On July 11th, 2,021 government officials from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to find a solution to the armed struggle between the M23 rebels and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s national army. The delegates asked, among other recommendations, for a neutral force to be sent along the border of Rwanda and Congo to help eradicate not only the militants of M23, but also the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). This is not the first time this suggestion has been raised, but unfortunately it has never worked.
Two days after the Addis Ababa meeting, religious leaders from South Kivu signed a petition addressed to the Secretary General of the UN and members of the UN Security Council asking for more UN support for the Congolese army. They also renewed their opposition to negotiations of any kind with armed groups.
The increased Congolese diplomatic effort comes after its national army lost a large swath of territory to the insurgents on the Rwanda-Congo and Uganda–Congo borders. However, the Congolese government has the upper hand at the moment because a recent UN report by a group of experts who documented Rwanda’s connection to the M23 rebel group.
Rwanda has been interfering in Congo’s internal matters since the 1996 and 1998 invasions; the UN has documented Rwanda’s ongoing destabilization of the Congo many times. What the UN has not done is a review of its work in Congo. It has been more than a decade since the UN deployed its largest UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) ever and peace, or even marked improvement, has yet to be seen. The UN has not been an effective partner for peace in Congo, clearly another tactic is needed to solve the ongoing Congo crisis.
The solution to Congo’s problems is not in the hands of the international community, but the hands of the people. Congo lack a independent and honest leadership to unite the nation and tackle the root causes of the crisis in the eastern part of the country through reconciliation, good governance, security reform, and development. M23 is one of the many symptoms of a broken Gongo.
The ongoing violence has effectively taken the pressure off President Kabila and his government and refocused it on Rwanda and President Kagame. This is a serious mistake. Rwanda has always gotten its demands met in all negotiations with the Congo. Without strongly addressing internal problems that have weakened the Congo, Rwanda will remain a key player in Congo affairs and the crisis will go on unchanged.
The Congolese government calls for tolerance: the war in the east is not the war against the Tutsi community because M23 include
Watch Kimbutu Suspend all operations in East Congo
Watch: The DRC Reaction to the UN Report