The danger of talking of genocide against Congolese women only

Dr Denis Mukwege - Director of Panzi Hospital [Bukavu - Eastern Congo - DRC]

Dr Denis Mukwege – Director of Panzi Hospital [Bukavu – Eastern Congo – DRC]

We learn from reliable sources that raping Congolese women has been used as a weapon of war and continues to be.  It features among many strategies employed by inside and outside forces interested in controlling DRC mineral resources, targeting communities located in areas with significant and identified reserves. Women have not been the only victims. There have also been reported cases of men and children who have been raped in the Eastern provinces of the country.

During the month of March, which usually sees across the world activities focusing on the role of women in society, French Minister for La Francophonie Ms. Yamina Benguigui, apparently announced that she would denounce the genocide of Congolese women during an international conference. But there are voices among the Congolese community strongly opposed to such portrayal of their country’s ongoing tragedy where women are the ones receiving its bulk. They are saying:

“… there cannot be a partial genocide in DRC, or there is genocide whose victims include children, women and men, or there is none. In addition, it is critically very dangerous to talk of only women because it suggests that the black man here implicitly Congolese, considered as rebel is genetically a rapist [though Western societies have their own rapists – my emphasis]. We categorically denounce this kind of understanding aimed at misleading about the reality of what is happening in DRC.”

The critical danger of seeing the genocide being committed in DRC since 1996 as only about Congolese women is not only offensive towards men of that country, but it would clear  Paul Kagame’s funded militias which are mainly composed of elements of Rwandan descent in the Kivus of any involvement in atrocities. At some extent, even the real FDLR faction not affiliated to the Rwandan government would hardly be implicated. The focus of perpetrators of rape in the region would be this time only on Congolese men, considered particularly the lawlessness of their government’s soldiers.

The same Congolese voices coming especially from women are strongly advocating for justice.

“We want arrested and prosecuted the murderers, rapists, and torturers of our children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. We are non-partisan. We also think it is high time that [Congolese] women’s voices are heard in this struggle. Our approach of issues can be different and together we could be able to advance this cause. We Congolese women are the guardians of the memory of our people and our families and therefore we cannot let our family die.”

At the time Congolese women try to come together and resist actively against the tragedy imposed on their compatriots in Eastern Congo, another development apparently aimed at perpetuating insecurity is dangerously taking shape in the region with the creation of a new armed political group – MRP, which pretends to fight against the Rwandan regime. The leader of the rebel movement, Dr Anastase Gasana, who is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paul Kagame, has already posted online the political lines of his struggle. Surprisingly, he was last year the guest of the Rwandan president in Boston Rwandan Day.

Dr. Anastase Gasana, former Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs at Boston Rwanda Day 2012 on Saturday 22nd September. He is the founder of the newly created armed rebel movement MRP.

Dr. Anastase Gasana, former Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs at Boston Rwanda Day 2012 on Saturday 22nd September. He is the founder of the newly created armed rebel movement MRP.

But as informed analysts of the political situation in the Great Lakes region explain, the creation of that group is aimed at misleading the international community since, with the theatrical split among M23 leadership, the signature between the later and Kinshasa government on integrating Makenga’s elements in Congolese armed forces, and Rwanda seating at the Security Council for the ongoing two years, the Rwandan president needs to find alternative strategies to get back into Eastern Congo to continue the plundering of resources and certainly commit other atrocities on local populations.

For DRC, it does not appear that the country will ever have peace as long as Paul Kagame will reign in Rwanda with the total support of US directly or indirectly through UN [MONUSCO] institutions.


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