Boiling pot of Africa
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2002
By Dr David Nyekorach-Matsanga
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Ever since Henry Morton Stanley hacked his way through the Ituri forest in 1874, the Congo has been the "Boiling pot" of Africa.
Stanley's sponsor was Leopold II, King of the Belgians, who turned Congo into his personal fiefdom. Using slave labour, his agents extracted vast quantities of rubber and ivory for their new master. The profits built palaces for Leopold in Brussels, while recalcitrant Congolese were beaten.
The period of ruthless exploitation lasted until King Leopold was stripped of the Congo in 1908 and it became a Belgian colony. Today the UN has named those whom they claim have been looting the Congo minerals, which adds to the fact that the same boiling pot has eaten the Hutus who fled to Congo. Don't you think that the same men like Lt Gen Salim Saleh, Lt Col Mayombo and his boss Major General Kazini with the help of the Rwanda Chief of Staff Major-General James Kabarebe have cannibalised the Hutus in the DRC? Where is the human democracy that the UN stands for?
The UN under pressure from the British government have included the name of the Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe who is innocent.
A reliable Source at the UN told Africa Strategy that "a plot was hatched by the British UN representative" who received instructions from Hon. Jack Straw who was in New York last week between 14th-18th October 2002 to lobby the rest of the Council Members to include Zimbabwe on UN matters.
The true picture is that many malcontents in the British government and Zimbabwe opposition have tried to tarnish the good name of Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa. They know he has given hope and faith and added more credence to the government of Zimbabwe.
Another factor that the source at the UN told us is that Zimbabwe's troops behaved well while in Congo as compared to Ugandan and Rwandan troops and this has embarrassed the governments of Britain and USA — hence the inclusion of at least someone from Zimbabwe.
This goes to show how far the British system has gone to demonise innocent people in Zimbabwe.
Yet the repression continued when independence finally came in 1960. Congo was already in chaos. Patrice Lumumba, its first elected leader, was murdered. Mobutu Sese Seko, the army chief, seized power in 1965. But he soon turned chaos into a method of government.
He emulated Leopold and plundered his newly named Zaire, until the jungle reclaimed the few roads, and the telephone and rail networks all but ceased to exist. By the time Mobutu was overthrown in 1997, the renamed Democratic Republic of Congo had effectively ceased to function as a state in all but name.
For a few years, Mr Kabila's takeover led to hopes that a milestone had been reached but it soon became clear that the long suffering Congolese was to continue for years to come.
The Democratic Republic of Congo's vast mineral resources of gold, diamonds, copper and cobalt, much of which has yet to be exploited, is likely to ensure that peace is a long way off for the war weary people of Africa's third-largest country. The British and American companies have made it clear that Congo will never have peace.
Rebel groups, which have fought to depose President Joseph Kabila, have now taken advantage of the blind eye on Congo by the so-called world order and the logistical support given by Uganda and Rwanda are now re- organising a final push for the capital, sources close to the rebels told us.
Despite international calls to salvage the 1998 Lusaka Peace Accords — a hard-won agreement that was never more than a paper truce — both sides have little incentive to end the fighting.
The legitimate Kinshasa government, backed by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, and the rebel groups, backed by Rwanda and Uganda, are now likely to attempt to strengthen their hand in a new and bitter upsurge of fighting for territory and power.
The renewed fighting that is being reported in Congo is the same thing that we have told those friends who support President Joseph Kabila to watch out.
We have in all our past articles said the two Presidents of Uganda and that of Rwanda can never be trusted when it comes to honouring agreements.
It is now on record that they were "given orders from Britain to go and get Kabila out as soon as possible" a source close to the meeting has told Africa Strategy.
There were no new peace initiatives but only a meeting of "lovers" in London, which ended with "a golden hand shake" to both Presidents.
Many international analysts believe that the rebels will probably take advantage of the weakening of the Kinshasa regime by the pulling out of Zimbabwe troops and press ahead with their new offensive which has been blessed by the British and USA governments in a meeting held in London on 17th October 2002.
Rwandan officials insist that their forces are in Congo solely to eliminate the Interahamwe, the ethnic Hutu militia that orchestrated the 1994 massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda. Many thousands of the Hutu took refuge in Congo.
Kagame told the BBC programme Hard Talk by Tim Sebastian on 21st October 2002 that he was not worried about the state department report of genocide and other terrorist acts against the people of Congo. In fact "we shall go in and kill them if Kabila does not control the situation".
He further said that "it is the British and American companies that are plundering the wealth of the DRC" not Rwanda. "There are many European countries that are also dealing in minerals which has made it impossible to find peace" stated Kagame.
But sources close the UN headquarters we spoke to told us that Rwanda also has a keen interest in the mineral wealth in eastern Congo, largely diamonds and gold. These have helped to keep the economy of this country, which had totally collapsed after the genocide.
Uganda is also eager to ensure its continued access to the region's mineral riches. Both are suspicious of the other's ambitions, despite being ostensible allies in the conflict against Kinshasa. This sums up why they were called to meet in London.
They have borne the brunt of the fighting in the diamond-rich Kisangani where many Rwandans and Ugandans have benefited. Insiders close to these rebel groups have said the past pattern of conspiratorial tradition of post-independence opposition politics in the Congo, and their increased hatred for the government was matched only by their loathing for each other. It is this which could ensure that President Joseph Kabila's regime will stay in power.
The latest upheaval gives no opportunity for both sides to talk as the hidden agenda of Uganda and Rwanda is about to be seen. Those who think that the Pretoria and the Luanda agreements are going to produce miracles should have watched and heard what Kagame said on BBC.
