Monday, August 6, 2012

Donor Consistency Concerning East Africa & Congo

Ken Opalo claimed yesterday:
'Rwanda’s involvement is a symptom of, and not the cause of the mess that is eastern DRC.'
The basic assertion that informs his claim is this:
'As long as Kinshasa’s incompetence continues to provide a safe launching base for rebels aiming to depose Kagame, Kigali will have no option'
'I think the Huntingtonian view that degree of government matters trumps concerns over 
 the type of government. Eastern Congo needs order, period.'
The first claim suggests that Kigali has more right to launch destablising insurgencies then Kinshasa because of the relationship between FDLR and the Rwandan genocide. It seems based on a racist assumption that Hutus are more likely to commit genocide then other tribes in the region. A claim that is completely baseless. Apparently most people tend to forget the Burundi genocide in 1972 and the genocidal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of hutu refugees in the Congo at the end of the twentieth century (see mapping report).

Concerning the second, in some undemocratic states there has allways been lots of order, but longerm results were less fantastic. Hillary Clinton in her visit to Kampala and ICG's Louise Arbour in her open letter to the security council emphasized the importance of a political component in all policy debates concerning East Africa and Congo.

The pan-african narrative claims it liberated Congo from the ekakunya Mobutu, right? How can those same pan-africanists now come around and claim democracy is totally irrelevant? I don't get it? If the international community and the pan-africanists want to preserve even a little credibility they will have to demonstrate commitment to a hollistic solution with a strong political component. But maybe pan-africanism is just another definition for a fascist totalitarian state, right. Also a possibility.
A reasonable approach in both Congo and the East African Community would be to push for freedom of goods, services and people as a single market, just as Europe did since JFK's famous speech in Berlin about freedom.
In recent weeks many commentators have argued that there seems to be a policy change concerning Paul Kagame among western governments. But it could just as well be the logical next step in a longterm debate among western European and American donors. Pushing for freedom and democracy abroad is directly linked to domestic policies in EU memberstates and the US.

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