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A video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared online and in a few news reports last week. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014. I asked Boniface Musavuli, a native of Beni and author of “The Massacres of Beni: Kabila, Rwanda, and the Fake Islamists” to help contextualize the so-called news.
The path forward for many Congolese youth is clear. They want to be free from tyranny more than the Kabila regime wants to repress them and deprive them of their God-given life pursuits. In the Congo, the youth are prepared for a sustained civil disobedience undertaking to cripple and ultimately remove an oppressive system that not only kills them but also squelches their aspirations and hopes for a dignified life.
On Sept. 19, 2016, widespread protests took place across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Congolese population sent a clear message to President Joseph Kabila that he had only 90 days left to vacate the presidency because his last of two presidential terms expires on Dec. 19, 2016. President Joseph Kabila has made it clear to the Congolese people that he is bent on holding onto power by any means necessary even if it means gunning down dozens of unarmed protesters in the streets of Kinshasa.
As Joseph Kabila enters the final year of his presidency, the pressure will increase on him to respect the Constitution and step down in December 2016. Congolese are united in the defense of the Constitution and the protection of the nascent democratic advances that have occurred during the post-war period of the country. If elections are in fact held in 2016, it will be due to the vigilance and pressure coming from the sons and daughters of the Congo.
As a coalition of Africa-focused human rights and peace organizations representing a broad range of individuals, we write to express our dismay at your decision to welcome President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to your universities. We regret to inform you that your invitation of Paul Kagame to your institution co-signs his repressive practices inside Rwanda and his aggressive interventions in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the end of November, headlines around the world announced the Congolese Army’s defeat of the M23 militia, with the help of U.N. intervention forces. Since that time, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been under pressure from Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and his so-called mediators, and from US Envoy Russ Feingold and U.N. Envoy Mary Robinson, to sign an agreement with M23.
On Monday, Feb. 11, outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson presented an outline of the Obama administration’s policy position on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of Ambassador Carson’s presentation was twofold: discussing why efforts should be redoubled to bring stability to the Congo and laying out a framework for “moving forward.”
Congolese problems should have Congolese solutions. We ask that the United States of America and the United Kingdom immediately withdraw all forms of financial and military aid to Rwanda that is a state sponsor of terrorism in Africa. We must pledge to ourselves that we will never again betray our people and ourselves by staying quiet and passive.
A U.N. report says that the USA’s conflict minerals legislation, Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is increasing rather than decreasing criminality and conflict in the Congo and that Bosco Ntaganda is now in control of minerals smuggling from the Congo into Rwanda.
Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire is spending her second Christmas in Rwanda’s maximum security prison. Her ongoing trial, on charges of terrorism and genocide ideology, has implications not only for Rwanda, but also for the entire Great Lakes Region of Africa – most of all, for the Democratic Republic of Congo.