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

Friday, May 17, 2013

What next in Kampala?

News in the Congo has been surprisingly M23-deficient in the past few days. A group of Mai-Mai attacked Beni yesterday, killing several Congolese army officers (although their commander Hilaire has links well- to the M23); Kinshasa prepares for the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General and the head of the World Bank next week; and the country awaits a new head of the election commission (Appollinaire Malu Malu is the favorite, but his Catholic church seems opposed).

Is this because Kampala is dead? It would seem so––the negotiations have been on hold for weeks now, and the M23 has withdrawn, it says, until there is an official ceasefire. It suffices to look at the various proposals on the table there at the moment to see how far apart the two sides are.

The M23's proposal (here) underscores their distrust for the Congolese government: they want a transitional period during which they would carry out joint operations with the Congolese government against "negative forces" (ADF, LRA, FDLR, etc.). Once the East is stabilized (they suggest an initial period could take five years), the M23 would integrate the army.

The government, on the other hand, (their proposal here) says the M23 would have to integrate almost unconditionally: rank-and-file soldiers and officers up to the rank of lieutenant can integrate automatically, but higher ranking officers would only be allowed in on a case-by-case basis. "Many of them would not be able to join," one of the government negotiators told me. Indeed, the government proposal currently bars soldiers who have already benefitted from an amnesty for integrating, which potentially would pertain to all ex-CNDP troops (90% of the M23's officer corps). The two top M23 commanders, Sultani Makenga and Innocent Kaina, would almost certainly not be able to join.

In response, the Ugandan facilitation has put together a compromise agreement that neither side seems to like––the government does not like the obligation to reform its institutions, while the M23 says the deal is "worse than the government's proposal," in part because it repeats the case-by-case basis of integration. But it also highlights to areas of convergence: both sides commit to bringing refugees back and securing them, and to create a high-level body to promote reconciliation.

The real reason the talks are on hold is probably because of the imminent arrival of the Intervention Brigade. The Kinshasa government believes that this brigade will solve the M23 problem, and has been bolstered by the UN Security Council resolution calling for the rebels to disband. But while the advance Tanzanian party for the brigade has arrived in Goma, the South African and Malawian troops are still dragging their feet. While for Malawi the delay is logistical, the South Africans appear to be dragging their feet in part because they didn't receive the command of MONUSCO's troops, as they had wanted.

There are different versions for why this is the case––perhaps the most persistent one is that a member of the Security Council made a political choice to back a Brazilian candidate, in part in order to prevent SADC from having too much influence in the Congo.

In any case, both sides seem to agree that some sort of military escalation is necessary to move forward.


blaise said...

Ksmpala was a waste of time from the starter, it was like putting Congo between a rock and an hard place.
The M23 didn't help itself by humiliating the Fardc even when it wasn't necessary. Any reconciliation between the two groups is almost impossible.
I read that North Kivu civil society wasn't exactly warm about the automatic integration of those who are defecting the M23. They are worry about the army being infiltrated. My take is that as long as the Fardc doesn't understand the mechanism that lead some soldiers to betray the country, the same thing will happen again, over and over.
It's a shame that an alternative position wasn't found to help the army save the face while providing an exit route to the M23 officers.For example, a DDR that will include the creation of private entities which will contract their services to the army(maintenance,services,etc).A less lethal version of blackwater for example. Those kind of contracts are quite lucrative and may be an interesting alternative to a career in the army.
Anyway, It seems inevitable that a confrontation will take place. As the M23 is cut off their rear base , it will be interesting to see how the situation will unfold.
I'm intrigued by gov Masangu since his name came up with the mai mai "bakata katanga". Most of the time, it's wise to give a "golden parachute" to people who had such powerful role in society. It can be an ambassadorship, a major position in a corporation or a governorate. I wonder what's pres Kabila game plan here.
Mrs Braeckman gave an interesting take on why the army is a sensitive subject for JK.

blaise said...

Btw, I believe we will have more commitment from Tanzania than South Africa. The latter wasn't to warm to send troops in the first place but was keen to simply assist logistically. Since Zimbabwe had to desist for financial reasons, South Africa had to step in. Pres Zuma tried to convince pres Dos Santos without a lot of success. I suspect Angolans are still furious that they have to share with us one of their richest block.

Rich said...

Jason -

You maybe right that both sides seem to have agreed on a military escalation somewhen soon. However, from what I gather, the mood in Kinshasa (DRC Gvt officials) is not necessarily that the IB will solve the M23 problem or indeed disband it but they hope with the IB the long overdue balance of power on the battle field may somehow be restored. This can also be seen through the fact that Kinshasa has now started to prepare the opinion on the imminence of the so called national dialogue that will further isolate those hoping to jump on the M23 wagon...

This may be plausible due to the fact that it is uncertain that M23 handlers will allow themseleves to take on new players (TZ;SA) with the risk of being dragged in an open conflict and hence endanger the relative peace their countries have enjoyed in the last decade or so.

So, DRC is hoping that IB will at least push M23 handlers to agree on a new type of relationship where the interests of M23 handlers will be secured or managed through official channels rather than armed groups and other war-lords.

Personally, I don't see much life left in M23. From RCD, CNDP all the way up to M23, key players are being taken out one by one and the way forward will be to rely on Gvts officials & structures rather than thugs to deal with any kind of issues standing between antagonist countries & regimes in the region.

My guess is, the build up to 30 Juin 2013 will be very interesting indeed.

A suivre ...

Unknown said...

Thanks Jason for the update on the tragic human situation in the Kivus. You raise many insightful issues. Just 2 points:

(1) The M23 wants a “no question asked/indiscriminate/wholesale” integration into the Congolese army. I just wonder if this is not precisely the “biggest impunity reproach” that Western powers level at the DRC, of eternally allowing “war criminals and rebels for fun” to be rewarded with endless “brassages/integrations”. We all support HRW who just wrote to JK to end the cycle. Well, I can only imagine how confusing it can be for those DRC dictators as one thing and its opposite are demanded of you!

