Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Sunday, January 23, 2011

UNC members arrested, regional military meet

  • According to diplomatic and NGO sources, two members of Kamerhe's UNC party have been arrested in Kindu. According to these sources, the charge against them is insulting the head of state, although one victim says he was initially simply accused of walking in front the PPRD party headquarters with a UNC T-Shirt. He was beaten up by PPRD members before being handed over to the police. This is reportedly the seventh time in a month that a UNC member has been intimidated, arrested or threatened.  
  • A meeting took place in Kigali this week of defense ministers and intelligence officials from Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo. Officials at the meeting denounced a new coalition of armed groups in the region that includes the FDLR, the FPLC, Mai-Mai Yakutumba and Sheka, as well as the participation of Col. Karegeya and Gen. Kayumba and even Al-Shabaab. These two Rwandan dissidents have in the past denied any involvement in military activity. The countries say they will set up various commissions to share information, create extradition agreements and set up a "joint operational protocol for defense and mutual security." It is not clear what this last point means, but according to sources close to the meeting, the countries may once again be considering joint military operations on Congolese soil. 


Anonymous said...

It is simply beyond amazing how cynical and vision-less Kabila’s clique behaves. And what makes all this worse is that it feeds the into the cynicism of the nation’s best and brightest.

I was talking today to a good friend who lives in Mbuji Mayi who, in addition to being a minister at his church, runs a electronics distribution business that employs 5 people. The man is the very picture of a good man. His daughter attends college in DC, his oldest son attends university in Tanzania, and he faithfully contributes 20% or more of his income to maintaining various institutions that serve his fellow city residents- the High School, the Hospital, the Park, the water system, and even church’s he doesn’t attend or subscribe to. By himself, he raised nearly $3,000 from the church’s in his town for Haiti relief. His only education was at the primary levels and a certificate in business and accounting. He recently returned from a trip to Singapore- basically an authoritarian state- and this is my paraphrasing of what he thinks of his country’s political class:

“They are just so useless and bring us into so many problems. It would be fine if they controlled everything and didn’t even give us rights. People in Singapore have no rights but they can make money freely. If they would just build and upkeep the roads, the rails, the electricity, the water, the telecoms, the schools, and hospitals we would be fine. Use the money from the minerals to invest in the small farmer to raise his income. Then, we could make more money and employ more people which means more money for them from taxes. But no, they just eat off us like rats and never return anything back to us. They just want to enrich themselves and keep our people poor and stupid so we don’t revolt”

His cynicism has grown to the point that he is willing to give up his “rights” just so that he can make a living?

I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people in this man’s position. And, as has been the case throughout history, these people are going to snap. They are going to say “I have had enough”. And when they do there is nothing Kabila, whoever replaces him, Rwanda, Uganda or anyone else can do to stop them.


Jason Stearns said...

Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

Rich said...

Thanks Melissa,

I can relate to this on more than one levels and I’m sure Jason knows what I am referring to. So my discontent with what is going on is just as immense.

However, I still think the current institutional matrix should be the only place whereby any change must be operated from (if ever there is to be one).

I am saying this only because calling for any change outside the current institutional matrix may constitute a major setback.

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