Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Letter From Congolese Elected Officials to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

C / ° U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

We, members of national parliament, elected representatives of the people of South Kivu, welcome your visit to our country and request that you convey our best wishes for success to the current tenant of the White House on the occasion of his election as the head of the USA.

We take the opportunity given to us by your presence on the land of our forefathers, to bring to your attention that the DR Congo that you visit so far is not only affected by the result of wars of aggression unjustly imposed on our people for almost 15 years, but is also a country where the democratic process led by the United Nations is bogged down, thus bringing into question the credibility of the United Nations in a country that throughout its history, hasn’t ceased to be subjected to this huge organization, in both World Wars I & II and the Cold War.

That is why, at first, we urge the Obama Administration to consider the following two points:

1) On behalf of thousands of women raped, buried alive, men emasculated, and all those killed in eastern DR Congo in general, in South Kivu in particular, we urge you to join our voices to demand an end to impunity. First, by the immediate arrest of all those responsible for this tragedy including Laurent Nkundabatware, Bosco Ntaganda, and other accomplices at the heart of this Congolese tragedy.

In so doing, in the eyes of the world community, the USA will have contributed to bringing an end to this unjust and biased policy that ensures the longevity and support of regimes whose leaders have been accused of abusing power and lacking democracy characterized by extreme favoritism concentrated in a handful of people at the expense of the majority of the inhabitants of Central Africa.

Also, today we can confirm to you that the eastern DR Congo has become an oasis for the extermination of innocent people who are defenseless and without any assistance, in the presence of an army that consists of selectively picked executioners which includes former FDLR members repatriated to Rwanda, but recycled and then returned within the CNDP for their incorporation into the FARDC.

In short, a war of attrition is managed wisely and thoroughly fed through the plundering of our resources, the depopulation of areas affected by this war, and very soon their balkanization.

2) This policy has led to the strengthening of mono-ethnic powers in Rwanda and Uganda, where more or less 10% of the population maintains dominance over 90% of the population. It is important to point out that with the support of the USA and the UK primarily, Rwanda released its tribal hatred on the DR Congo where its support and participation alongside pseudo-insurgent movements are undeniable.

Indeed, the involvement of multinational corporations in the delivery of arms and plundering the wealth of the DR Congo in the interest of great powers on one side and on the other, the cases of Mutebusi, Nkundabatware, Bosco Ntaganda, and the flagrant presence of many Rwandan soldiers in the integrated CNDP troops in support of Rwanda confirms our assertion.

Madam Secretary of State,

Your trip to Africa in the early months following the ascension to power by His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama is followed with great interest and has generated a lot of hope among the Congolese people who have been overlooked by previous US administrations; it has not been since the 1990s that a personality of the American administration of your rank has set foot on Congolese soil.

That is why, in addition to the major concerns outlined above, we share with you a copy of a memo that we gave to members of the delegation of the Security Council of the United Nations who visited the DR Congo on May 19, 2009 - a memo which tells the tragedy suffered by the Congolese people. This memo can be summarized as follows:

"Since 1994, the superbly armed Hutu, fleeing the advance of the Rwandan Patriotic Army crossed the Congolese border with support of UN operations called 'turquoise', headed by France. These Hutus settled in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu in flagrant violation of all international standards governing the right of asylum or refuge.

Known as the "Interahamwe" or FDLR, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, and so on, these Hutu particularly stand out in DR Congo by practicing acts of looting, rape, massacre and so on. And since they became a pretext for the authorities in Kigali to justify the presence in DR Congo of their regular army, the results are the current massacres and atrocities suffered by our people at Makobola, Kasika Katogota, Lemera, Nindja, Kaniola , Kalambi, Bunyakiri, Kaziba, Luhwindja, Kalonge, Bukavu, Uvira, Kiliba, Katumba Kalehe, Bwegera, Kamituga, Mwenga, Shabunda, Lugushwa, Ngando, Ndola, Kigulube, Bijombo, Masango Tubimbi, Kakungwe, Mushago, Kitutu, Lubuga , Mutambala, Fizi, Minembwe, Bibokoboko, Baraka, Kagabwe, to name a few, as regards the South-Kivu.

Moreover, Rwanda's history is punctuated by cyclical and fratricidal wars driven by a spirit of intolerance and retaliation between Hutus and Tutsis. Hence, when it is the Rwandan Tutsi ethnic group that is in power, their countrymen who are in the majority, the Hutus, are in exile: and vice versa. DR Congo has become each time, the country of pilgrimage for them.

Therefore, we members of the national parliament representing South Kivu not only condemn the guilty silence of the international community, particularly the USA, nation par excellence that praises democracy and peace, but we also deplore the role of international organizations specialized in defense of human rights that are not quite vocal as elsewhere regarding this tragedy of a smoldering Congolese genocide.

Solutions for the return and the restoration of peace have been explored by the Congolese government, but unfortunately, they came up against the bad faith of external forces pulling the strings of this war in cahoots with some insiders.

These include, by way of illustration:

The meeting in Sun City in South Africa called the inter-Congolese dialogue which led to the transition 1+4 [post conflict reconciliation formula that integrated former rebels into the Congolese government from 2003 – 2006, which included one president and four vice presidents], the Conference of Goma in January 2008, and most recently the joint operations of DR Congo / Rwanda for the tracking of FDLR. The joint operations are replete with collateral damage in North Kivu and South Kivu, where we deplore all loss of life coupled with other incalculable consequences: large-scale movements of populations, famine, disease, evil destruction of property and infrastructure, looting of natural resources, rape, theft, and other degrading treatment.

