Six to eight million of people died. The majority of the deaths occurred mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A significant number of the dead has been Congolese. There have however also been Rwandans, Burundians and Ugandans among those victims.
While the Rwandan president Paul Kagame masterminded and implemented the strategies for the killing of civilians using among many other tactics a manipulative narrative on regional issues, he ensured that the flow of Congolese mineral resources continued without too much of international outcry.
He was not alone in that criminal and business venture. The complicity of his Ugandan mentor, president Yoweri Museveni, has always been there still with variant intensity depending on the mood of the relations between the two personalities.
For the international community, – please understand here US and UK predominant voices in international affairs-, it was OK for all the stakeholders of the crooked criminal business until it became impossible to remain indifferent to the enormity and cruelty of crimes being committed.
Since 2012 the atrocities became too much unbearable for the victims and those among that so-called international community who could see the overall inhumanity of what was going on in the Great Lakes region. The tragedy had taken too long and was being sustained by its beneficiaries as if nothing was happening.
Pressure continued to mount asking Washington and London, the major sponsors of Kagame and Museveni in their Congolese plundering adventure, to act if they wanted to be seen with anymore international credibility.
Their multinationals had been the main profiteers of the murdering of Africans. This even led to some users of Facebook revolted by the open support of these multinationals to Paul Kagame in deciding to boycott temporarily their use of the online social media network.
The framework of the Peace Security and Economic development for the Democratic Republic and the region signed in Addis-Abeba on February 24th, 2013 had been devised following that ongoing pressure. It aimed at demonstrating to the international community that the UN and UNSC global institutions they have so far dominated since WWII were doing something.
The platform they created for peace in the Great Lakes region had however a major flaw. It confirmed the UN mandate through MONUSCO over the governance of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The basis of this argument is that even after the apparent military defeat of M23, UN envoy and other parties interested in the plundering of Congolese resources continue today in pushing publicly the government of Kinshasa and M23 to sign a peace agreement.
The idea of such peace agreement would only be understandable if it was seen as a public stand to get Museveni and Kagame out of shame/ hook for having supported the rebel movement, but knowing well that in practical term there would never be such agreement with a defeated group.
Having said that, the same way the framework of Addis-Abeba aimed at sustaining the status quo in the sense that if implemented it would guarantee ongoing interests for the Congolese resources by external stakeholders, such preoccupation of occupying DRC and exploiting its wealth will not go away with the military defeat of M23.
The hand of US and UK was significantly critical in the outcome of the recent fighting in the Kivus. This was not by accident but by design. The pressure is ongoing on Washington and London for stopping their continuing support to leaders who in normal circumstances shouldn’t be supported.
Understandably there are interests for American, British and other international stakeholders in what is going on in the region that they are defending. However there are limitations to what they are permitted to do in their agency roles and what is not acceptable in today’s world.
As the time goes, the two capitals have certainly worked out their exit strategy about their support to the Rwandan and Ugandan presidents. Nevertheless, the sustained demands which have made them recently change their unconditional bond with these two personalities should continue.
It was because of such pressure that the Ugandan president had for example to cancel his appearance in the United Kingdom where he was planned to speak on November 18th about the Kampala peace talks. Following demands from several pressure groups, the London School of Economics which was meant to host him said no to his visit.
On his part the Rwandan president became the one odd out by not participating to the joint SADC/ICGLR Summit held in Pretoria on Monday November 4th. However, the meeting which was meant to discuss the renewed fighting in the Kivus did not address the underlying issues nor the plausible developments wished for by the victims in the region. The conference seemed like a stage set to show that Africans were masters of the events occurring in the Kivus, although the real actors were Washington and London.
Then what next for Paul Kagame? Is he going to give up on the plundering of the DRC? Obviously he was not acting for his own sake primarily, though he was being rewarded somehow.
This is part of the dilemma he is faced with: not being able to exploit the Eastern Congo minerals and other riches at he likes. There are many interests which are linked to his in that Congolese venture. When they will realize that he cannot protect them anymore, they are going to dumb him.
The more the pressure on Washington and London to distance themselves from the criminal and dictatorial leaders of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC they have supported for so many years, the more peace in the region will have a chance of becoming sustainable. There might be some way to go before it is finally achieved.