The tragedy of Goma

By Theogene Rudasingwa

M23 soldiers patrolling Goma on November 26, 2012 – BBC picture.

For the last several months Rwandans, Congolese, Africans and the
international community have watched as the predictable drama from
Kagame’s regime plays our once again in the Kivu region of Eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo. With the birth of M23, the Kigali regime
re-engineered the mutation of an old proxy force (CNDP) into a new
one with the same agenda: 1) weaken DRC 2) loot its natural resources
3) pretend that Rwanda can now solve the problem by paying lip-service
to negotiations 4) deceive the world that Rwanda is after Rwanda armed
groups , especially FDLR and 5) use this presence in DRC to manipulate
the international community against looking at the problems within
Rwanda itself. In all this President Kagame’s trademarks remain
deception, total disregard for human life, and disrespect to the
international community.

First, where is Africa in all this? It is African countries, notably
through African Union, that chose Rwanda to represent the continent at
the UN Security Council. Like Rwanda, DRC has been bleeding for
several years, and has lost 6 millions of its citizens due to Kagame’s
wars of plunder and killings. Can’t Africa save DRC and Rwanda from
the most vicious and brutal dictator since Idi Amin?

Second, the United Nations has a peacekeeping operation in DRC: over
20,000 personel and an annual budget of close to 1.5 billion US
dollars. What is the United Nations doing in DRC if it cannot defend a
small African city like GOMA, women and children?
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has become too close
to President Kagame that he has lost objectivity in dealing with the
crisis in DRC. In 2010, when the Mapping Report was published, Ban Ki
-Moon hurriedly packed his bags and went to Kigali to beg Kagame not
to pull out Rwandan troops from Sudan. The Mapping Report has been
shelved. Now as the Goma drama unfolded, Ban Ki-Moon called Kagame,
pleading that the later ( Kagame) “use his influence” to stop the
advance of M23 on Goma> Incredible! It is the same United Nations that
has rewarded Kagame with a seat on the Security Council, and is now
failing to hold him and his officers for the violations of
international law.

What is the stand of the United States and British Governments on the
unfolding tragedy in Goma. Rwanda has invaded a neighboring country
and violated DRC’s sovereignity and territorial integrity. President
Kagame’s regime is brutal and dictatorial at home, and belligerent in
the Great Lakes region. Washington and London have been Kagame’s
allies since 1994, and friendship with powerful nations has made him
more intransigent and willing to undertake costly risks. It is
important for Washington and London to re-evaluate their relationship
with Kagame to avoid the “French-Rwanda” disease. In the early 1990’s
France was able and yet unwilling to read the signals showing the last
days of a regime, committed sins of omission and commission, and has
regretted since. France was capable of playing a good influence
through a friendly regime of President Habyarimana. It chose not to.
The consequences were catastrophic.

Washington and London have a narrow window of opportunity to stop and reverse their unquestioning policies towards Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
Failure to do so in the short and medium term will contribute to even
worse tragedies in Rwanda and the Great lakes region. The tide of
change my not seem evident to the uncaring, distracted or biased eyes.
President Kagame is now the butcher of Rwanda and DRC. He will
certainly go. The question is: will he do so peacefully or with
unprecedented bloodshed in Rwanda and the region? If Washington and
London cannot help Rwandans and Congolese to end this bloodshed and
human suffering, at least they should not make matters worse by
keeping silent or supporting Kagame as he puts the whole region on
fire. It is time for Washington and London to make a choice.

The Rwandan and Congolese people must, as a matter of urgency and
survival, work together to save themselves and their motherlands.
Rwandans and Congolese people must seek the solidarity of Africans in
the struggle against a minority clique under Kagame’s rule. Rwandans
and Congolese must seek partners in the international community who
regard respect for human rights, peace, freedom and shared human
progress as cornerstones of international relations.

It is highly probable that by the time I wake up Goma will be in the
hands of Rwanda’s troops masquerading as M23. Afterall, Rwanda has
deployed its special forces, and almost a division of its armed
forces, its equipment and other resources to take Goma. Rwanda may be
then enticed to take Bukavu in South Kivu, or even be lured into DRC’s
tempting belly. Even then, Kagame must know this: it will be a futile
exercise since, like all his ventures in DRC, he will be forced to
abandon it, leaving with bags of coltan, diamonds and gold, and behind
him a trail of blood, tears and sweat of Rwandans and Congolese. DRC
will, sooner than later, prove to be Paul Kagame’s Achilles heel.

 
This article poses among other things a critical question of military assistance to governments. The author appears convinced of the negative role of French military aid and technical support to the Rwandan government of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, because of the presumed responsibilities of elements of the then Rwandan army in the genocide of 1994. What about the role of US  military assistance to the regime of Paul Kagame in atrocities which have been committed by his government in the last 18 years in power. How far these technical and military assistance to repressive regimes could be made responsible? Your opinion please!

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