(2) You reveal that “the DRC gov. does not like the obligation to reform its institutions”. Now, that is such an indicting charge against those DRCgov muppets. Just could you enlighten us ordinary folks how those DRCgov morons “actually refuse reforms”, or more importantly what “reforms” and what “institutions” are we talking about here?

With your academic grounding, it is a unique pleasure that your blog is less journalistic (reporting) and more analytic (comprehension) of the Congolese/Kivus “problema” (etymology: enigma to be solved). So from an epistemological standpoint, these “endless generic terms thwart any possibility to adequately “problematise”(composition) and indeed inhibit any genuine “analytical appreciation” (decomposition) of the Kivus/Congolese crisis. There can’t be any intellectual analysis (intellectual here as Latin Romans view it etymologically: intelligere (truth grasping)) if the “terms of reference” are liberal and open-ended. In such case the solution is impossible! Often credit is given to AngloSaxon (US,UK,Aussies…) as opposed to Continental Europe (France or Germany) modes of reasoning; for the clarity (realism) of the former as opposed to the intellectualism (idealism) of the latter.

So, let me guess: political, economic or security reforms? I can find my way around the political and economic reforms in DRC; can someone out there please enlighten us on what is meant by “security reforms in DRC”! Everyone uses this phrase these days, rightly so. But it just seems to us ordinary folks that no one is capable of defining it or indeed outlining its practical contours of deployment. Pity us ordinary folks!

Lets hope that as Ban Ki Moon is headed for Congo we shall know “finally” what the “root causes” of this conflict are and some meat will be put on that “bony AddisAbaba framework”!


As to the imminent resumption of the “football game” of war in the Kivus, Well! Everyone have a pleasurable TV/radio/press time when it resumes! We Congolese will be mourning our dead relatives!

The real question for us is what are those DRCgov morons doing “right now” to face that eventuality? They should not expect the UN brigade to do their job!


Unknown said...


That is a giant insight from you on what DRC strategic thinking is/should be for the upcoming events, thank you. For the first time ever, this lethargic DRCgov’s diplomats have been great. They have managed to “drag in” actors with easy axe to grind with that “invincible main handler of M23”. TZ forcefully returned “1994 massacres fugitives” (thus avoiding a similar chaos that DRC now endures). The mighty SA have not always digested well the arrogance of the “invincible ones” for repeatedly violating their territory (Gen. Kayumba and others’ failed assassination attempts). Remember SA and TZ insisted that they go it alone separately from UN, but people like amb. Carson convinced them to use the UN.

So in my view, the DRC strategy should consist in not just attaining some “balance of power”, but they should bring a bit of our hell in the paradise next door. Remember, their whole bubble is built around “eternal immutable quit”, a bit of int’l headlines of mayhem, and the bubble bursts irrevocably.

Now talking about “accommodating the interests of M23 handlers”, once again, the DRCgov has been great at including some beautiful clauses in that famous “framework”. I think Congolese should like that “framework” after all. I saw last time JK and Mrs Mary Ronbison specifically agreeing on sticking to the “confines of the framework exclusively”. Suggesting somebody wanted to depart from it.

But the DRCgov still seems pathetic in many other respects. They should avoid previous mistakes. No more tacit or secret machinations. They should negotiate that framework implementation “in public” and have the Congolese population on their side in case of some “indigestible” proposition.

Still on the upcoming war against M23, why are UN or rather DRCgov not asking to use the territory of our Rwandan friends to combat the M23 in the name of reciprocity? Seems obvious to me or its just me!


Unknown said...

"Great column. You sound exactly like someone I'd love to know. Keep celebrating you. The world needs a lot more people just like you. Thanks for your honesty.
Accounts Software For Small Business
Simran Kaur"

Kongo in NYC said...


The Brazilian apparently replacing Meece helped break up gangs in Haiti after its earthquake! Not only is that awesome but, from my vantage point living here in Brooklyn, NY in what I will just call "Little Haiti/Senegal/Congo/White Hipster/Hasidic Jewish Town", could he work his magic here when he's done w/ the Kivu's??!!!

@ Muana

So, to answer the question you posed at the end of your post it really is just you, brother!


Honestly, between your "demilitarized zone" and your desire to "bring hell" to Rwanda, I am BEYOND happy you are an arm-chair diplomat and not a real one! Our people and the region NEEEEEDDDD peace so everyone can live productive and meaningful lives. Why are you so intent on always saber-rattling w/ Rwandans? Man, to paraphrase what I say to my Palestinian friends who own all the stores in my Brooklyn hood' "Rwanda is here to stay and a prosperous East/Central Africa will REQUIRE we make peace". And before you excuse me of shilling for Kagame remember our beloved Lumumba's dream for the continent.

To your point about "security reform" we are of one accord. It is true this is always thrown around but noone seems to be able to very simply describe what this means??!! One can always guess and, wherever you end up w/ the guess, it's likely a) building and maintaining a professional, clean, and corrupt free b) armed forces c) police force d) justice and penal system so as to e) provide consistent and on point internal and external security and bare basics law and order on EVERY INCH OF CONGOLESE TERRITORY for the Congolese State, its people, resources, and property. Well, if that's what we mean I think we all just need to look at Exhibit A and B- Iraq and Afghanistan- to see just how wonderful the so-called international community (ie, rich and well-educated white people who run international organizations that not a single person of color has any sway on) is at doing this. I ofcourse share this goal but, until we get some clarity on a) what this means b) what's the goal w/ it c) what's the plan within the "Framework" to reach the goal d) who pays for's just yet more great ideas re: our homeland that, as Blaise tends to imply in his comments, will just collect dust on the 30,000 other plans to save our homeland.

I guess on this accord I take the “Dambiso Mayo” approach to propping up failed states: force Africans to learn what nearly every major State had to do own their own- census and monitor the people, build roads and communication systems to enforce the monitoring, make everyone pay taxes on the regular, and use a healthy portion of those taxes to build an army, police force, and judicial system, to maintain the State.
Not asking Africans (and anyone else, like Afghans or Iraqis or East Timorians) to do this is, in my view, fundamentally racist.


