Saturday, July 28, 2012

This Child-To-Parent Relationship Has To End

Louise Mushikiwabo, foreign affairs minister of Rwanda, said in an address to the Kenyan business club Mindspeak yesterday:
"This child-to-parent relationship has to end ... there has to be a minimum respect'' 
Interesting remark coming from a regime that sees it's own citizens as babies, as Senator Aloysia Inyumba, the former General Secretary of Rwandas National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and also a prominent RPF leader, made clear during the rigged 2010 Presidential elections:
“the ordinary citizens are like babies. They will need to be completely educated before we can talk about democracy”.
Apparently oldschool revolutionary rhetoric is all the regimes in Kigali and Kampala and their propaganda machines have to offer in response to solid evidence of their sustained destabilisation efforts in eastern Congo. Facts are stubborn things, as State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday:
'the United States also has its own evidence of Rwandan involvement in the upheavals, but believed the UN report was "quite comprehensive and quite concerning.'
Who are the journalists in Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda fighting this oldschool revolutionary narrative? That's the central issue here. The East African Community needs a Donald Tusk type politician that ends these nostalgic tendencies.

Strengthen Obama's law on Congo, PL 109-456

M7 Supports M23 Insurgency

Today William Wallis and Katrina Manson quote a 'Senior official' from the great lakes region in the Financial Times who claims that ridiculing Kagame isn't the way to get him to do things. This senior donor official goes on to assert that withdrawing money, as the US did, was the wrong move, they should have asked Kagame to rein in the rebels and states:
'Kagame is the only one in this region who can make this happen. In Congo, Kagame is the game changer, not Kabila'
No further details are given on the background of this senior donor official. In light of suspension of aid by the Netherlands and the statements and actions by the US I assume senior officials from these countries don't contradict their government's policies. We can also exclude the Nordic countries, along with India, while these countries called to delay the cash transfer due to concerns raised in the UN report (as quoted in previous article by William Wallis and Katrina Manson).
The senior donor official isn't from the  the Foreign and Commonwealth office either, as we can deduct from that same article by William Wallis, Katrina Manson and Matt Steinglass. Likely neither from Germany, which decided today to suspend aid to Rwanda as well.
This same senior official goes on to claim the only restraining force in the region is Rwanda and that the UN isn't going to do anything. It makes me very curious to know who this 'senior donor official' might be.

Dutch journalist Koert Lindijer mentioned the argument by this 'senior official' that we supposedly need Kagame to rein in the rebels and added that the Netherlands has apparently decided otherwise.
However, the argument that we need Kagame to rein in the rebels in Kivu fails to take into account the role Uganda and Burundi are playing in the region. Uganda's President Museveni claimed at the African Union meeting in Adis Ababa:
'The problem in Congo is not Rwanda. It is internal. Congo has been messed up by the United Nations and other international players'
Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda represent a majority in the East African Community and could well be coordinating their diplomacy in the region. Uganda might even be supplying troops to the M23 insurgency. At the same time several Ugandan (online) journalists are heavily involved in spreading Museveni's version of panafricanism which blames 'the west' for everything that goes on in Africa in general, and Congo in particular.
To get an idea of the rhetoric coming out of Uganda and Rwanda, read the article by Rwandan Anglican bishop John Rucyahana, organiser of the M23 insurgency and leader of a Intore re-education camp, posted (again ?) on the website of The New Times last week:
'Africa’s leaders should wake up and shake off the colonial imposition bequeathed on her by the Western world and learn to work and fight for African dignity and restoration.
The African Union should endeavor to correct all mistakes done on Africa with all the energy within its power and ability. Those damages which are thought to be beyond repair can be redeemed productively.
For example, the problem of Congo is uncalled for, and D.R. Congo alone has the duty to put an end to the strife. If the Congolese do not recognise the people in Eastern Congo as their fellow Congolese, the African Union should give them the option for a referendum to choose where they should belong.
Finally, the African Union should redeem its dignity and shape Africa’s destiny and stop being manipulated and exploited by her former colonial exploiters.
In conclusion, Africa should condemn very strongly and reject the European effort to re-colonize Africa by use of International Courts and other means being used to threaten the Sovereignty of African leadership.'
Doesn't sound like someone who is interested in spreading the gospel. Was the Anglican church in Uganda and Rwanda hijacked by revolutionaries during the nineties? It certainly is a possibility we shouldn't discard.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Political Component To MONUSCO's New Mandate

Fabrice Musoni writes in his blogpost 'Security Reforms Needed to Protect Civilians in Congo':

'MONUSCO’s mission has come under heavy criticism for failing to achieve its core mandate of protecting civilians in light of increased fighting.'

We can find criticism of MONUSCO in Louise Arbour's open letter to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (june 11 2012) summarized by Laura Seay here. This letter by Louise Arbour ends with a list of recommendations to the Security Council. These recommendations can be roughly divided in two categories.

