Of All The Culprits For the Crimes in The Congo

December, 2007

Of All The Culprits For the Crimes in The Congo
George Bakaly Sembe

Of all the culprits for the crimes in the Congo, the Congolese elite are the most responsible. Since independence, but for a few years during Mobutu’s heydays, they have been unable to conjure up doctrines and policies in line with the status the Congo ought to hold in world affairs.

The latest example is the Rwanda or to be precise the “Tutsi issue”, one can understand why the passionate masses would feel anti-Tutsi, one can understand why they would feel that the “Interahamwe”, FDLR, and other Hutu rebels’ issues are Rwandan rather than Congolese problem, but the elite is not responsible when it comes up with the same rhetoric. The elite, is guilty when it considers that Hutu forces that slaughtered at least half a million Tutsis1 at the end of decades of Hutu despotism,2 can roam freely in the DRC. Mobutu was the first to commit that mistake, as he felt the presence of a million refugees (murderers amongst them) would force the world to give him humanitarian assistance and the international consideration he craved so much. The presence of Hutu militias responsible for the massacres in Rwanda gave Tutsi power a right to invade DRC as the Congolese authorities were simply unable or unwilling to deal with the militias. Subsequently Congolese Presidents Laurent Kabila and Joseph Kabila would ally themselves with the Hutus, and the Congolese rebels would become clients of the Tutsi regime in Rwanda and its ally in Uganda.

Today, unless Jean Pierre Bemba cannot come back, the war the Congolese were fighting is over, it has been accepted that all Congolese can participate in the political life of the country, elections have been held and a Government formed from a broad coalition. The remaining war in DRC, the Nkundabatware element is a proxy between Hutu and Tutsis from Rwanda. It is about the Congolese elite inability to extricate itself from an unholy alliance with Hutu extremist, the Presidential election were a case in point: in the East Kabila managed to paint out Bemba as the pawn of Uganda and therefore Rwanda. Kabila closest advisers Chissambo, Kamhere and Nyamwisi presented him as the only one capable of expelling Tutsis from the DRC. In the West, Bemba and his advisors, especially Ngbanda, highlighted Kabila’s obscure origins and made him out to be a Tutsi and therefore unfit to rule DRC, in both parts of the country the “anti-Tutsi” feeling was a common factor. I am not saying that happened out of the blue, the Tutsis clique reigning in Rwanda invaded the DRC and we, the Congolese have paid a dear price for this, more than 4 million people died as a direct result of that invasion, the Tutsi that arrived in Kinshasa with Kabila’s father acted as an occupation army. However arrogant and cruel the invaders acted, the elite cannot allow itself to answer passionately. In 1998, Laurent Kabila called on the population to exterminate the “Tutsi vermin”; we’ve highlighted the ethnic hatred in the 2006 Presidential election as well as the military alliance between the DRC and Hutu militias.

No one would understand the US or UK government taking an openly anti-Islamic stance after the terrorist attacks in New York and London, references to American treatment of its population of Japanese heritage during World War II takes us back not only to a distant past but also an historical faux pas that should not be repeated.
So the question remains what should the Congolese attitude be towards Tutsi Power. Internally, it should be made abundantly clear that alliances with Hutu and Mai Mai militias bent on exterminating Tutsis and others cannot be tolerated, ethnic strife cannot be accepted, the state not ethnic militias must secure the “entire” Congolese population that means not only Nkunda but all other militias must be neutralized, the presence of Tutsi in some of the highest position in the DRC’s government is a good start, the Government should now use all necessary means to ensure that throughout the Republic, all Congolese, including the children and grand-children of Tutsi refugees can live in peace.

Externally, diplomacy should be used to point out that just like the DRC and Burundi, Rwanda needs a dialogue between the Tutsi power and the Hutu opposition, it is a pity that the fracture in Rwandan society is along ethnic like but that is just a fact that cannot be ignored. The DRC must lead the international community, especially African countries, in pressuring Kagamé to accept a return to democracy that will inevitably lead to the Hutu capturing to power, at the same time guarantees must be given to the Tutsis that they will be protected should the Hutus return to power. The DRC must make the case that the only way to stabilize the region is to have a peaceful transfer of power from the Tutsi minority to the Hutu majority in Rwanda, anything else is just a prelude to a foreseeable attempt by the Hutus to forcibly regain power in Rwanda, that is the latent war that Nkundabatware is fighting in DRC, not in the name of Congolese Tutsis, but Tutsis.

1. Though many have disputed the mainstream version of the “genocide” it is a fact that Hutu extremist meticulously planned the massacre of hundreds thousands Tutsis
2. From independence to 1994, the Hutu jealously remained in power, I.D. card in Rwanda had to specify one’s ethnicity