Great analysis as always. And thank you for the new post- the comment thread on the last one was veering, as so often happens here, on the divisive and silly. But, like Muana, you took my breath away w/ this:

"“the government does not like the obligation to reform its institutions”

So, could you clarify what you mean? What "obligations"? Which "institutions"? What, exactly, does the government not like? Are you referring to what- on the Kinshasa side- has come from the Kampala talks? Or the Framework? Or both? Or neither?

I'm totally confused, Stearns.

Would be super appreciative if you could clarify that remarkably obtuse yet apparently rather prescient (for the negotiators I assume) charge in your otherwise jack smart analysis.

Kongo in NYC said...

@ Mel (if you’re lurking around)
Thanks for the shout out on the last thread and glad to see your venture is going well. And, to be clear, I agree that food production and, to capture expanding production, is of primary importance. But, like Blaise mentioned, right now it’s actually more profitable for the small farmer to export. And as Muana Congo has said, without the catalytic power of infrastructure, simply producing for the family- even if it isn’t enough for sustenance and contributes to malnutrition- is a rather rational choice to make if you are a peasant. One solution? Subsidies. If we could get some maturity out of Kinshasa (ie, stop the stealing of public funds/assets), we could offer farmers X cash payment for producing Y amount. This would incentivize peasants to take some risks and offset some of their costs without causing inflation. The result would make domestic production soar, encourage investment in food processing, which would spur urban employment, which would increase demand for more food, which would raise incomes of peasants further as they produce more to meet this demand, which….well, I’m sure you see how the multiplier effect here.
Henry Ford once said that if it wasn’t for the introduction of subsidies, Ford Motor Company would have never come into existence. Why? Ford was the son of a farmer who grew very rich from the incentives subsidies provided. As the farm expanded, so too did the presence of farm machines- machines a young Henry toyed with which eventually led to the idea of making a machine to get people and farm goods to the market quicker.

That machine eventually became the Model T- the first mass produced car- and, ofcourse, the rest is history.

blaise said...

@ Kongo in NYC and @Mel
That's a brilliant idea(subsidies) to keep the price low and motivate peasants to be bold. Actually, Nigeria and Iran(among others) are making the same move specially to maintain the price of gas low. If I'm not mistaken, the USA still use subsidies(farm bill) to keep the price of food ridiculously low.
The gov seems to have a lot of ideas going on : they refinanced on their own the restart of ex Daipn, they seems to be adamant about launching our own green revolution. In this regard, it didn't make sense to me the allocation of those 6 billions as far as the roads were constructed for the china deal.
In my view, priorities should have been to link major centers first either by rail or by road.I didn't see the point of having another mega hospital in kinshasa when we have Mama Yemo which is understaffed/short of medicine and Dike's hospital which is unaffordable for most. And I don't count Clinique universitaire,ngaliema and kinbanguiste.
There is a shortage of maize in Zambia and Zimbabwe have a food shortage as well. I bet the export of maize is up in Katanga(maybe that explain why the price was going up too).
It's really tricky to master all this food supply chain without granaries and a complete knowledge of food consumption habits. I remember in early 2000, a guy made a fortune cutting fuambwa from the Kasai(where it wasn't really consumed) to sell in Kinshasa(where the market was still recovering from the 1998 invasion started in Kitona).
There is much to do and not a lot of time left before the food/water related wars start.

blaise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blaise said...

@Kongo in NYC
As for the army reform, the solution cannot come from foreigners. Like development aid,military aid put the recipient in a dependency state. Only when an organism need to adapt in changing conditions that it survive.That's Darwin natural selection process, the survive of the fittest.I start to believe that Monusco is one of the reasons the Fardc are not growing up. I believe that the Fac were more efficient than the fardc because Mzee didn't have a lot of choices and help. We have enough brilliant brains in the Fardc but most of them are sidelined and the recommendations of "les etats generaux de l'armee" are never implemented.
I can recommend you the excellent book written by JJ Wondo:les armees du congo
In my view, the fardc has to go back to some basics first:
- knowing all about each members of the armed forces
- supplying the meager pay by other non monetary aids like family ration,clothing,health care,etc
In a nutshell, the fardc needs an effective administration that will be the backbone of the whole army.This administration will manage soldiers life hence freeing the commanders from being monetary involved in their soldiers life.
In the mean time, we need a powerful figure in the military prosecution and a counterpart in the civilian side. Something like two Charles Alamba as the fear procom,only limited by the rule of law.
There is so much an army can do beside war like using the military genie to open new roads,fix bridges,create a private industry that will supply it with military or non military items.
All boiled down to how much budget is allocated in the defense and justice departments. I believe that deploying the army across the territory will be good for the economy as long as the soldiers are well supplied. There is so much service industries that can spawn here: delivery services, grocery chains,hotelleries,etc

blaise said...

I just forget this:
the guy who is defending Beni is Richard Bisamaza,an ex cndp,close to Bosco.
In sud Kivu,colonel Mugabo is in charge of the 5th sector.
The 812 regiment based in Kitshanga is made of ex cndp.
The question one should ask himself : if those localities are attacked by the M23 and allies, how do we know that those troops won't turn against their Fardc colleagues like it's happened in Goma? Wouldn't it be wiser to deploy them far from the borders just until we have a better mastering of the security in those regions?
According to this article, those refugees coming from Rwanda was armed with guns. The same was alleged about cattled guardians looking after the livestocks of some powerful people from both sides of the border.
And what's up with dislodging militias but letting them regroup in other locations for future attacks?

blaise said...

you may like thus, it's abt the great Inga project, scheduled for 2015(first stone)
By the way, M23 launch a first strike around Kibati but are contained so far

Unknown said...