The first category on the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda and the ending of cross border support of armed groups by other countries (at least Rwanda) voices support for Congo's ongoing counterinsurgency operation in Kivu.

The second category focuses on the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy, with a strong political component, to address pervasive insecurity and the threat of illegal armed groups in eastern Congo.

June 27 2012 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2053 which extends MONUSCO's mission. Among other things it says on Security Sector Reform:

'security sector reform (SSR) should be the primary focus within the stabilization and peace consolidation mandate'
What are the main ingredients of a succesfull SSR? Mvemba Phezo Dizolele writes in his july 16 2012 article 'Hope but no Change':

'It's hard to know where to start in reforming a state as dysfunctional as the DRC, but security sector reform is probably the most pressing of the country's needs'
'The lack of an adequate national integration program has resulted in the establishment of parallel command structures within the military.'
'The DRC has to take critical steps to restore state authority and control over its territory. But without legitimacy, it is impossible for the current pro-Kabila majority to govern. The United States and other donors ought to push the Kabila government to hold free, fair, and transparent provincial elections to offset the paralyzing effect of the 2011 polls.'
Allthough we could argue that today's warning to Paul Kagame can be seen as a victory for Congo's Foreign Affairs minister Tshibanda and Congo's intelligence services, could it also be interpreted as the logical next step of implementing The Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006? (Or was it the influence of bloggers like Rwanda's King Kigeli in Virginia?)
The steps taken to hold Rwanda's current regime accountable for it's sustained backing of insurgencies in Congo give us a clear indication of how the new mandate of MONUSCO (and the international consensus on Congo) should be interpreted. Pushing for free, fair and transparent provincial elections in Congo will likely be the logical next step.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dooyeweerdiaans Pantheïsme

Prof Dr. K. Schilder schreef in reactie op de rectorale rede van prof. Dr. D.H.Th. Vollenhove over De noodzakelijkheid ener christelijke logica een korte kritische passage die ons onmiddelijk aan J. Oliver Buswell's boekbespreking van Cornelis van Til's boek 'the fountainhead of presuppositionalism' doet denken:
 'Ik weet, dat men zich hier op dr. Kuypers Encyclopaedie beroepen kan, maar nog steeds acht ik te moeten handhaven, wat ik reeds vroeger schreef, dat op bepaalde punten de palingenesie door dr. Kuyper naar voren is gebracht in haar betekenis voor het denken, daar, waar ik het logisch deduceren uit de (klaarblijkelijke) openbaring naar voren zou willen schuiven. De gereformeerde belijdenis, die de klaarblijkelijkheid der openbaring zó krachtig handhaaft, dat ze de onwedergeborene (ook afgedacht van de erfzonde) ‘niet-te-verontschuldigen’ noemt, als hij niet gelooft, heb ik daarin achter mij, naar ik meen. Daarom wil ik niet de palingenesie, maar de openbaring in het bepalen óók van de ‘verscheidenheden’ in de ‘logische wetskring’ op de voorgrond stellen. Zó alleen kan ik verklaren, dat de grootste egoïst, de duivel - en nu spot ik niet, al denkt misschien De Wekker dat - als hij maar wilde, perfect logica kon doceren (om ‘mefistofelisch’ te kúnnen doen, moet hij scherp logisch denken), want aan hem is veel openbaring geschied.'
In 1949 schreef J. Oliver Buswell (Op het gebied van Apologetiek naast Cornelis van Til de belangrijkste leraar van Francis Schaeffer)  in zijn boekbespreking van 'De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee' van Herman Dooyeweerd:
'The notion that human reason is not autonomous, in the sense that God has created it so, is, in this little book from Amsterdam, quite suggestive of a basically pantheistic attitude.'
J. Oliver Buswell trekt daaruit de volgende conclusie in zijn boekbespreking van Corneli van Til's boek 'the fountainhead of presuppositionalism':
'Federal theology, or covenant theology, is based upon the representative principle which is logically ruled out when Platonic realism is applied to original sin,— ruled out when distinct individual created identity and a measure of genuine created autonomy is denied to individual men.'
Pierre Courthial, voormalig Decaan van FLTR (nu 'Faculté Jean Calvin') in Aix-en-Provence (en geen aanhanger van de Reformatorische Wijsbegeerte), herhaalt in zijn lezing Karl Barth et Jean Calvin, filiation ou trahison exact de woorden van Klaas Schilder over de klaarblijkelijkheid van de openbaring,  zoals vermeld in de belijdenis, die ons ‘niet-te-verontschuldigen’ maakt. Overigens ook een centraal punt in de bespreking door Courthial van de verschillen tussen Karl Barth en Jean Calvin's denken. Pierre Courthial, J. Oliver Buswell en Klaas Schilder zijn het eens.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Destablizing Activities In DRC By Burundi & Uganda?

