In her retort to mine regarding the DRC Crisis, Virginie Kandolo rightly argues that Eastern DRC and the Congo Crisis in general is different from the case of South Sudan, The East African Dec 22-28, 2012. True. South Sudan was a case of oppressive, dictatorial government, thus the struggle for self-determination. Granted. The DRC case, is the extreme opposite: lack of government, or at best, an absentee government, thus the anarchy. Both situations are not tenable. Kinshasa has proved it is incapable of effectively governing Kivu.
This makes the Kivu people, who vehemently stick to being Congolese despite their language, vulnerable to foreign vultures, thanks to their resources. These people need to live a dignified life, as citizens. The 1998 chaos in Lubumbashi and Kinshasa against perceived ‘Banyarwanda’ has great lessons for Ms Kandolo, which she ignores. I have met victims of this, who still insist they are Congolese: twebwe tur’Abakongomani, ntagbo tur’ Abanyarwanda… ( we are Congolese, not Rwandese), spiced with their favorite jargons of being Lushois ( from Lubumbashi) or Kinois( from Kinshasa).
One strange fact about the DRC Crisis is that virtually all Congolese in the Diaspora( western capitals or working with international bodies), have narrowed the whole thing to Rwanda, nay, Batutsi. Listen to any of them, or read their writings as is the case with Ms Kandolo in this article, or those I have watched on Shaka Ssali’s Straight Talk Africa, on Voice of America. No one wants to face the bitter realities of the country’s colonial history, and intricate foreign interests that have refused to go away. No one talks of why UN SG Dag Hammarskjold had to die the way he did. No one talks of Lumumba’s fate, that parallels well with that of Rwagasore in Burundi across the Rusizi; the rise of resistance in form of the Maji Maji or Kimbangu and his religion, Kimbanguism.
From whichever East African country Ms Kandolo is writing, she needs to reflect on these realities and their link to the present DRC Crisis. Playing the ostrich will not take the truth away. As stakeholders in the region, we need to face the reality, forget the wild ‘reports’ of armchair ‘experts’, who are essentially paid by the wealth looters to escalate the crisis and divert attention from the truth in the Kivus. The people of eastern DRC are no bigger sinners than the rest of humanity, to lead a wretched life. Just as South Sudan suffered because it was pegged to a different polity to create Sudan by the British and their Egyptian agents, the various nationalities in DRC were patched together by a greedy Belgian monarch, and their plight was not eased even after the territory ceased to be his private property. Independence and its aftermath were even a worse farce!!
Whereas I appreciate Ms Kandolo’s sentiments, she loses it all when she falls into the standard Western trap of diverting all matters DRC to Batutsi in Rwanda and Burundi. This is very petty and wont solve anything. Being Congolese, she must be privy to the truth. Unless she is blinded by the trappings of the ‘diaspora’ that leads to such narrow analysis and repetition of ‘expert’ reports on the Great Lakes