Monday, August 29, 2011

US Embassy Kinshasa Claims Balkanization Theory Is Conspiracy Theory

February 2010 a US Embassy Kinshasa cable states and develops the following argument:
"The term "balkanization" has its own
special meaning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it
refers to a conspiracy theory that foreign interests seek to divide
the DRC into smaller client states in order to facilitate access to
the country's vast mineral reserves.  Many prominent Congolese are
quick to assert that United States is among the foreign powers
poised to "balkanize" the DRC, just as many Congolese appear to
believe that the U.S. favors alleged Rwandan designs vis-a-vis the
DRC.  "
These embassy people should have studied the subject before making these strong accusations that the claim that foreign interests have and are engaging in an effort to balkanize the Congo is a conspiracy theory.

Articles by American scolars have advocated it (I should find the article back), journalists in Ugandan and Rwandan press have been writing about what a great idea it would be to break up the Congo (back in 2008 I wrote about it, recently in relation to South Sudan Secession a Rwandan article reiterated this view eagerly retweeted by Canadian working for the Rwandan government).

Alex Engwete wrote yesterday:
" it should be clarified to the US Kinshasa embassy that what it calls "conspiracy theory" is "broad-based" and deeply held as indisputable truth by virtually all the Congolese. What's more, this belief is reinforced by insensitive remarks that some American officials make now and then about the Congo, such as the infamous comment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his visit in the DRC advising the Congolese on the need to forget about the past and to move on!"
A 2007 article by the Catholic Church in the DRC confirms this view , in a statement by the bishops conference we read:
 "The bishops say no to balkanization by the creation of the dwarf states. Territorial integrity, the inviolability of borders and national unity of the Democratic Republic of Congo are not negotiable. The war as a means to solve the problems of the people is useless and must be absolutely condemned. It reflects a total contempt for human life and is unjustifiable. The Conference of Goma must provide a space for everyone in the region to raise their issues through dialogue."
Parag Karahn wrote in foreign policy january 13th 2011:
"Democratic Republic of the Congo technically qualify as "failed states," their fates are sealed by their colonial inheritance. Indeed, it's often their borders that are the deepest cause of their conflicts. Many of these national borders are in desperate need of adjustment, and the rest of the world should show more flexibility in allowing them to do so."
Presidential candidate Vital Kamerhe is one of the leading figures in the peace process ( in 1998 deputy commissioner in charge of MONUC affairs.[4]) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was even nicknamed "le Pacificateur", the "Peacemaker". As Commissioner General of the Government responsible for monitoring the peace process in the Great Lakes region he is one of the principal negotiators of the 2002 peace deal.[ 

Vital Kamerhe's statements in press conferences make it clear that he disagrees with the US embassy and that he believes that there are efforts to balkanize the Congo.

It's interesting to read an article posted july 5th by some anonymous news-society which first states that:
"there is an increase of unfounded allegations that international NGO vehicles, which are looking to destabilize peace and security in Congo. The Minister of Press and Government Spokesman, Lambert Mende through his press conference and his most famous book, "Fertile Land" raises accusations against human rights defenders,because of involvement in a campaign, the balkanization of the Congo."
And then concludes from there that:
"In short, it is important to remember that the political culture of the Congolese government, which suspected war criminals and criminals against humanity, is the main cause of conflict and the resurrection of armed groups in Congo and is the largest and most dangerous Balkanization of the most famous proponent service international NGO reports. This policy of the government enjoys the Congolese rebel groups took up armsand heinous crimes committed against the Congolese population, as is the case of Bosco Ntaganda"
A view similar to what Michel Gerson stated in a recent interview:
"Eastern Congo is both a tragedy and a lesson in political philosophy. Human beings need bread and justice and freedom. And all are made possible by orderly, responsible government."
As Vital Kamerhe, an expert in Congolese peace negotations, explains in his interviews, the question is not what, but how. People like Michel Gerson should start explaining the how instead of focusing on the "failed state" narrative.
An interview with  Bishop Ambongo december 9 2008 explains how Congo works:
"A) The present situation in DRC is not an issue with regard to a framework of negotiation because the framework is already present. What is missing is the will to put it into action. This framework is called the Amani Program, which means peace in Swahili. All partners involved in the current conflict have signed it, notably that man, that general Nkunda who took the weapons. He signed this agreement, however he does not want to respect it. That is why we are here: to ask the Canadian government to put pressure on this general so that he may put down his weapons and return to the existing framework for a dialog with the other partners, especially the government. "
As Ernest Wamba dia Wamba,  anyone should read his CV, said in an iterview 11-06-2008 :
"After having experienced the destabilisation of a Mobutist gendarme state, many neighbouring countries would rather prefer having a weak Congo around, especially if they can even benefit from that weakness by engaging also in the looting of resources of the Congo "
In 2004 Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, who was unsuccesfully used by Rwanda and Uganda as figurehead in their war against Kabila in 1997 (the coalition broke in january 1999), said this about South Africa's role in the transitional process:
"Some feel like South Africa has actively put us in the situation we are in. They had a lot of leverage to make sure that certain structural problems were anticipated and solutions proposed. They seem to have fallen in the Western logic of thinking that mediocrity is a less evil for Congolese, if it stops the war. They also have a lot of leverage to get a clear on-going commitment to resolve the contradictory fears of both the DRC and Rwanda; they do not seem to use it. This is why some feel that SA is too close to Rwanda."
US embassy personel in Kinshasa should just go to youtube and watch Vital Kamerhe's statements on the Congolese peace process. Might be helpfull.

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