International Community Not Doing Enough Top Stop Genocide in The D R.Congo
Former Congolese Ambassador to the USA Sees International Conspiracy in Congolese Crisis -Lashes out at International Community for not doing enough to stop Balkanization and Genocide in the DRC By Ajong Mbapndah L Ousted by a rebellion in 1997, late President Mobutu was often quoted as saying that after him there will be no Zaire. The statement turned out to be prophetic as the rebellion of Laurent Kabila that toppled him changed the name of the country to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the current fighting many predict may lead to the balkanization of the country. One of those who thinks the D.R.Congo is at the verge of Balkanization is Oscar Manata who served as Ambassador to the USA from 1990 -1997. Saddened by the ugly turn of events in the Congo, Ambassador Manata says his country is the victim of a vast international conspiracy and has so far received inadequate attention from the international community to stem balkanization and mass killings resulting from the fighting. Estimating the death toll at five million since 1996, Ambassador Manata who is President of the Congolese Reform Party equates this to genocide and accuses successive governments after Mobutu of inapt leadership. The Ambassadorwho also serves as Chairman f the African Affairs Committee of a U S based political group known as the African Leadership Empowerment Council fumes at the role of neighboring countries like Rwanda and Uganda in the promotion of the crisis so as to pillage the vast resources of the D.R.Congo. Interviewed by Ajong Mbapndah L ,Ambassador Manata xrays the explosive situation in the Congo beginning with the resignation of Pime Minister Gizenga which coincided with a surge in the bloody fighting. What led to the resignation of Prime Minister Gizenga and the political situation in the Congo today? Oscar Manata: The situation in the DR Congo is best described today as a total failure of the warring parties to cease hostilities and to lead this nation in a constructive way. As a result of this failure, Primier Minister Gizenga resigned since he was unable to act and resolve some urgent problems related to peace and security in the country as a whole and particularly in the Eastern part of the DR Congo. In addition, the 82- year old leader was too old to handle the ongoing crisis in the Congo. President Kabila had appointed Mr. Gizenga simply because of his support during the 2006 presidential election. Without such support, Mr. Jean Pierre Bemba would have won the presidency in the DRC today. I am sure that the Congolese people knew that Gizenga will achieve nothing for them.Worse, he left this important office without any accomplishment. May we know the major reasons for the present fighting and what exactly is at stake? Oscar Manata: The recent dramatic development in the Congo is no surprise to me at all.This is a process of balkanization. You should keep in mind that this is an ongoing war that started in 1996 and was planned since 1993. This is an ungoing war of invasion and occupation of the Eastern Congo that started after the well-documented Rwandese "Genocide" of 1994, the dramatic mass killings that took place in Rwanda as a result of the century-old ethnic conflicts between the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi groups. Moreover, it is very important to understand that there would certainly be no 1994 "Genocide" in Rwanda without the other dramatic event which was the assassination of President Habyarimana of Rwanda and his colleague President Ndadaye of Burundi, shot down when a misile hit and destroyed their plane in 1994. Since then there has been no investigation of this criminal incident. As we speak, there is, however, an arrest of a Rwandese official in Germany, who presumably was involved in the assassination of the Rwandese president. We should analyze both the genocide and the assassination as two consecutive and interconnected events with great impact on the ongoing war in the DRC. Mr. Habyarimana was a Hutu, the leader of the majority ethnic group in Rwanda. As a result of his assassination, the Hutus engaged in a massive and savage killing of Tutsi in Rwanda. This large scale massacre has been used as the justification for the invasion and the ongoing conflict between the DR Congo and some of its neighboring countries, including Rwanda and Uganda. This "Genocide." took place in Rwanda and the DRC was not involved at all. The Hutus and Tutsis are not really Congolese tribes. Some of these people were just established in small parts of the Eastern Congo but never integrated even as Congolese citizens. It is unfair to describe the war in Congo as an ethnic congolese conflict. It is not. There are over 250 ethnic groups in the DR Congo living peaceful and sharing the same national values. None of the 250 congolese ethnic groups could pretend to be a majority group. Under Mobutu regime, these 250 ethnic groups were successfully integrated . However, after this massive killing of Tutsi by Hutus in Rwanda, some Hutus involved fled to seek sanctuary into the neighboring DR Congo. Meanwhile, as