DRC : This is no way to run a country

DRC : This is no way to run a country

In September, the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened in New York and most Heads of State were present, except for the besieged Russian President, Vladmir Putin who is overwhelmed by a personal war against Ukraine that he is losing. But, that is a story for another time.

President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi of the DRC was among the Heads of State who addressed the Assembly. Instead of seizing the moment to find solutions for his failed State he proceeded to cry foul and accused Rwanda of all manner of sins. Clearly a diplomatic blunder that was not only un-statesmanly but a lost chance to gain support for the DRC in the world body to find peace that has eluded them for decades.

President Tshisekedi at UNGA 2022

He said one truth: ”Despite tireless international efforts and a massive UN military presence in the DRC and diplomatic support for 23 years, this security problem continues to aggrieve my country.”

Tshisekedi however lost face and his argument when, standing a few feet away from President Kagame, accused Rwanda of supporting armed terrorist groups that are ravaging the Eastern DRC. That is like me accusing my neighbor of spousal abuse that might be going on in my home. It is a silly and mindless argument that does not hold water.

President Kagame is president of Rwanda and cannot be held responsible for the DRC’s bad governance and weak leadership that has, from one president to another, failed the Congolese people. Crying foul is for teenagers fighting in the school yard.

President Kagame’s response was sweet and precise, as always, and to the point: ”THE BLAME GAME DOES NOT SOLVE PROBLEMS.”

President Kagame at UNGA 2022

Problems in the DRC are easy to spot: Weak leadership. Incompetence. Corruption, and lack of vision.

The DRC has been on fire for decades. And realizing that Tshisekedi recently declared a ”state of siege” in two especially violent provinces, North Kivu and Ituri. Martial law was imposed and generals dispatched to these areas to replace politicians. When politicians abandon their mandate to govern they should call it a day and call for new eleections.

In 2021, more people were killed in the Kivus than ever before. Many more people died from preventable diseases or hunger because of the strife. Over the same period 1.3m Congolese have been forced to flee their homes, swelling the number of international refugees to 5.5m. Only Syria does worse.

The DRC is home to over 120 militias. If truth be told, the killings are driven mainly by the failure of the state. For decades the bigwigs in Kinshasa have paid more attention to amassing great wealth than to stopping the DRC’s hemorrhaging. With arms akimbo the Big Boys look on unconcerned, and out of shame and guilt point a finger at Rwanda.

Instead of accusing Rwanda of allegedly meddling in the affairs of the DRC, Tshisekedi should reign in his army who pillage and rape with impunity. Neither the Congolese army nor the UN’s so-called peacekeeping force, MONUSCO has quelled the ADF. There is overwhelming evidence that MONUSCO is fighting alongside the FDLR — former soldiers of the genocidal regime under Habyarimana prior to 1994 – ignoring warnings from Rwanda and against international law governing people who seek refugee in another country.

As long as the FDLR is present and active and un-impeded by Kinshasa, and keeps attacking Rwanda from the DRC, all options are on the table. Rwanda cannot ignore the threats to its security, and has all the right to deploy all options to deal with threats to her sovereignty.

The fighting between M23 and the Congolese army will continue as long as ethnic Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese are denied their rights. Blaming Rwanda of supporting M23 is Kinshaasa’s admission that they have been out-witted by a small battle-hardened local Congolese group. It is simply shameful, but the DRC keeps pointing a finger at Rwanda to lessen the sting of their gargantuan failure to stabilize their country. Their shame has turned into anger.

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo has the potential of being the richest country in the world. The country has the potential of supplying the whole of Africa and Europe with hydroelectric power, not to mention its rich minerals. It is time the rulers focused on leading the country from being pillaged by the west, in exchange of ammunition for militias and money for the politicians. Rather than blaming your neighbors Mr. DRC President, seek their advise on how to unite you country. It is a shame that leader after leader in your country only pays attention to self enrichment at your own people’s peril.

  • Great analysis! The situation in the Congo and many other African countries unfortunately perpetuates the notion that Africa is inherently incapable of self governance.