Saturday, July 9, 2011

Andrew Mwenda Tweeting For Congo Breakup

On the day of Sudan's partition Andrew Mwenda advocate's for Congo breakup. Will Sudan's partition lead to Congo's breakup, as Gideon Rachmann's seems to suggest?

 In 1961 Mobutu stated:
"The National Army cannot tolerate that the country be handed over to men who are guided by foreign influences, "The Congo is independent and will stay independent; it is not for sale to any ideological bloc."

To understand the history of the DRC since 1960 nobody can ignore Mobutu. During a state visit by Mobutu in 1983, Reagan praised the Zairian strongman as "a voice of good sense and goodwill."

However in february 1993:
"a State Department paper outlining possible steps describes Zaire's plight as extremely dire. Zaire, one of the world's poorest countries, is developing into "Somalia and Liberia rolled into one, with vast potential for immense refugee flows, regional destabilization and humanitarian disaster," the paper said. Clinton's Approval Expected
The paper, dated Feb. 11, added that if the United States and its allies "allow Mobutu, one of Africa's strongest and longest dictators, to destroy the country in order to prevent the emergence of democracy, United States efforts to foster democracy in Africa may suffer a tremendous setback."
 Interesting how Clinton claimed to support the emergence of democracy in Congo in 1993 adding tough economic and diplomatic sanctions targeted personally at the Zairian leader. Why weren't there any sanctions against Museveni who was invading Rwanda at the time? But at least Bill Clinton seems to have learned a lot since, especially that it's perfectly justifiable to support leaders in Africa that are hostile to democracy.

Mobutu himself said about these sanctions:
"I am the latest victim of the cold war, no longer needed by the U.S.,the lesson is that my support for American policy counts for nothing."

Whatever you think about Mobutu, he has a point here. Off course Mandela was the hero of the day and Clinton, the weak leader he was, just had to follow the wind of the day. On Congosiasa an interesting discussion takes place on the origin of armed groups in the Congo between Judith Verweijen and Rich who stated:

"You are right in pointing to the fact that L D Kabila used armed groups as proxies but I would argue that this is because he was left with no options if he wanted to prevent his enemies military might to overthrow him! At that time L D Kabila did not have an adequate and reliable army that could be operationalized effectively against, for instance, a very disciplined and professional Rwandan army. Yes there could be a problem of trust but most importantly, a considerable number of ex FAZ who ended up in re-education centres were demoralised, they developed hatred against L D Kabila. At the same time, it became increasingly difficult to even reform units that existed under FAZ since individual members were scattered across the country, some in re-education centres, some in the new army, some close to the Rwandan allies some close to L D Kabila’s regime, some in exile etc… on top of calling upon the SADEC's help, the other option was to use anything or anyone who is willing to fight Kagame and museveni. In other words, disbanding the FAZ the way he did left him with no option when he fell out with his allies.

It is true more academic insights are needed to shed light on the Congolese military and the management of security in a country where everything is very urgent."
Andrew Mwenda today claimed:
In fact international law should not protect countries whose governments or states cannot ensure effective control over their territory

The international guarantee of sovereignty is one of the factors that has slowed down the evolution of more effective states in africa

Of course the people of south Sudan have fought gallantly to be separated from the regime in khartoum. Somaliland too deserves sovereignty

Any country whose government cannot build capacity for effective control should lose sovereignty
This way, nations like DRC can be allowed to break up or be swallowed by more effective neighbors

Well, any state without effective military and administrative control territory cannot protect it's own people

The primary function of the state is to ensure security of person and property. This needs effective military and administrative control

 Indeed, without the state monopolizing the legitimate use of violence, you have anarchy, the war of every man against every man

Human rights fundamentalists miss this very important role of the state. How can a weak state protect the rights of it's people?
The UN came to save DRC in 1960 and left it in the mess it has been in for eternity.

The pro-kagame rhetoric by Andrew Mwenda is well known, but these tweets remind me of the kivu-secession propaganda in Ugandan newspapers in 2008 when Nkunda was waging war in eastern Congo. These articles were aiming to justify Rwanda's covert and less covert involvement in eastern Congo.

Andrew Mwenda's claim that the DRC has been in a mess since 1960 is also noteworthy.  Longtime Congolese blogger from Washington DC, Alex Engwete, commented on a similar claim in his birthday post: "Personal: Missing Mobutu on my birthday" :
in a UNDP report that came out last year which, according to the BBC, “concludes that since 1970 there has been significant progress” in the Third World. With this damning caveat however:
“In Africa only three countries have gone backwards since 1970 - the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Zambia - the first two because of conflict and bad government, and the last principally because of HIV/Aids.”
Well, the Democratic Republic of Congo didn’t go “backwards.” In fact, the country was faring better “backwards” than it is right now… As I recently told a friend, the DRC has gone out of the axis of its own history…

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