a result of Habyarimana's assassion, Paul Kagame of the minority ethnic Tutsi group in Rwanda took over the leadership of the Rwanda as its new President. The first reaction of Paul Kagame was to invade the DR Congo and kill all the Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide. Paul Kagame knew that Mobutu will not allow him to carry that mission inside the DRC. In order to do so, Paul Kagame and his friends from Burundi, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda decided to get rid of Mobutu who was a strong man in the DRC. They enlisted the support of some Western countries that provided funding and military assistance in order to invade and occupy part of the DRC and to get rid of Mobutu. Without that military assistance and funding from the West, Kagame and Museveni would not have been able to overthrow Mobutu in 1997. Paul Kagame and Museveni recruited Laurent Kabila to serve as front puppet and head of the military movement (AFDL) aimed at invading the DRC and overthrowing Mobutu. Remember Laurent Kabila had no army and no money to invade the DR Congo in 1996 and to proclaim himself as President of the DRC in May1997, without any proven skills to lead this large and complex nation. The choice of Laurent Kabila turned quickly to be a poor choice by both Yoweri Musevani and Paul Kagame as well as their western masters, including the Clinton Administration here in Washington. It was too late. Laurent Kabila was not an easy guy to deal with. He quickly reversed the course of events by turning his allies into enemies, and by expelling all his Rwandese military officials who finally regrouped and started a second war against Laurent Kabila. This led to the second war of 1998 and to the assassination of Laurent Kabila himself in 2001. Before his death, Kabila turned the DRC into a new dictatorship, banning all political parties, jailing all his opponents and implementing a terrorist regime all over the country, except in the East. The first war of 1996 and the second war of 1998 were both wars of invasion which resulted in massive destruction of property and the massacre of thousands of not only Hutus but also of innocent Congolese civilians, including women and children in their own villages, some of them had sought sanctuary in churches, hospitals and schools. Worse still, there were corpses lying everywhere unburied all the way long in their road from the Eastern part of the Congo to Kinshasa when Laurent Kabila took power Kinshasa in 1997. In short, to get rid of Mobutu alone, there are over 5 millions innocent people killed. In addition, the two wars turned into a large scale looting of Congolese natural resources by both the new leadership, the occupying armed groups and their international and outside multinational supporters.Rwanda and Uganda that have no natural resources started exporting cobalt, copper, coltan, zinc, gold, timber, and diamonds from the DRC. As we know, the first war was followed by a second war when Laurent Kabila, once president, decided to get rid of all Rwandese military officers who helped him overthrow Mobutu. We know the rest of the story: Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 and his son took over in conditions that are still obscure with the support of the same countries of Rwanda and Uganda in order to pursue the same mission. The result of all this has been a state of ongoing anarchy and a total break down of law and order by several armed groups claiming to be in charge of the post-Mobutu Congo. None of them was legitimately qualified to lead this great nation. Yes, there has always been a government in Kinshasa, in the Western part of the DRC. However, that government cannot govern efficiently. As a result, contending factions and military groups have been busy holding the entire population in the Eastern Congo as hostage since 1996 to this day despite the 2006 elections and several peace accords among these warring parties. These developments have traumatise the Congolese populations and greatly shocked the people of the region, the African people and finally the international community only now. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC)(January 2006), there have been over five (5M) people killed between 1996 and 2004 in the RDC, during the First War (1996-1997), the Second War (1998-2002) and the so-called Transition period of 2003-2006. Even after the so-called democratic elections, the situation is getting worse as we can see every day on our television screens. The mascarade election has been a total failure, too, on the part of the European Union and the Belgians who funded this legitimation of warlords-turned-democratic-leaders. It is naive to expect these five or six warlords who spent years in jungle fighting each against another to seat suddenly together, conceive an agenda and lead harmoniously a large country like the DRC after years of looting and killing. These are criminals who deserved to be accountable of these crimes and widespread human rights violations. Is President Kabila exhibiting the kind of strong leadership and taking of necessary actions that will put the DRC back on rails? Oscar Manata: