repeatedly stressing that the solution to Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi's security concerns lies in:
(a) The adoption and implementation of Silika's Model of Self-Management of Local Entities and Rule of Law in in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
(b) The accountability of those who were responsible for the shooting down of former President Habyarima's plane, which triggered the 1994 genocide. From this standpoint, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and most Rwanda's Patriotic Army High Commanders during Rwanda's 1994 genocide notably: Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda; Rwanda's Defense minister, general James Kabarebe; colonel Kayumba Nyamwasa, colonel Théoneste Lizinde, major Jacob Tumwine, and captain Charles Karamba, and many others must all be brought to Justice.
(c) The accountability of those who are responsible for the vicious circle of violence in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Notorious warlords and terrorists such as: Joseph Kony, the leader of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA); the leaders of the Hutu rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR); Laurent Nkundabatware Mihigo, leader of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP); and General Bosco Ntaganda, former Nkundabatware's Army chief of staff. All must face justice for terrorism, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
(d) The adoption and implementation of technological innovations in agriculture, manufacturing and services in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the fulfillment of its requirements in terms of education, health and capital; and
(e) The effective adoption and implementation of family planning programs in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
II. Regarding the correct identity of the so-called Congolese rebel leaders
(F) I would like here to pinpoint that, most of today so-called “ Tutsi Congolais ” (i.e. Congolese Tutsi) such as Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, along with the godfather Paul Kagame and his closest lieutenants, notably Rwanda's Defense Forces minister James Kabarebe, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Théoneste Lizinde, Jacob Tumwine, Charles Karamba, and many other Tutsi fighters; they all fought in Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's rebel army, and helped him to conquer power in Uganda. At that time, most of them were considered as Ugandans. As proof, Paul Kagame who, at that time, was Museveni's chief military intelligence officer came to the United States to pursuit a short military formation at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as Ugandan.
(G) After installing Museveni, a Munyakole (i.e. a Tutsi of Uganda) to power in Uganda; Museveni engaged himself to install his fellows Tutsi extremists of Rwanda to power in Rwanda. It is from this perspective that Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Théoneste Lizinde, Jacob Tumwine, Charles Karamba, Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Nkunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, and many other Tutsi fighters returned to their Rwanda natal.
(H) Suddenly, overnight, people who, yesterday were considered as Ugandans, become Rwandans. Once Paul Kagame and his fellows Tutsi extremists conquered power in Rwanda, under the pretense of a legitimate effort to root out the FDLR and ex-FAR/Interahamwe, people who were mostly responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide that decimated over 800,000 innocent Tutsis and Hutu moderates, hiding into eastern Congo's jungles and mountains. Kagame and his fellows Tutsi extremists started the process of installing one of their owns to power in the DRC.
(I) The remarkable thing here is that: People who, yesterday, were Rwanda's citizen become “ Congolese Tutsi ” and/or the “ Banyamulenge ”, an ethnic group that does not exist in the nomenclature of the mosaic of the DRC's ethnic groups. Indeed, the same people who, yesterday operated as Ugandans during Museveni's bush struggle, suddenly became Rwanda's freedom fighters during Kagame's military struggle to conquer power in Rwanda. And today, the same people are now calling themselves “ Congolese Tutsis ”, in order to well infiltrate the DRC's institutions, loot the DRC's natural resources; and down the road, and finally install one of their owns to power in the DRC.
(J) The case of James Kabarebe is the best illustration of the “ chameleon nature ” of most Tutsi extremists' citizenship. Indeed, during Museveni's bush war, Kabarebe was considered as a Ugandan. Once Kagame conquered power in Rwanda, Kabarebe become a Rwandan. When it was time to install one of their own to power in the DRC, Kabarebe became a “Congolese Tutsi”. More importantly, he became the Joint Chief of Staff of Congo's Army under late president Laurent Desire Kabila. Today, as we speak, the same Kabarebe went back to his real country, Rwanda, and he is now assuming the position of Rwanda's Defense Minister. Indeed, Kabarebe: from a Ugandan, to a Rwandan, to a “Congolese Tutsi”, to once again a Rwanda's citizen, this is an excellent illustration of the “chameleon nature” of most Tutsi extremists' citizenship.
(K) Hence, the question that needs to be asked is: How James Kabarebe, Laurent Nkunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, and many others Rwanda's nationals suddenly become “Congolese Tutsi”? The Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of DR Congo, in their final report, opined two strategies that Kagame and his fellows Tutsi extremists used and still using to infiltrate the DRC's institutions. First, the Panel's sources reported that:
“Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) undertook an operation to obtain a large number of Congolese passports so as to give an appropriate identity to RPA officers who continue to be stationed at strategically important sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” (See, Point 15 of the final report)
Second, pursuit the experts:
“The Panel has learned of other tactics for disguising the continuing presence of an armed force loyal to Rwanda. Reliable sources have reported an initiative by the Chief of Staff of the Armée nationale congolaise, Major Sylvain Mbuki, to reorganize the RCD-Goma forces in order to accommodate large numbers of RPA soldiers inside ANC units and local defense forces made up of pro-Rwanda elements. Most of the ANC units have had RPA leadership for some time, and now, with this reorganization, a significant number of RPA soldiers will be integrated into the ANC rank and file. Instead of departing for Rwanda, large numbers of Rwandan Hutus serving in RPA have been provided with new uniforms and assigned to ANC brigades as Congolese Hutu” (See, point 16 of the final report).
