Can peace return to DR Congo?

Army reinforcements have been sent to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where an offensive is planned against a renegade general’s forces.

DR Congo is a vast country with a big population and enormous resources. It’s a country that is difficult to govern without risking political and social instability. From its creation, it was governed by iron fist as democracy in it was stifled by its late and long running president Joseph Mobutu for more than 30 years.

It’s interesting to see that this huge country was occupied by a very small European country, Belgium. The similarity between the two is they have ethnic groups. Belgium population is ethnically various, but it has kept together under one constitution. In DR Congo, tribalism is the source of its divisions.

The tragedy of many African countries is that they are ruled on tribal lines. The Rwanda genocide in 1994, to the indifference of the world, was carried out because of tribal enmity in this country between the Hutu and the Tutsis. In DR Congo the civil war lingered because of the desire to keep to power on tribal line instead of ruling on democratic basis. This country remains under external influence, especially from neighbouring countries siding with one side or the other. The misfortune of DR Congo is that it is in the centre of Africa where its trouble isn’t a grievous danger to world peace. The best thing it can do is to keep a large UN peacekeeping force to keep the country calm to the minimum.

As for the rebels to lay their arms, this has to do with the will of the government in Kinshasa to integrate the rebels in power sharing. But it seems each side depends on its armed forces to keep it challenging the other at the expense of the progress this country it can enjoy in view of its enormous natural resources. Ironically, these resources income evaporate in arms purchase when many of the population are under abject poverty or dying because their means for survival are used to spill blood.

Many groups and governments in Africa are known for breaking their agreements as soon as they sign them. The rebels and the government in DR Congo can come to a deal but the desire to keep to power on the part of the government and the desire of the rebels to have more than the government can accept will put things to square one. There can be the risk of the rebels falling apart with one side vowed to continue its fight. Sudan is an example when there are other rebel groups resisting any peace agreement with the Sudanese government. In view of the similarity of the conflicts in Africa, the rebels in DR Congo won’t be an exception.

The people in DR Congo should have the wisdom for democratic power sharing to allow all the Congolese to enjoy the wealth of their country instead of seeing it plundered because of greed just for power by those ready to kill their countrymen as if they were foreign invaders with no right to enjoy life in their country.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous said,

    October 16, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Here are some questions for Mr. Abdelilah Boukili &/or ‘Anonymous’ from Portland, Orgeon &/or Joseph from Eastbourne, UK. I need your HELP to educate myself.

    I went to the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ online & found the following about DR Congo:

    Quote
    Bantu speakers, including the Mongo, Kongo, and Luba, form a majority of the country’s population; among non-Bantu speakers are Sudanese groups of the north.
    Unquote

    I did NOT see any mention of Hutus or Tutsis.

    I confirmed from the encyclopedia that:
    – in neighbouring Rwanda the Hutus form the majority (90%) & the Tutsis are the minority (10% or less).
    – the genocide in Rwanda led to the killing of about a million Tutsis & moderate Hutus (out of 7+ to 8+ million people)
    This I knew.

    General Nkunda says he is protecting the Tutsi minority from the Hutus.

    So my questions are:

    1) Before the genocide were there any Tutsis in DR Congo? Roughly how many? Where in the DR Congo?

    2) Before the genocide were there any Hutus in DR Congo? Roughly how many? Where in the DR Congo?

    3) Which tribal group does President Joseph Kabila come from?

    4) Which tribal group does General Laurent Nkunda come from?

    5) How exactly are the Banyamulenge related to the Tutsis?

    6) Why is General Nkunda talking about defending Tutsis, especially if Tutsis were never a part of the Congo, in terms of historical settlement? Or, were they /are they a part of the DR Congo? If his motivations are humanitarian then that is a laudable objective. If not, then what are his motivations?

    Personally, the closest I have come to DR Congo was on a flight which had a stop-over at Kinshasa. It was sometime in mid-1991.

    I would greatly appreciate your response. If due to lack of time, you cannot give a detailed reply, I would appreciate your giving me links to articles (on the internet) or other printed articles from which I can figure out what exactly is going on there.

    Max Mahajan, Singapore


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