@Kongo in NYC

Thanks bro for your reply. Trust me I am your fan on this forum because you are never stuck in idle armchair speculations but always propose “your way forward” like Mel (even though I may not agree with, fair is it not?). To be honest I am not on this forum to “speculate” so I can’t be diplomat or political analyst. Congolese people in the Kivus don’t need any more “smart or sophistication”, but “end” to their “cavalry”. THAT IS MY GOAL!

So don’t worry about my “language”, it comes with the terrain. It is “purposeful”. So mine is an “activist attempt” for the END of our people misery in the Kivus and not these “futile sophistic debates”. You have been enough around CongoSiasa to known that my “prima facie crazy solutions” have always been greeted with: it cant be done, it has never been done and so on. Then “they win the day”. Two years or so back: I proposed an “offensive MONUSCO” to build before keeping peace. I was called all Virunga park animal names. Today, with the persistence of a great American like Roger Meece and Congolese civil society, it is possible.

Look, “entre nous” (between us), maybe I seem extreme for activism purposes. That “demilitarized fenced zone” i am suggesting between Rwanda and Congo should not separate these 2 people who are actually ONE minus Kagame. Maybe there should be “designated gates” to control people movements across the 2 countries. How about that?

Look how as we speak, Kagame whimsically has just started a new war (pushed the M23 button) because these so-called “Combattants” have democratically pelted him with some nicely perfumed eggs in London. If you talk to them, these so-called combatants are just small-kids (2nd, 3th generation Congolese who most never been to Congo), who just long for GOOD for their ancestral land.

You raise many pertinent issues. Shall see later.


congo man said...

@kongo in New York
I agree with you .our people need peace .but I have many questions to ask you.
Are you the same person who stacked me for saying that 99.9% of the congolese people wants peace and are against terrorists groupes like the m23?
Are you the same Kongo in New York who asked the world to give the m23 terrorists a chance when they where threatening to attack and export their campaign of terror all the way to KINSHASA ?
Are you the Kongo in New York who thinks that the m23 terrorists leader(BERTRAN BISIMWA's demands are legitimate and him or some members of his terrorist groupe shouldn't be arrested and face justice even tough they have expressed their so called legitimate political demands thru violence and terror ,they have killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of innocent Congolese man,woman and Children...they have committed acts of mass looting and extortion.they have abducted thousands of innocent Children and turning them into Child soldiers and little killing monsters.
Are you the same Kongo in New York who cheered and expressed strong support for the m23 terrorists when they briefly occupied the Congolese City of GOMA,terrorized It's residents and engaged in a campaign of mass looting,killings and extortion.
Can u please tell us who are you?
Are you a Congolese New Yorker or a RWANDES DIPLOMAT.
Are you a Congolese loyer or an American lobbyist for the RWANDAN DICTATORSHIP ?
don't get me wrong I agree with your last comment. I always agree with you when the m23 are cornerd and in trouble and you turn into a peace lover (GHANDI). I always disagree with when the m23 have the momentum and you turn into a war manger enemy of peace .this time I think you are right.
The people of the great lakes wants peace.the people of the great lakes can't wait to see the end to the misery ,killings and carnage that they have been subjected to by PAUL KAGAME,YOWERI MUSEVENI,and JAMES KABAREBE for the last 2 decades. Now It's time for the international community to put pressure on the m23 and all the other terrorists in the region to lay down their arms.if not the only way peace can once again return to this region ,is for the new coalition of the willing (DRC,SOUTH AFRICA,TANZANIA ,MALAWI...) To militarily crash this terrorists once and for all.

congo man said...

I meant attack but not stocked. Sorry for the typo

congo man said...

I meant lawyer not loyer

Unknown said...

@Kongo in NYC


Rigour, objectivity and precision in terminology are conditions of any credible scientific research. Unless it is journalism, or worse, activism. We are all grateful to our Jason for often bringing on researchers like Prof Maria Eriksson Baaz or Sévérine Autesserre as their words, facts and figures are always incontrovertible (even when we don’t share their opinions). Don’t we all deplore the “genocide” by corporate media of the centurions of human civilisation, great “public intellectuals” like Dr Noam Chomsky or Dr Cornel West?

That said, you are so honest to discern that my frustration with this avalanche of imprecise terms used about this conflict, especially the phrase “reform in DRC”. It is now like a stick to beat that JK devil than a genuine effort to help DRC change (for once believe me I am no JK supporter, he doesn’t even know that I exist). For instance, we all know what is meant by say “economic reform in Greece/Cyprus: austerity for so-called fiscal consolidation, restructuring of banks, privatization, competitiveness…” . Look, we all want reforms in DRC. We just want to know what is meant by these reforms so we can hold those DRCgov morons accountable, when they don’t implement the “prescriptions”.

So back to “army reform in DRC”. Now that we can’t get any joy from the experts, let’s give it a non-expert short:

(1)I love the “special FARDC tax” you once proposed.

(2)This uncoordinated piece-meal reform of FARDC by local/int’l bureaucrats has failed. Belgian/American/South Africans are all training their own troops. No success. So I suggest that Congo hire a BUSINESS EXECUTIVE who has “actually turned around” the fortunes of a blue-ship company like say late Steve Jobs (Apple) or Alan Mulally (Ford). Give them time-frame, team and resources to change FARDC: trust me in no time Kagame won’t be deriding us any more!

(3)With +- 100000 troops, FARDC is just inefficiently plethoric. Rather bundle up these aging chaps and give them tractors to produce food and build rural roads. Get lean and mean 30000 team of younger than 30 Congolese from everywhere in Congo, and indoctrinate them to fight for Congo (no more rebels).
Is this really unrealistic?


Unknown said...

Why bother with negotiations when its clear that war is imminent? M23 are not stupid and know that Kinshasha would rather have other people sacrifice their sons for them as opposed to dealing with the real causes of milliads of rebel groups from the kivus to katanga and elsewhere.

Kongo in NYC said...

@ Congo Man

That’s an interesting interpretation of my past comments on Siassa.

