Congolese abandoned by international community


KPFA Evening News, 02.03.2013

In December, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair opened the Special Hearing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo by saying that the U.S. was by then standing alone, amongst its Western allies, in its ongoing support for Rwanda, despite the UN Group of Experts report documenting Rwanda's command of the M23 militia. The militia had created another million Congolese refugees inside and outside the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in fighting resumed in April 2012.

In January, Germany unfroze $26 million in aid to Rwanda, taking the pressure off the U.S. The UN Security Council has also refused to sanction top Rwandan and Ugandan officials implicated in the report. Georges Nzongola, Professor of African Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill says this confirms what he wrote in the London Guardian in November, that "No One but the Congolese People Can Save the Democratic Republic of the Congo."


Paul Kagame, Joseph Kabila, Ban-Ki-Moon, and Yoweri Museveni at the African Union, where South Africa and Tanzania both refused to sign the peace agreement for the DRC because, for one, they thought it should have an African rather than UN command.

KPFA/Anthony Fest: Yet another “peace agreement” for the Democratic Republic of the Congo was set aside, unsigned this week, but many Congolese and Africa activist organizations, including Washington D.C.-based Friends of the Congo and the African Great Lakes Action Network, say the agreement held out no hope anyway. They say that the international community has turned its back on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Congolese Professor Georges Nzongola, African Studies professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and former head of the Africa Studies Association in the U.S. 

KPFA/Ann Garrison: African Studies Professor Georges Nzongola said that nothing has changed the conclusions he explained in a London Guardian essay published last November. He wrote then that Though the 2011 Congolese election was deemed a fraud and failure, by groups including the Carter Center and the International Crisis Group, some said that the Congolese people affirmed their national identity by fighting so hard to have a real election. “Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni will not stop their attempts to control and loot North and South Kivu (for Rwanda) and the Ituri district of the Eastern Province (for Uganda) as long as Kinshasa is unable to protect its borders.”

Nzongola also accused Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, of being a weak and corrupt collaborator in the theft of Congo’s resources, who has made no real attempt to build either civil society, or a real army, that could protect the country’s borders. The international community including the Security Council, the U.S., and UK, and other major Western powers, have nevertheless continued to arm and otherwise support Kagame, Museveni, and Kabila.

Today Professor Nzongola told KPFA that the Congolese people realize they’re on their own, but haven’t given up. 

Georges Nzongola: Since the Democratic attempt failed in 2011, right now the feeling among the Congolese is to find a way to do it by other means. So the Congolese have not given up. There are Congolese all over the world, talking to each other, trying to figure out how we can develop a mass democratic movement.and even develop a group that would use whatever means are necessary to take over the state.

Congolese child, interal refugee camp, August 2012

KPFA: Meaning some sort of mass, direct action . . .  resistance, civil disobedience, something like that?

Georges Nzongola: Exactly, some type of resistance, even including some type of military action if necessary. So that is going on, and these groups have been talking about this for the last couple of years, although it is very very difficult working in an environment where we don't have any country around the Congo that will support such a thing. We don't see support coming from Congo-Brazzaville, or from Angola, or from Tanzania, or Zambia, or South African Republic. Our hope is that we can mobilize people internally, to really paralyze the state, and create a situation where it might be possible.

KPFA: And that was Congolese Professor Georges Nzongola, Professor of African Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison


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