No!!This is a war being fought on ethno-regional lines (Eastern Congo, Tutsi versus Hutus) that has degenerated into a genocidal war afflicting women (hundred raped women), children, and the aged with the same ferocity than the 1994 rwandaise genocide. In fact, we must be talking of the "Congolese Genocide" right now to be correct. Unfortunately, President Kabila has done nothing since 1997 to this day to stop this genocide. He has failed to organize and equip the Congolese army to protect the borders and prevent the ongoing invasions by soldiers from neighboring countries, including Rwanda. He was elected to protect and defend the integrity of the DR Congo but he is failling to do so. A country cannot rely on international military assistance only to protect its citizens, to ensure peace and order. The DR Congo deserves better leadership. President Mobutu was considered as the problem why has the DRC in your opinion not enjoyed a moment of peace since his buster from office? Oscar Manata: In my opinion, the DRC is a victim of an international plot aimed at its ongoing and low intensity balkanization. Remember the chronology of events: between 1994 and 1996, there was a change of leadership both in the DRC and in Rwanda because Mobutu was feared by the minority tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda who were wrongly convinced that their genocidaires Hutus will come back to kill them with Mobutu's assistance. This was also the wrong perception in some Western countries that felt guilty for having done nothing to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Instead of acknowledging their own negligence of indifference, these western countries decided to (1) get rid of Mobutu in order to eliminate the danger represented by the genocidaires Hutus who still are in the DRC by desarming them or killing them with an ongoing war and (2) balkanization of the Eastern part of the DRC in order to make room for the Rwandese populations who have no space in their tiny Rwanda to live peacefully alongside Tutsi -Hutu lines. The entire plot consists to weaken the DRC leadership, desorganize the Eastern Congo and make room for its invasion and occupation by the Rwandese populations through military actions exactly as in the current Palestine. This plan was conceived since 1993 and it is simply being implimented with a low-intensity war now. In fact, Mobutu was himself put in power by the same western countries that decided to get rid of him. Mobutu was never the problem in the "Genocide" in Rwanda. He was not involved but Mobutu would not tolerate the balkanization of his country. Mobutu fought against the Katanga secession and several other attempts to divide the DRC. He was for the unity and the integrity of the DRC. He was weak in managing the country's wealth but objectively strong in the defense of his country against any foreign invasion and occupation. Despite the arrest and detention of former war lord Jean Pierre Bemba, conflict is still very rife in the Congo, where exactly is this coming from? Oscar Manata: The answer to this question can be found in all the above statements. As you correctly put it, JP Bemba was one of the warlords who, with the military assistance of Museveni, Uganda, recruited his own armed group to overthrow Laurent and Joseph Kabila, in revenge against the Kabilas war against Mobutu. Bemba is from Mobutu's province and he has family ties with Mobutu. In the process of fighting against the Kabilas, Bemba engaged in criminal and genocidal activities not inside the DR Congo but in the Bangui the capital city of the neighboring Central African Republic (Republique Cetrafricaine). How possible is it and how soon do you think the world can see a conflict free DRC? Oscar Manata: It is possible to see a conflict free DRC because the Congoles People are a peaceful people. This people deserve better. This people has been subjected to all kinds of subversive and submissive conditions. This people has always managed to overcome and survive its adversity. However, there are many countries, individuals, organizations and corporations whose business is to perpetuate the war in the DRC. Believe it or not, this ongoing war is a BIG Business. Look simply at the sophisticated weapons that Nkundabatware, the current rebel leader, is using to fight against the official Congolese army. Where are those weapons coming from and at what costs? Look at the annual budgets at these neighboring countries exporting mineral and natural resources that they don't even produce but being looted from the DRC. Look finally at these multinational corporations involved in these criminal financial looting that has been denounced by the United Nations without further actions. Finally, the peace in the Congo must be achieved by a minority of committed Congolese citizens ready to do whatever possible to free their country from its enemies and the current plan of its international balkanization. Has the international community done enough to seek solutions to the crisis in the DRC? Oscar Manata: Unfortunately no. Look at the Eastern Congo: this entire area is under the control and occupation of the largest UN Force