Here’s my response:

I am Congolese American. Up until the age of 6, I lived in Mbandaka until my father, a timber merchant, and my mother, a Haitian immigrant to the Congo in the early 80’s and a English teacher, moved us all to New York City-where I currently make my home. As I have extended family here in the USA, South Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and ofcourse the Congo (mostly Mbandaka, Lisala, Bunia, and Kin), you can say I have a exile’s perspective from several different vantage points.

I support any interests in the Congo that seek to overthrow, either peacefully or via the barrel of the gun, the Kinshasa regime as headed by Joseph Kabila.

I do not, and will not ever, consider his regime to be legitimate and thus worthy of my respect. And I would add that not a single member of my family in the Congo does either. Kabila and his decadent, corrupt, tyrannical, incompetent, and foolish regime must be removed for the long term peace and development of our homeland and the dignity of our people.

I supported the M23 given they are Congolese and also sought the overthrow of the regime in Kinshasa.

I no longer support the M23, however, given the many crimes they have committed against our people since their rebellion and against UN peacekeepers. But, to state this very clearly, should some other group seek the overthrow of the regime in Kinshasa I will support them with every fiber of my being until they give me reason not to. As I have longed suggested in my comments, the real enemy of our people is not Kigali, our Kampala, or anywhere else- it is Kinshasa. They, and they alone, are the reason the sacredness of our women has been so brutally defiled, our people continue to live in crushing poverty, our rich land remains a wasteland, and who continue to humiliate our people by outsourcing the defense of our homeland to other Africans.

Quite simply, I believe all the many and diverse evils that afflict our people is completely, entirely, totally, and unalterably the fault of our “dear leaders” in Kinshasa. I am ofcourse aware of, and have respect for, arguments on this blog that take the position that various outside forces are at fault for the dizzying array of evils that befall our homeland.

I am not swayed by those arguments in the slightestand will continue to believe that the greatest and most fundamental evil is the regime of Joseph Kabila which must be removed by any and all means and that it is the eternal responsibility of all those who love Congo to actively seek this regime’s end.

I hope I have made myself clear as to my past, present, and future opinions re: M23.

Unknown said...

@Kongo in NYC.
This a very interesting opinion I can only agree with.
I will point out that JK is just the tip of the iceberg; you cannot get rid of him and his regime without looking thoroughly at the system as it is now: at every level of the Congolese society the norm is stealing and behaving like an absolute, capricious, childish monarch towards people under your authority. You always try to please the monarch through flattery and lies as it guarantees your own survival. I suspect that the very people who are supporting him will pledge allegiance to the new king in order to pursue their kleptomaniac ways. You can change the man but the system will probably survive unless you have a maoist style takeover...I know I am a dreamer
With regards to the M23, I was amused by the way they tried (and failed ) to widen their appeal beyond a section of Congolese tutsis: they got R Lumbala instead...who fits perfectly the above description.
To make a long story short, I am not sure that:
- the Congolese people have the stamina for a long and hard political fight
- the M23 can be anything else that a Rwanda's puppet and a tool for some Congolese Tutsis to have gain power and privileges.
I am convinced that the international community is fairly happy with JK and will turn a blind to the constitutional amendments being prepared to install a republican...monarch.
Change will comen but I suspect it won't be as fast, as pure and as radical as some of us would like. But then again, history goes through twists and turns that only prophets can foretell.

Unknown said...

@ Kongo in NYC,
I cannot agree with you on everything. But you seem to be a little bit naive as to why you supported the M23 knowing that it is a movement emanating from Rwanda. You have made the same mistake we made in the 90's when we thought that the AFDL that brought the Kabilas to power was indeed an emanation of the then zairean people and we are still paying the price of that mistake even today. But I do not believe that Kabila can be held responsible for what is happening in Congo. Go back to the speech of the late President Mobutu entitled "le mal zaïrois" describing the patterns of zaireans behaviour in the 70's an 80's. People of the province of your father were detaining all the key positions of power in the then Zaire. With their support, the moral fiber of the country was destroyed and Kabila cannot reconstruct it alone without the help of young people like you. We are still paying a heavy price for the inconsideration that prevailed for many years in the then Zaire. We together with the actual congolese political class are the products of that Mobutu afbrication. Have you ever tried to understand why the french "legion etrangère" had to come in support to Mobutu in 1978 after the fall of Kolwezi then you will understand that Kabila is not the cause of the demise of the congolese army or of the moral decay of our society.

Unknown said...

@Serge Kalenge.
Mobutu did mention "le mal zairois", pointing out that "tout s'achete et tout se vend dans le pays", it was in 1977 or 1978. He has a responsibility towards today's Congo. I cannot understand why after 16 years (this is more than
HALF the time Mobutu spent in power) running the DRC, the Kabilas have nothing to show for it. The Kabilas inherited a society that yearned for change and progress, what Congolese got instead is the same system of nepotism, corruption and ethnic politics where people from Katanga (JK is a Katangan himself) run the show...just like those from Equateur during Mobutu's leadership.
I agree with you: the DRC needs reconstruction at all levels. However, the Kabilas have had 16 years to start somethiang, anything and they didn't. When JK shows real leadership and desire to put the country in the right path, maybe more people will be willing to work for him and make sacrifices for the sake of their country.
As far as the army is concerned, Mobutu (like LDK) understood the importance of a structured army. The FAZ, despite its flaws, were a more formidable army (just ask president Dos Santos) than the FARDC. I am still waiting for the likes of Gen Mahele or Gen B Mabe to emerge in its ranks.

Unknown said...

@ Kongo in NYC. & Patrick Fiombea

To you bro/sis Kongo NYC, plz take it easy, Congoman is a well-meaning fellow.

Both of you here raise genuine concerns shared by many Congolese. We all need CHANGE in our beloved Congo. For me the real question is: what kind of change do we want, revolutionary or reformist?

Given our current situation, a knee-jack wish would be a revolutionary change (violence, coup…) with a “messiah” who would perform miracles with a magic wand. However, violence begets violence, and welcome back the “African violent vicious circle” of yesteryears! Ask Bozize in CAR. If those M23 thugs can’t agree on sharing private property they looted in Goma, how would they govern a country like Congo?