Rather, the Congolese people, your brother, friend and ally, do not deserve such inhumane treatment. They have done everything to restore peace in the Great Lakes Region. They have nothing left to give to satisfy the warmongering and gluttonous appetites of its neighbors. The Congolese people had vainly obeyed and accepted fallacious schemes and pretexts that served as the basis for the imposition of unjust wars: the case of nationality, access and sharing of political and military power, establishment of a genuine multiparty democracy, mixage, integration for some, brassage for others [mixage and brassage are French security sector jargon that speaks to the integration and reintegration of rebel groups into the Congolese army], repatriation of Rwandan refugees, tracking of FDLR elements, etc.

Faced with this grim picture, We, national MPs from the Province of South Kivu, on the strength of our experience and our solidarity with people who elected us, believe that peace won at the end of the barrel is always ephemeral.

Therefore, for a secure and lasting peace for all parties concerned in the sub-region of the Great Lakes, we offer among others the following proposals:

1. That the international community require of President Paul Kagame, the organization of an inter-Rwandan dialogue that would bring together around one table all the components of the Rwandan tribes, both those inside and outside of the country to find solutions to internal problems between them.

2. The involvement of the United States of America for the establishment in Rwanda of a democracy balanced, thoughtful and non-discriminatory like the position (which we positively welcome) of your current government response to conflicts between Israel and Palestine. This is for the restoration of a lasting peace, on the one hand among Rwandans themselves on their soil and between the State of Rwanda and the DR Congo on the other hand.

3. The contribution of the USA in the strict regulation of the sale, delivery and purchase of arms and munitions to leaders implicated in the conflict in the Great Lakes sub-region, essentially Rwanda and Uganda.

4. Placing under embargo all American and Western firms trafficking in mineral resources known as "blood" (coltan, diamonds, gold, cassiterite, etc.).

5. The establishment of international justice (ICC) that punishes all political leaders and economic players in the sub-region or elsewhere involved in the war.

6. The establishment of a development plan, like the Marshall plan, with pragmatic integration projects in the sub-region of the Great Lakes in general and in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular.

7. The involvement of MONUC in first, sorting out the Rwandan elements integrated within the CNDP so that they can return to their country, Rwanda, and second in assisting with removing military officers of all stripes involved in the armed conflict outside the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.

8. The redefinition of the mission and role of MONUC in order to avoid the atrocities and abuses deplored above.

9. In the end, we members of National members of Parliament representing South-Kivu, hope that your stay in our country, unlike the bitter and sad experiences (political, diplomatic, economic, commercial, social, cultural, humanitarian ...) we have experienced and according to some analysts well versed in the history of the DR Congo, say now is the time to lay the foundations for sincere bilateral cooperation that will be beneficial for both the American and Congolese people.

Thus, in the framework of this cooperation that we hope will be reciprocal and harmonious, and taking into account the geostrategic position of the DR Congo, we recommend that the Obama administration deal directly with Congolese institutions legally established in place of intermediaries or subcontractors.

Kinshasa on 05 August 2009

National Members of Parliament of South Kivu presented in Kinshasa

1. Hon KANYEGERE LWABOSHI Samuel, (243) 990903345

2. Hon Birindwa CHANIKIRE Solide, (243) 990903329

3.Hon Masumbuko BASHOMBA Christophe, (243) 990903364

4.Hon BASHOMBERWA Martha, (243) 990903115

5. KIKA zamud Hon Marie-Jeanne, (243) 90903625

6. Hon Bapolisi Bahuga Paulin, (243) 990903113

7. Hon BITAKWIRA Hayi BIHONA-Justin, (243) 990903330

8. Hon MPANANO NTAMWENGE Roger, (243) 990902475


Note: Translation by Friends of Congo

Monday, August 10, 2009

Secretary Clinton Challenged in Congo Town Hall

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was challenged by a Congolese student in a town hall meeting in Kinshasa today. During the town hall, the student tapped into Congo's central challenge - for the affairs of the Congo and the management of its resources to be determined by the people of the Congo - since Congo was given to King Leopold II of Belgium in 1885 as his personal property.

According to the New York Times:
At the town hall meeting, one student stood up and asked Mrs. Clinton if he were to become president of Congo tomorrow, and if he tried to be independent from the West and follow his own ideas, would he be assassinated? It was a not so thinly veiled reference to Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, who was killed in 1961 with the help of the C.I.A.
Read article and Secretary Clinton's response to the Congolese student.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Starts Her Tour of Africa

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her tour of Africa today with a stop in Kenya. She will also visit the Democratic Republic of Congo where she will apparently focus on violence against women.

One can only hope that Secretary Clinton does not follow in the footsteps of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright under her husband's second administration (1996 - 2000). When Madeleine Albright represented the United States under President Bill Clinton, she "celebrated" the so-called new breed of leaders on the African continent. She identified figures such as Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Ethiopia Meles Zenawi as model leaders for the future of Africa. Over a decade later, each of these figures have invaded another African country, ruled over authoritarian regimes and have the blood of millions of Africans on their hands with the full backing of their erstwhile ally, the United States of America.

One would expect Secretary Clinton to carry President Obama's message of change to the African continent and clearly articulate how the Obama administration will be different from her husbands and that of George W. Bush. President Obama's predecessors policies have been marked by the support of strongmen, the militarization of the continent and the prioritization of profit and corporate forces over the will and interests of African people.

With the first high-level visit from the Obama administration to the Congo being that of the military under Donald Rumsfeld initiated AFRICOM program, it appears that President Obama will follow in the same military first, corporate laden policies of his predecessors. Let's see if Secretary Clinton does or says anything to disabuse us of the fact that President Obama's policies toward the African continent and Congo in particular appear to be essentially the same as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Click here to read FOTC policy recommendations to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Click here to read letter to Hillary Clinton from Senator Barbara boxer.

Click here to read letter policy recommendations from progressive advocacy institutions in Washington, DC.