THE DRC : Without good governance, there is no end in sight.

Centuries ago, King Leopold of Belgium told missionaries and his agents sent to the Congo not to bother teaching the Congolese about God. He cautioned them that they already knew all that, and in fact they were firm believers.

Don’t let them know about the mineral wealth in their land, the King cautioned. This has been Congo’s curse ever since.

And who is to gain? All the Western mineral companies who are busily exploiting the DRC. As long as there is instability and poor governance, there will never be peace in the DRC.

Fast forward : all the accusations against Rwanda meddling in the DRC’s affairs is just a lame excuse, a cover up of sorts, refusing to accept the fact that lame leadership in Kinshasa is the root cause of all this.

Initially Rwanda crossed into the DRC in hot pursuit of genocidaires responsible for the genocide against Tutsi in 1994. That incursion was legal under international law. After all, why did the U.N. accept for these so-called refugees, armed to the teeth, to remain so close to Rwanda’s border in violation of mandated guidelines?

President Kagame, addressing a Press Conference yesterday in Kigali was visibly annoyed at the continuing accusations against Rwanda. Why should Kigali be charged with cleaning house in Kinshasa? We have enough of our own problems to address.

Little attention should be paid to organizations like HRW whose agenda against Rwanda is known. It is becoming comical. Here is an organization that seeks to build its reputation and garner international respect by fabricating reports and producing half-baked studies at Rwanda’s expense.

We are not amused.


3 responses to “THE DRC : Without good governance, there is no end in sight.

  1. Chasing Genocidaires is one thing, overthrowing a government 2 years later and causing a war that has killed millions of Congolese is another- as are the documented shipments of minerals out of Congo for Rwanda’s enrichment, but then again, no one will see this post on your blog.

  2. Ntaganda amassed war chest from mining
    Thu May 31, 2012 10:49 AM EDT

    Rukmini Callimachi, Associated Press

    DAKAR — A Congolese general who recently defected from the army and is believed to be behind the country’s most recent rebellion is apparently bankrolling the operation with a war chest he amassed while controlling Congo’s lucrative mines, according to an international watchdog group.

    In a report published Thursday, London-based Global Witness makes the link between the country’s illicit mining trade and its history of conflict.

    It stresses that the delay in Washington in implementing the two-year-old Dodd-Frank Act — which includes a provision requiring U.S. companies to carry out due diligence in order to avoid the use of so-called “conflict minerals” from Congo — risks undermining efforts to clean up the mining sector in Congo.

    A case-in-point is ex-Congolese general Bosco Ntaganda, who fled into the bush last month with hundreds of his men. His men have regrouped and started a new rebellion in the Masisi and Rutshuru districts of eastern Congo, causing thousands of people to flee.

    Nicknamed the Terminator, Ntaganda is a former warlord accused of atrocities who agreed along with his fighters to join the army as part of a 2009 peace deal. The Global Witness report reveals how Ntaganda used his position inside the military to control mines producing cassiterite and tin in eastern Congo, building a business empire.

    He deployed his former fighters — now soldiers in the regular army — to key mining areas in the mineral-rich provinces of North and South Kivu. Miners in the Masisi territory of North Kivu told the rights group this March that the military units forced them to hand over one day’s worth of minerals each week. The minerals are then sold for profit, benefiting Ntaganda and his men, the report alleged.

    In another case, Col. Innocent Habarugira, who was a commander under Ntaganda in the rebel National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, was forcing residents to dig for him at a cassiterite mine in Mpati, North Kivu. The colonel was paying them $2 per kilogram less than the market price, justifying it as a fee for “security” provided by him and his soldiers.

    Ntaganda, says the report, funneled minerals controlled by his men to the provincial capital of Goma, from where he ran a profitable smuggling operation, ferrying the minerals across the border into Rwanda. They are sold onward to smelters in Asia, eventually making their way into electronics products made by major American and European companies.

    The United Nations Group of Experts has extensively documented this trade, and estimated in a report published last year that Ntaganda was earning $15,000 a week. His relapse into insurgency now has consequences for Congo, as well as the region, as refugees displaced by the recent fighting flow across the porous border into both Rwanda and Uganda.

    “Insurrections, new or long-standing, always require money,” the report says. “And it is almost certain that Ntaganda’s activities are being financed through the funds he has been allowed to amass over many years via the mineral trade.”

    Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in July 2010, acted as a major catalyst for change in Congo because it required American companies using tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold to reveal their supply chains in an effort to avoid using minerals that benefit armed groups in Congo. The passage of the act spurred electronics companies to begin efforts to analyze their supply chains, with several publishing their suppliers on their websites for transparency.

    However, the law has not been fully implemented because the rules on how the law should be applied have not yet been drafted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The law required the SEC to publish the rules by April 2011, and the regulator is now over a year late as it faces a possible lawsuit from the Chamber of Commerce.

    “When the law was passed, it was a huge breakthrough on the debate regarding conflict minerals … it had a catalytic effect,” said Mike Davis, a conflict resources expert at London-based Global Witness and one of the authors of the report. “It’s like the U.S. has driven a bus into the middle of this debate, saying, ‘We will take care of this issue. Everyone climb on board!’ And then refused to move the bus forward.”
    © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  3. Mwene Kalinda

    George, repeating lies over and over again ad infinitum does not turn them into truth. Unsubstantiated assertions from unaccountable NGOs with an ax to grind and an eye out for fundraising opportunities while also expanding their power and influencet do not somehow become evidence simply because such self-seekers add the words human rights or such other terms in their names. And most interesting of all is your continuing repetitions of alleged looting of Congolese resources by Rwanda. Contrary to this urban myth which has gained credence simply because it has been repeated over and over by colluding organisations, the real looters own very exclusive addresses in many major business centres in North America and Western Europe.
    MONUSCO, which has failed miserably in its supposed mission of eliminating the FDLR menace to ensure the safety and security of the civilian populations of Eastern DRC, has been much more successful in its more covert role as private security contractor for major Western mining interests who, below the radar, are the real looters of DRC resources. Why else do you think the UN gave such short thrift to the Kabila government’s demand for this force to leave before the Congo’s 50th independence anniversary? Ntaganda’s real crime in this scheme of things is to compete with those mining interests in exploiting his country’s resources and obstinately refusing to see reason and cede control of mineral-rich territories in Northern Kivu. He just can’t seem to understand that the real big guns, like the Mafia, deal with uncooperative wildcatters the way their organised crime chieftain counterparts deal with small hoodlums attempting to encroach on the Families’ territory.
    As for Rwanda, even if she wanted, the country has neither the technical nor the ample financial resources or the international marketing network required for the industrial-scale exploitation of DRC resources being carried out by Western and Southern African interests. Her only role is as a useful scapegoat to justify the continued presence of MONUSCO to provide security for the real exploiters against any opposition that might conceivably arise from both the DRC government and the various uncontrollable armed groups operating in Eastern DRC. This also explains the reluctance to eradicate the FDLR menace; it’s continued presence and never-ending atrocities against the local population provide continued justification for MONUSCO’s own existence and gifts the likes of HRW with a ready-made fundraising basis.
    MONUSCO, the FDLR and similar outfits as well as HRW and associated groups are all in a classical symbiotic relationship; they all feed off each other and help each other prosper!

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