Just a thought: I don’t believe in “political theories” (overrated speculations) or slogans. I trust “actual history cases” as they don’t lie. So, post-independence African history including Haitian (Papa Doc /Baby Doc) shows that no regime that assumed power by “force” has brought “freedom and prosperity”. Show me 1 out of the histories of 54 African countries? Notice how even “semi-revolutionary regime changes” in the Maghreb are now unraveling. In Egypt, Tunisia or even Libya, “newly” installed messiahs are now no more.

Evidence shows that African countries that presently offer a peaceful, hopeful and surest prospect of “democracy and prosperity” are those that chose the “reformist change” (Senegal, Ghana, Kenya or Zambia… ). This is a FACT not a theory!

As for our Congo, slow and tenuous as it is, the ongoing “reformist change” is the “closest” to appropriate not just because of the diverse nature of the country, but because such process is “consensual and dialectic”. By that I mean that it produces “high water marks”, as a result of interactions between both sides of the divide pouvoir and opposition (constitution, reform of CENI, numerous new laws…), which therefore should be hard to review by anyone in the future. Is it not why the USA

To be bluntly honest about, given the mitigating circumstances, the glass is ahlf-full. Though I agree that JK and his cronies are still stubborn in many ways. But I think JK is now weakened and denuded; he has no other choice than to “reform”. We now have a basis to build on. I say NO to “eternel recommencements”!

If by all I have just said I have somehow supported JK, I plead guilty.

Also, I fail to see how our displeasure with JK should make us insensitive to the inhuman suffering of our compatriots in the Kivus. Let’s put aside our internal feuds and support the new momentum to END this!

Again, thank you both, this is how our discussions on DRC should be: issue-based.


Unknown said...

Sorry, i meant this is why the USA has been the most stable, prosperous and the most +- democratic nation because it built its system and institutions in a collegial and reformistic manner, with highs and lows "over time" as initiated by its "founding fathers". No messiahs. Good "case lesson" for Congo.

The future is bright people!


congo man said...

@Patrick and Serge
I understand both of you have a point but the issues here is not about MOBUTU and KABILA etc.let's not give the enemy another excuse my brothers . For more than a decade PAUL KAGAME used their 1994 ethnic war and killings ,the so called FDLR,and the defense of some tribe as an excuse for His endless invasions of our Country and violation of our territorial integrity ,the pillage of our resources and massacre of our that the truth is out and PAUL KAGAME has run out of lies to excuse his barbaric evil plans against the DRC and It's peoples.KAGAMISTS have desided to make the so called Corruption of the Congolese their last Excuse .this is not going to work . every time KAGAMISTES are confronted about their destabilizing activities inside the DRC ,their response is "those Congolese people are corrupt irresponsibles " like if that gives them the right to the Barbaric carnage that they have brought to the great lakes. It's very naive to think that their objective is to March to KIN and overthrow JK.even if that was their objective .do they have the mean to achieve it? I don't think so .
I hope we can start to see beyond KABILA,BEMBA and CHICHI like the majority of the Congolese and start to put Country first.I hate ethnic or Geo Politics but I understand how deep and destructive the Politic of ethnicity can be not only in Africa and beyond . I know that to some people with maybe some connection to MOBUTU,KABILA,CHICHI ,BEMBA,etc unlike the majority of the Congolese ,it may sometimes be difficult to see beyond those individuals and put Country first.this is the reason why some people will think that supporting the Congolese people against what i consider to be our Common enemy ,means supporting JK.I just don't understand that thinking.thanks goodness the majority of the Congolese people don't see it that way.having say that I also don't see anything wrong with supporting JK,CHICHI ,BEMBA,MOBUTU,KAMERHE,NDONGALA or KATUMBI etc they're all Congolese politicians to me.I consider my self to be a Congolese patriot who hate PAUL KAGAME and his Junta not because they'r Rwandese ...but for the evil and Crimes against humanity that they have commuted against the people of the DRC and the great lakes and for also what i consider to be their 20 years work against not only the interest of the DRC but the interest of AFRICA .but i do not have any problem with our Rwandese brothers ans sisters who I think deserve better than that Ruthless Dictatorship despite what the enemies of AFRICA wants us to believe.I would like to give my opinion concerning the JK vs SESE issue but i don't want to give Kagamistes what they're looking for.I know that KAGAMISTES have been trying hard to give cover to their m23 and other terrorists groupes by Changing and attempting to Change the subject to JK, Congolese corruption...blah blah blah ,but this trick is not going to work with me.Was Mobutu a bad dictator ? Yes . Is JK a bad leader ? yes .but considering the mess that he inherited,I will not blaim him for all the mess that was made long before he was born .he has made many mistakes that i will consider almost caving to international pressure and allow KAGAME to infiltrate the FARDC with spys and terrorists etc. .but i applaud him for also taking risky but important decisions... like choosing a prime minister (MATATA PONYO)who has proven to not only to be a good leader who sim to be putting County first and making decisions that are leading the Country in a right direction despite opposition from the corrupt thieves who's brush Kagamistes and the enemies of the DRC wants to paint all of us with and use it as an excuse for their continued crimes against the people of the people like MATATA PONYO and MOISE KATUMBI I see leaders who are ready to erase the bad image of MOBUTU and take the DRC to the 21 century .unlike many compatriots on this blog ,I don't think JK will change the.constitution and stay past 2016 .

Kongo in NYC said...

@ Muana Congo

Thank you for keeping the debate on the high.

To be clear, I have no beef w/ Congo Man. We simply see things very differently regarding who, ultimately, is the real enemy of our people.

That's OK. Disagreement is healthy as long as we do not become disagreeable.

Our disagreement is not that profound- I do recognize the destabilizing activity that has befallen our people as a result of the grand and misguided ambitions of the regime in Kigali.

Where we disagree is agency.

I simply believe that it is the role of our government (and all governments) in Kinshasa to protect and defend our homeland.

