KPFA Evening News Anchor Anthony Fest:
At the end of November, headlines around the world announced the Congolese Army’s defeat of the M23 Congolese well wishers draped a Congolese flag around the shoulders of their army's Operations Commander, Colonel Mamadou Moustafa N'Dala, after the defeat of M23 during the first week of November. But, many are now asking what sort of contract DRC is being asked to sign, regardless of whether it's called a Declaration or an Agreement.
militia, with the help of UN intervention forces, in eastern Kivu Provinces, on the Rwandan and Ugandan borders. Since that time, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been under pressure from Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and his so-called mediators, and from US Envoy Russ Feingold and UN Envoy Mary Robinson, to sign an agreement with M23. KPFA’s Ann Garrison obtained a copy of that agreement, which, to the shock of many Congolese people, includes language that would secure the ongoing occupation of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by M23's backers Uganda and Rwanda. KPFA's Ann Garrison is live in the studio with the story.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: The agreement proposed between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as the DRC, and the M23 militia backed by Rwanda and Uganda appears to have been re-labeled a "Declaration" to satisfy critics who have said that the DRC should not sign any contractual agreement with a militia that it has defeated. However, the text makes it clear that this is still a contractual agreement to be signed between M23 and the government of the DRC, and that it is a contract to ensure the ongoing occupation of the eastern Congo, of its Kivu Provinces, by M23’s backers, Uganda and Rwanda. Article 10 of the proposed agreement reads, quote:
“The government [meaning the DRC] reaffirms its determination to finalize the implementation of the commitments that have been made under the agreement of March 23, 2009, signed with the CNDP.” Unquote.
This is a shocking stipulation to ask the DRC government to agree to, because, the March 23, 2009 agreement was a de facto surrender of territory to Rwanda and Uganda’s CNDP militia, and its disastrous consequences were detailed in the 2009 UN Group of Experts Report on the DRC
The M23 militia arose and took its name from that very March 23, 2009 agreement, after saying that the agreement’s contractual elements had not been met. So, the agreement calls on the DRC to concede everything that M23 demanded, despite M23’s defeat.
Earlier this year, Paul Rusesabagina, author of the book whose simplest heroic elements became the movie Hotel Rwanda, told KPFA that the Kampala talks were no more than a facade because they were being hosted and, quote unquote, “mediated,” by one of the principle aggressors, the Ugandan government and its President Yoweri Museveni.
Paul Rusesabagina: Uganda has been accused many times by the international community, including the United Nations and the Congolese government, as one of the perpetrators, with Rwanda, supporting M23.
Today, Uganda positions itself as now, a mediator. How can one, in history, be a perpetrator and a mediator at the same time. Can one be a perpetrator and a judge? It can’t be. So, you can see this is why, all that is taking place in Uganda, in Kampala, today is just a kind of facade.
KPFA: The Congolese Parliament has passed a resolution calling on President Kabila to, quote, “reject any agreement with ex-rebels of M23, which are considered a negative force by various relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council." Unquote.
The cost of the Kampala negotiations has been underwritten by Howard Buffett, the son of Omaha billionaire investment manager Warren Buffett, who has also announced that he now plans to fund the building of a dam in eastern Congo.
Though Buffett did not announce that this was his intent, the business press has been reporting on the need to address the shortage of electricity to power resource extraction in eastern Congo.