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, November 25, 2012

Who is the M23?

I have been getting a lot of questions about the M23, its origins and goals. I suggest you read my recent report, written for the Rift Valley Institute's Usalama Project, on just that. For those interested in understanding the critical historical and social background to the conflict in North Kivu, you should also read our backgrounder. The French translations will be out soon.


Kongo in NYC said...

Does anyone have any idea what Kinshasa’s strategy is with negotiations?

From my view, there doesn’t appear to be one. Reports are claiming that the central demand is for M23 to leave Goma and then its “talk” time.

That is absurd. Goma gives the M23 a ton of leverage and, unless the FADRC is planning an offensive that will actually lead to an actual tactical victory that weakens them, there is nothing to back the demand up with.

Why isn’t Kinshasa simply asking for a ceasefire? So, everyone hold tight at their current defenses, hold their fire, and let MONUSCO fulfill its most basic mandate by maintaining it?

Both sides continue to engage in combat yet are also negotiating- that’s just not being realistic, doesn’t build confidence, and is a waste of time.

Kabila would be able to save face and maintain power- his real goal here- if he just allows M23 to keep Goma, call a ceasefire, let people cool off, open negotiations, and implement whatever ICGLR’s is asking him to do. This would be the practical approach and if Kabila is anything he is deeply pragmatic and can comfortably stare at reality.

Why isn’t he not doing this?

blaise said...

@Kongo in NY
maybe you will like this piece from the renown Congolese philosopher Godefroid Ka Mana.

Glenys said...

I think one of the key questions is “What does M23 want?”.

I read Jason's report with great interest. Scoured the "What drives the M23?" chapter but couldn't find the answer :)

Having meticulously walked through all of M23's grievances and demands since May, it seems to me that M23 doesn't know what it wants.

Maybe now they just exist to exist, like so many other rebel groups in the eastern DRC.

@Kongo in NYC. I agree -- saving face is key. It's always a component of negotiations. So what are the realistic negotiable options that would allow both Kabila and the M23 leadership to save face? I think you're bang on -- allowing M23 to exist and to hold some territory...

What this means for the long term I can't at this moment fathom.

- Glenys

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