keeping contingent, known as MONUC. The largest military mission in the history of the UN. Still, look at the widespread looting, human right violations, and rapes by some UN soldiers, too. This is awful and insane. I don't believe in this "machine" called United Nations unless and until its reorganization. Remember, it was under the United Nations presence and watch in Kigali, Rwanda, that both the Rwandese genocide and the assassination of Habyarima and his colleague President Ndadaye of Burundi took place in 1994. Kofi Annan was present and in charge in Kigali when the genocide took place. He did nothing. Bill Clinton was president of the United States in 1994 when the Rwandese genocide took place. He did nothing to prevent this widespread massacre of innocent Tutsis in 1994. Moreover, Bill Clinton never called a single meeting at the White House or at the State Department to discuss the genocide in Rwanda until when it was too late. He simply did not get it. It was a problem among African Negroes used to kill each other sometimes at large scale. Therefore, it is unfair for Bill Clinton to fund and support military actions aimed at the ongoing invasion and occupation of the Eastern DR Congo, a country that has nothing to do with the initial Rwandese genocide, and should have no price to pay for the century-long conflict between Rwandese Hutus and Tutsi, I believe that Congolese leaders who love their country must denounce these wrong policies that have been in place for too long at the expense of our innocent people: five million (5M) killed in the Congolese Genocide is greater that the 1994 Rwandese Genocide. While Bill Clinton went to Kigali to apolozise, he did not go to Kinshasa to apologize for the Congolese Genocide. You are leader of a political party, if you were in power what will you have done differently from what President Kabila is doing? Oscar Manata:Yes. I'm the president of the Congolese Reform Movement (CRM) created to reform the institutional, legal and regulatory framework needed to manage this country. We have been playing the game of "name calling" without any positive results. After more than one decade of the new Kabilas leadership, people in DR Congo finally understand that the real issue is not the change of individuals at the top of the management of the country. The real problem is to put in place a functioning and efficient system of government, a democratic institutional framework with strong accountability, checks and balances, control and evaluation in order to achieve results in response to people's expectations and dreams. It is not enough to be president or Prime Minister. It is more important to have a realistic agenda and to be responsive to peoples expectations and hopes. Leadership skills are required to manage a vast country like the RDC. To respond to your question, I would not promote the current warring parties in the D .R .Congo to the rank of political and democratic leaders. I would restore law and order in order to create the necessary environment for free and fair elections in the DRC. I believe that political parties, not warrying groups, are the only legitimate representative bodies of the people to establish a broad-based transitional government. Instead, in the DRC, the President and his four Vice-Presidents were all former Warlords who have been fighting one against another for years and therefore were unable to work as a team. It was an insult to see military tanks on the street of Kinshasa during the so-called free and fair election organized by the so-called international community. The DRC is not only very vast in terms of land size but also very rich, will you say its riches have been a curse or blessing? Oscar Manata: It is rather a curse. This country has been at the center of international looting, financial and commercial disputes since 1885 to this day. As someone who work closely with President Mobutu, did you ever try in anyway to advise him on how to take the country in a different direction? Oscar Manata:To be honest with you, Mobutu was feared even when he was sometimes a nice and funny boss. Mobutu wanted things to be done his ways, not your ways. He used people around him to protect his regime. He strongly believed that our duty was to work for him and his system. After all, Mobutu was convinced that after him it will be chaos. (Apres moi, c'est le chaos). I finally believe that it was not necessary to invade the country and kill over 5 million people to get rid of Mobutu who was already sick and dying of prostate cancer at the time when his regime was openly transformed with freedom of press, multiple political parties, free elections, I was elected and reelected to the National Parliament while openly criticizing Mobutu's regime during my campaign, I was not from his tribe or family but I was able to become a powerful Commitee Chairman in the Parliament and Ambassador to Washington. I believe that people took an unfair advantage of Mobutu's health condition to get rid of him and in the process conceived a sordid plan to weaken the DRC in order to balkanize this large country we all love.
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