On friday in the article 'The U.S. Ally That Brings Violence to the Congo and Gets Away With It' Armin Rosen tables once again the question nobody seems to find a completely satisfactory answer to:
'Why would elements in the Rwandan government choose this particular moment to spur conflict in eastern Congo?'
A question often repeated in different discussions and contexts. For example Veronica Varekova argues:
'Instability in Eastern Congo is a worry for Rwanda too. This is why all the accusations make no sense.'
Kris Berwouts speculates on a split between older, U.S.-trained Rwandan military officials and a younger, more nationalistic wing of the Rwandan officer corps.

Is Rwanda playing it's own risky game, as argued yesterday by Laura Seay in a blogpost, or is Kigali closely coordinating it's foreign policy in the DRC with Kampala & Bujumbura?

Coverage of recently released UN expert report zoomed in on Rwanda's role in supporting insurgencies in eastern Congo, eclipsing the possible role of two other neighbours Uganda and Burundi. Is their role consistently underestimated, overlooked and misunderstood?
This week Ugandan MP Geoffrey Ekanya called on President Museveni to 'come clean on the role Uganda is playing in Congo'.  Activist @chrisrumu from Burundi thinks M23 has links to Burundi as well:
yeap... not sure that the guy who is managing this (M23 website/facebook) is based in North Kivu... and Yes, has connection here!
 The Obama sponsored 2006 'Congo act' of december 15th 2006 focuses in it's findings (101) not just on Rwanda, but also on Burundi and Uganda:
'Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors.'
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, required a report not later than one year after the date of the enactment to be submitted to Congress on the progress made toward accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102. Section 106 specifies that the required content of this report should include:
'A description of any major impediments that prevent the accomplishment of the policy objectives described in section 102, including any destabilizing activities undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo by governments of neighboring countries (see also section 102 (14) )'
December 2007 David Gootnick, Director International Affairs and Trade at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), submitted this required report to Congress based on an audit which was performed between may 2007 and december 2007.

The 'real or perceived presence of groups hostile to the governments of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi' is not mentioned as potential major source of regional instability in this 2007 GAO report. Destablizing activities undertaken in the DRC by governments of neighbouring countries are not mentioned as major impediments to prevent the accomplishment of the policy objectives described in section 102 of the DRC Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act. The report sums up it's findings in the introduction:
  • Allthough US agencies have not acted on the Act's objective of bilaterally urging nations contributing peacekeeping troops to prosecute abusive peacekeepers, Us mutilateral actions address this issue.
  • DRC's unstable security situation, weak governance, mismanagement of its vast natural resources, and lack of infrastructure are major interrelated challenges that impede efforts to achieve the Act's policy objectives.
  •  The U.S. government has not established a process for systematically assessing its progress toward achieving the Act's policy objectives.
Allthough the report was submitted to Congress in december 2007, it fails to mention the official divorce between Kinshasa and Nkunda that occured in August 2007 when ex-CNDP troops ambushed troops loyal to Kinshasa in Rubare. The GAO report quotes however a report by ICG, ‘Internanational Crisis Group, Congo: Consolidating the Peace, Africa Report 128 (Kinshasa and Brussels, July 5 2007)’, that states:
  • militias control large portions of the eastern regions of the DRC. DRC's security forces are poorly disciplined, ill equipped, and the worst abusers of human rights in the DRC.'
In other words 'the door is open, here are the keys'. Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi probably read the report that way. The war in Kivu in 2008 and 2009 illustrates this. We got the march 23 2009 treaty that led to joint operations against the FDLR. In april 2010 Paul Kagame outlined his foreign policy in a speech in West Point where he equated the FDLR and it's supporters with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda. It was the forebode of a string of succesfull and failed assassinations at home in Rwanda and abroad in the UK, South Africa and Uganda. Rene C. Mugenzi was warned of an imminent threat on his life by MI5 in the UK.

In that context we  should read Rene C Mugenzi proposal to pressure the Rwandan regime to end political repression and install political freedom which in turn would undoubtedly bring sustainable peace and would cost much less than the cost of current UN peacekeeping mission in Congo.

Events in october 2011 point to a coordinated effort by Rwanda's RPF to align the foreign policy objectives stated in Kagame's West Point speech with Burundi and Uganda.  Someone called Alex (Not Alex Ntung according to Richard Wilson) claimed genocide was occuring in eastern Congo and that the world 'had to do something'. A week later just before Carson arrived in Kigali, Paul Kagame claimed:
"Also posing a threat to regional security are the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) and the Front Nationale Pour la Liberation (FNL) in Burundi."
Enough reason to reread the UN expert report focusing on the Burundi and Ugandan angles.