The most overt threat to President Kabila's power comes from the clique of the guerrilla movements backed by both Uganda and Rwanda that have taken control of more than half the vast country. They have slogged it out in Africa's largest war, which is driven more by greed to control the Congo's fabulous mineral wealth than politics.
Congolese politicians, who have abandoned Kinshasa's salons for the bush, nominally lead the three movements. But they would be nothing without the backing of Rwanda and Uganda. This is the worry of most diplomats whom we have spoken to in London and Brussels.
For Rwanda's minority Tutsi-led government it was a chance to break, once and for all, the Interahamwe militia that organised and carried out the genocide in Rwanda. But asked by the BBC Hard Talk why there is no single Tutsi accused of genocide, Kagame denied vehemently that not a single Tutsi took part in the genocide.
There is growing worry about the plight of over two million Hutu refugees who fled to Congo who appear to have been completely "wiped out".
The UN has been asked to tell the world whether these are not crimes against humanity, which the government of Rwanda and Uganda should be accused of. After being ousted by Kagame's forces, most Hutus fled to Congo. For the scheming President Museveni, whose regional tag is the Bismarck of Africa, Kabila's rebellion represented an opportunity to extend his power and influence.
But within a year of putting the late Kabila in power they turned against him and would have toppled him in 1998 had Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola not come to his aid.
Since then tens of thousands of soldiers have been rampaging across a battlefield almost the size of western Europe in a war that has paralysed the heart of Africa, driven out two million people from their homes and yet gone almost unreported — so impenetrable is the rainforest that covers the interior.
For Mobutu's former generals and aides, the rebellion has been godsend. They fled into exile in the last chaotic days of his rule, in many cases with fortunes in their suitcases.
Now from their homes in Brussels, Paris and Cape Town they are re-inventing themselves as "committed democrats". The Uganda government has been busy taking money from these people and promising them a lot in return, just as they did to Savimbi until his final days.
One such figure is Kin-Kiely Mulumba, the Brussels-based spokesman for the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) whom I met in Brussels during one of my lobby trips on Zimbabwe at the headquarters of European Union. This is the most powerful ruthless of the three rebel movements in Congo. He hailed current events as a break-through.
The rebels have had the upper hand in recent fighting. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the leader of the Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement has signed an agreement with the government but knowing the history of his backers, this is only a ploy to buy time while they prepare a final onslaught on Kabila. But the rebels' feuds have scuppered all previous attempts at ceasefires and peace deals, leaving a proposed UN peacekeeping plan in disarray.
Only last year, Ugandan and Rwandan forces fought a bloody battle in Kisangani, the former Stanleyville, one of the Congo's main diamond centres. The UN has dragged their feet on DRC and this has caused untold suffering to the people of Congo and the whole of the Great Lakes Region. The revelations by President Kagame on the "HARD talk" programme has now confirmed what Africa Strategy has always said about the two nations that partitioned Congo. One thing that remains unanswered is where are the two million Hutu refugees who fled to Congo? If they are still alive, how many are left and what has the UN done to help these refugees who live in the same occupied territories with their hunters?
The world now needs answers to these questions because the plight of the Hutus as a tribe in Africa has been forgotten. Many people have ignored our reasoning that those who invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1994 also organised genocide.
The world has failed to trace the root causes of genocide and have only dealt with the effects, which will not prevent any future occurrences. Had President Museveni not armed his Tutsi cousins to invade the peaceful country in Central Africa, there would have been no genocide in Rwanda?
Nobody has tried and admitted to the terrorist acts of shooting down of a plane carrying the two Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi which sparked the full-scale war in Rwanda.
These are some hidden and missing links to the whole Great Lakes Region crisis that has engulfed over 10 countries in the region.
The last time in 1999, Africa Strategy tried to investigate, in a meeting with the widow of the late Rwandan President in Vienna Austria, Ugandan government newspapers printed crude and imagined stories of "an assassination" plot on President Museveni in such a meeting which was done deliberately to distract our investigations. Africa Strategy still thinks and believes that somewhere in the secret box that surrounds the mystery of the killing of the two former heads of State, Museveni and Kagame were involved. This is what we are researching on in a bid to find out who played what part so as to form a basis for the late Habyarimana's family to take the matter further.
President Kagame of Rwanda himself has confessed in plain English on British television on Monday (October 21, 2002) on "HARD talk" that he was supported by Uganda to topple the Habyarimana government.
It is very clear that since the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) was operating in the outskirts of the capital Kigali with the logistics of the plane provided by Ugandan authorities, then they must give answers to the terrorist act, which caused the misery that we see in the region. As much as we struggle to bring those who committed war crimes as far as the Second World War, we should also charge President Kagame and Museveni with crimes against humanity. They are not different from the former leaders of Yugoslavia who are standing trial for having stood against Islamic fanatics in Kosovo. The world order should not be different for the "Blue-eyed Presidents" while many others who have tried to defend their people and re-empower their people like President Mugabe have been demonised by the international community.
Whether those involved in the war and peace negotiations in the Congo make victory roads on either fronts, the fact remains that Congo will not return to normality as long as British and American companies want the wealth of this African boiling pot.
The endorsement of Uganda and Rwanda's policies on Congo by the British double-standard government last week, casts doubts on the whole process in the Congo. Those who have helped the Congo like Zimbabwe should not rush to pull out troops — SOME HIDDEN AGENDA LIES IN BRITAIN.
We can be contacted on africastrategy.@hotmail.com
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