Period. No excuses. No if/and's/but's. No, "well, he inherited a mess".

Protect and Defend.


We all know it has singularly failed to do this so, regardless of the ambitions of the petty yet erudite dictator in Kigali, I believe it is important to simply yet loudly acknowledge this most basic fact.

Sorry. Perhaps I am being to cruel and holding this regime to expectations few others could match. And ofcourse, I fully recognize the political system Kabila inherited is very, very, very resistant to reform.

But, as Americans are found of saying, "that's just tough shit".

Kinshasa has failed, time and time and time again, to protect and defend our homeland. As such, it has lost legitimacy in my eyes and, clearly, that of a good chunk of the Congolese.

At some point, we need to hold those responsible for both the humiliation we keep suffering at the battlefield and the daily ones endured by our people that take more slow-burning yet equally fatal forms- poverty, disease, misfortune, broken dreams, and broken hopes.

We must hold the regime of Joseph Kabila responsible for the constant and near endless evils that afflict our homeland.

It is almost pointless to keep complaining about the depredations of Kagame. Clearly, if Congolese Tutsi's felt some measure of protection by the state they would not keep becoming a party in Kigali's ambitions, right? It's like being a Lebanese Christian who rails against Tehran for its patronage of Hezbollah without acknowledging the failures of the elites in Beirut!

Kagame or M8 would not be a problem if we had a functioning and competent regime in Kinshasa. Why people have such a problem with this most basic of understanding I really do not understand.

And to be super clear, this doesn't mean that my soul doesn't cry to God every-time our brothers and sisters in the Kivu's must face the violence that is such a part of their lives as a result of Kigali's treachery.

But it is ALSO true that they face this FROM THEIR OWN FUCKING ARMY!

Now, I would like to see "reformist" change. And, to a degree, I do see this in Matata's technocratic reforms- slow and cumbersome though they may be.

But I'm not going to hold my breath for the technocrats, Muana, and you shouldn't either.

Finally, brilliant comment on the "dialectic" and the American experience.

@Patrick, Serge

I mostly agree with your comments and the piece about the moral decay that set in under Mobutu is well taken.

But, as you can see, I believe quite intensely in the absolute centrality of Congolese agency on the part of our elites in resolving our problems.

Why? Because I believe fervently in the creativity, spirit, and fundamental humanity of our people who deserve leaders and a political system that finally liberates them to pursue their dreams.

Unknown said...

@ congoman,
I can only agree with you for the stance you have taken on this blog and that is the reason why I always follow it. Kongo in NYC, Mwanacongo and all the other brothers, I am proud of you for everything you are trying to do for our beloved country. Let us stand for our country the way we know and love it.

Bismark said...

@Kongo in NYC

This is to thank you for your accurate diagnosis and therapy that you have shown to be needed and necessary to solve the problems of leadership and governance in the DRC.

No matter the circumstances out there, the DRC government is the #1 culprit, it has utterly failed to serve, to protect and to bring freedom and prosperity to the people of he DRC. I especially appreciated your postings from May 23, 2013 @6:59PM and May 25, 2013 @6:33PM. I completely agree with your assessment. The landlord of Kingakati(a genius to some of us on this blog) has been showing his limitations for past 12 years. A drastic change in governance and leadership is needed. I do not believe that people who have been spoiled by the corrupt trappings of power for so long can suddenly see the light and put in place a governing process based on transparency and accountability which can ultimately lead to their doom.

Their was a challenge on this block to name one African country out of the 54 post independence that had achieved freedom and prosperity following a forceful power grab of the institution of the presidency. The challenge was to name one example; I thought that the answer was obvious anyway, I am going to mention the country of Ghana of JJ Rawlings of the early 1980’s as a good example. Whatever prosperity or freedom that the people of Ghana are experiencing today is a direct result of JJ Rawlings two “coup d’etats” and the policies that he put in place, just ask most Ghanaians.

Again thank you for your analysis, know that you have a fan in me and that I am always
looking forward to reading your take on the different topics that are raised by Mr. Jason Stearns (who I salute) on Congo Siasa.


Unknown said...

We have already been led to believe that such drastic solution would befit Congo in the 90's because of the degree of hatred we had for the Mobutu system. It lamentably failed and we are still having the pie on our plate and we expect JK to finish it in our place. Believe me the M23 will never bring prosperity in Congo. Think of something else. Pour terminer, "L'exception ne justifie jamais la regle". Ghana will never be congo and vice versa.

Bismark said...

@ serge kalenge

We had high hopes indeed for what would come after the removal of “L’aigle de Kawele”.
I agree with you that obviously, Ghana is not Congo. I gave the example of Ghana as an illustration and as a response to a challenge that was made on this blog to name one African country out of the 54 that had achieved some degree of freedom and prosperity following a forceful grab of power, a “Coup d’Etat”.

I did not compare the two countries given the fact that our realities are different but I believe that if one digs a little bit, one could find similarities with the DRC in the political landscape of Ghana in the early 1980 at the time of JJ Rawlings power grab.

As far as the outfit called M23, in my view it is the 4th generation descendent of the destabilization machine created for the DRC in Rwanda by the elite in power. The father is the CNDP, the” Grandpa” is the RCD, the Great “Grandpa” is the AFDL. I never mentioned the M23 in my last thread and never claimed that they were the solution nor did I say that they would bring prosperity to the DRC.
On the other hand, I said that I agreed with Kongo in NYC on the principle of a forceful change (shock therapy) given the long list of failures accumulated over many years in the DRC by the ones in power today together with the landlord of Kingakati. I believe deeply that no matter the circumstances the culprit #1 in the misery of the DRC people is the mafia that has been enjoying the spoils of power for so long forgetting that their #1 priority is the well being of the DRC citizens.
I thought that the “maxime” said ‘C’est l’exception qui confirme la regle”. My question to you would be, “quelle est la regle”



Unknown said...