(L) The processes of brassage and mixage, which incorporated various armed groups operating in eastern Congo in the DRC's Defense Forces, without any screening and accountability of several suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity, rape, sexual slavery, the use of children under age of 15 as soldiers, the pillage of Congo's natural resources, and genocide in the region, institutionalized the impunity; and constitute the zenith points of Rwanda's infiltration into the DRC's Defense Forces, and many other DRC's security services.
(M) The consequences of these infiltrations are that, from Mid-October 1996 to present, there never been a single rebellion worth of the name in the DRC. That, from mi-October 1996 to present, the DRC has always been victim of the vicious circle of invasions and occupations of its territory by Museveni and Kagame's troops.
(N) As such, the case of Saddam Hussein should serve as an excellent jurisprudence in this matter. The UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, and the international community at large, must therefore treat presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Paul Kagame -- the two masterminds of these vicious circle of invasions and occupations of the DRC, and godfathers of Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kundaba, Bosco Tanganda, and Sultani Makenga, and many other so-called Congolese rebel leaders-- in the same way that they treated Saddam Hussein, for invading Kuwait.
(O) War crimes, crimes against humanity, rape, sexual slavery, the use of children under age of 15 as soldiers, the pillage of Congo's natural resources, and genocide that Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kundabatware, Bosco Tanganda, and Sultani Makenga, perpetrated in eastern Congo, must first of all be the responsibility of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, rather than that of Jules Mutebusi, Laurent Kunda, Bosco Tanganda, Sultani Makenga, Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege, Innocent Zimurinda, and many other so-called Congo's rebel leaders, who in realty are only Museveni and Kagame's executants.
(P) The reform of the DRC's army, the DRC's police, and other DRC's security services will be never induce a lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region in general, and in eastern Congo in particular; without a correct identification of who is Congolese, and who is not; and, above all, without a total “De-RPAnization/De-rwandalization” of the DRC's army, police, and other security services.
III. Regarding the Lingering Hypothesis of the Balkanization of the DRC.
(Q) One of the biggest obstacles for the search for a lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region in general, and in eastern Congo in particular, is the lingering hypothesis of the balkanization of the DRC, in the light of the balkanization of former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, and the Sudan; couple with the strange silence of the International community on this matter.
(R) One way to definitely put to rest this issue; effectively put an end to both, the proliferation of Mai-Mai, and Rwanda's authorities persistent demand of a second Berlin Conference in order to review its borders with the DRC; and in turn, effectively promote a lasting peace in the region is: To officially and public, publish a “ Joint Communiqué ” (i.e. Joint statement ) regarding the lingering hypothesis of the balkanization of the RDC.
(S) Indeed, the special envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson ; the special envoy of the United States to the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Russ Feingold ; the Special Representative of the African Union, Boubacar Diarra ; the main coordinator of the European Union for the Region of the Great Lakes, Koen Vervaeke ; and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the DRC, Martin Kobler ; should, if not, must publish a “Joint statement ” clearly stating that:
“The Institutions that they represent in the DRC, will never support any solution to cement a lasting peace in the region that does not preserve the territorial integrity, and the sovereignty of the DRC. The partition be it, de facto and/or de jure, of the DRC is out of question. This is because partition will never bring a lasting peace in region. To the contrary, it will induce more violence, anarchy, chaos, and the vicious circle of genocide in the region”.
For this specific concern, we are here glad to report to Congolese communities disseminated around the world that, Senator Russ Feingold was clear in this issue. According to him: “ The Partition of the DRC is out of question. The partition of Congo is out of the table. And we will not even discuss about it” .
III. Regarding the Organization of Democratic, Free, and Fair Elections, in 2016.
(T) The five representative above mentioned (i.e. Mary Robinson, Russ Feingold, Boubacar Diarra, Koen Vervaeke, and Martin Kobler), without mingling themselves too much into the DRC's internal affairs, must make it clear to Kinshasa's authorities that: In addition to the respect of traditional rights (i.e. freedom of speech, religion, and association) and second generation of bill of rights (i.e. right to decent job, nutrition, education, safety, an healthy environment, etc.);
(U) Congo's political stability, national reconciliation, peace, and internal cohesion go hands in hands with the respect of constitution, and singularly, the respect of article 220 of Congo's constitution; and the implementation of “ Sloj's Model of Self Management of Local Entities and Rule of Law ”. Details on the operationalization of this model are presented on my book: “ Model for the Eradication of Terrorism ” (See, http://erradicatingterrorism.com/index.htm )
Litofe Sloj Silika, PhD
Political Economy & Public Policy
Specialist in Comparative & Developmental Economy
Fulbright & World bank Scholar
17 February 2014