The first thing we need to put into motion it is patriotism. The more we congolese people despise our president,the more water we send to the windmill of those who are inclined to destroy us as a nation. Let us support together the nation with constructive criticism. Remember some years ago, the ennemies of the congo were at the gate of Kin and were occupying half of the country, but now they are confined to some pieces of land in the province of Nord Kivu. I believe for someone who has been labelled as a rwandese and who has had constantly his back against the wall in this political arena that is our country, this fact alone should be easily noticeable. Remember also that in the past, we have been used to seing dozens of our countrymen rallying behind the so many rebellions which have brought mayhem to our country, but lately we have seen only a few joining (Roger Lumbala ..?) forces with the M23. This fact also should be taken into account, given the voracious appetite for adventure of our political elite. Just to prove to you that things are going in the good direction. Let us build on the positive things coming out of our beloved congo instead of joing the chorus of the many who want our nation to disappear, "l'espoir fait vivre dit on"...

Unknown said...


Welcome back.

Plz post more often, your frank and uncompromising stance is needed in this world of pretenders. At least i have told YOU and Kongo NYC that i am your fan before. I mean it. I also thank and salute Jason Streans too for his great work he has done for Congo: bringing Congo's foes and friends together. I mean it

“Landlord of Kingakati”,LOL, I could not stop giggling.
I shan’t go into the “challenges”. We appreciate "Mula Nkwasa" differently. In fact we all want the same thing for our nation: Congo.

Be well.

@Serge Kalenge

You, me, Bismark, Rich, Congoman, Patrick Fiombea and many other brothers and sisters here want the best for our Congo-cherie. Don’t worry about radical views. It is needed to keep DRC rulers alert.

In the end, Congo is the winner. Don’t worry, Congo has passed the TEST brilliantly, those who wanted us to “disappear” are confused. Let’s just keep charging at them. Oui, “L’ESPOIR NOUS A FAIT VIVRE”


Bismark said...

@ Serge Kalenge

I appreciate the fact that you have responded to my last thread, It looks like you have changed the subject without addressing some of the points in my response to your comments from May 29, 2013 @ 3:18AM. I agree with you that Patriotism should be the guiding force in any and all of the actions that one undertakes for the interests of a nation in this case the DRC. My understanding of patriotism is the following. It is the love of one's country, the identification with it and the special concern for its well-being and that of one compatriots. In my opinion there are many forms of patriotism( extreme, moderate...), I believe that being a patriot who loves his country involves having specials concerns for the well being of the DRC and its people. These special concerns should be raised when the interests and the well being of the citizens of the DRC are being squandered by a clique in power for too many years. The landlord of Kingakati is not the DRC, we should not equate criticising him as head of state to criticising the DRC as a nation.You see, we shall all pass included the current traumatizing leadership but the DRC will survive as a nation no matter the challenges because that is the will of its citizens.

There are many actions(with a negative impact on the well being of the DRC) taken over the years by the landlord of Kingakati(head of state) and by the mafia surrounding him.These actions can leed a person with a strong sense of patriotism to question their real motives. Is saying that they have messed up for so long , something that you would consider constructive criticism or not.Should we ignore the incompetence, the lack of transparency, the lack of accountabilty and a long list of other nonsense that have contributed to the DRC being in the today’s mess because we are patriotic.I believe that doing a complete mea culpa and pointing out the serious flaws and failures of the leadership in the DRC can only make the nation stronger because the reasons for the failures can be studied and hopefuly avoided in the futur. Patriotism should not preclude us from this exercise, on the contrary, in my opinion it should leed us in this direction.

People who are intent on destroying the DRC will keep up with their objectives regardless what we say on this blog. They have defined their objective and are hard working at it to achieve them. Things like brassage, mixage… have made it easier for them but the patriotism that I am talking about – the love of the DRC, the identification with it and the special concern for its well being and its citizens have prevented them from succeeding, in particular because the DRC citizens now know that things like the M23 are just an old record that is being played over and over by the elite in Rwanda to put their “men” in charge of areas in the DRC that are considered critical to their machiavelic aims. They have a template( Grand Koko –AFDL, Koko –RCD, Tata- CNDP, Muana- M23). They can also be assurred of the cooperation of opportunistic and corrupt DRC politians. It did not work this time, thank God, in my view because you can fool people just so many times. The DRC citizens said NO MORE, NO MORE…, F… it.

“L’espoir fait vivre” indeed but there is an Italian proverb that says “À force de vivre dans l’espérance, on meurt dans le desepoir”. We want to avoid this and be a successful nation, this can be achieved only by facing honestly the flaws and failures of the current leadership and by plotting the future of the DRC with a new breed of DRC politicians who are really patriotic not a bunch of opportunists(Conglomerat d’aventuriers dixit Mzee) who are just looking after the size of their bellies.



Bismark said...

@ Muanacongo

Thanks for the welcome back, for a while I was in a place where access to the internet was costly and most of all limited. I did not have the privilege to read you and everyone else who is contributing to elevate the discourse on the DRC on Congo Siasa. By the way, I salute everyone and commend them for their opinions on this blog

I missed a lot the back and forth between the different opinions on how the DRC should
move forward and handle its many different challenges. You are right, our views on the DRC on Congo Siasa can indeed clash but it is a good thing because we are all learning from one another.

Likewise, I am a fan of your positions as I know that we are all giving our opinions because we have at heart a deep love for the nation called the DRC and that we are all
in our differing ways wanting for the madness to stop and for the country to move forward. My wish is for the many of the powerful words found in the national anthem (la Congolaise) to become the reality ( Debout congolais…Unis par…Montons nos fronts …longtemps courbes…nous bâtirons un pays plus beau qu’avant……)

You are right, for a lot of DRC citizens, “L’espoir nous a fait vivre” but many have been lost to human stupidity and callousness. This must stop; it is more than time for us as a nation to now “Vivre l’Espoir”. In my opinion “l’Espoir” is a better DRC (un pays plus beau qu’avant).



Unknown said...


I totally agree with you also brother!

Cheers to you too!


Post a Comment