In a rather overall interesting interview that the former South African president Thabo Mbeki gives to Mike Hanna of Al Jazeera, there are two issues he wrongly addresses and these are the origins of the problem in Eastern Congo and the success of the Rwandan reconciliation among Hutus and Tutsis.
Thabo Mbeki’s views on Eastern Congo go as this:
“The fundamental problem with Eastern Congo starts with the years of Mobutu. And it has to do with this question of identities. You have this population there, that is Banyamulenge, but across that border, they speak the same language as people in Rwanda; as you would expect across our African borders, and conflict that started during the Mobutu years when other population groups in the area encouraged by Kinshasa started saying that these were foreigners. They are not foreigners. They are people who have been living in the Congo for donkey years. And that started there so you had emergence then of the Mai Mai in Eastern Congo. That started the conflict.
[I find that hearing this from Thabo Mbeki about the fundamental problem in Eastern Congo shows that he has been listening too much at the official narrative of Kigali about what is happening in the region. He forgets that even the Rwandan Patriotic Front of Paul Kagame – through the voice of General James Kabarebe, Rwandan minister of defense, speaking publicly in Kigali to an audience of students -, acknowledges that the Banyamulenge issue was a PR stunt created to justify the invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996/97. There is no such tribe as Banyamulenge. As we know today, the main problem in the Eastern Congo is the Rwandan plundering of Congolese minerals resources. And to achieve that Kigali creates firstly persistent and controlled instability with the regrettable millions of Congolese victims including hundreds of thousands of raped women.
Another element that the general public should be aware of is the fact that before 1986, this is the year during which Yoweri Museveni who is a Hima, a tribe close to Tutsi, took power in Kampala, this with the help of Tutsi exiles who had lived in Uganda since the 1960s, Eastern Congo did not have any of the problems we see there today. And this harmony had prevailed for many decades from the independence. It was only when the Hima/Tutsi territorial ambitions combined with a high level of greed became the dominant policies in Kigali and Kampala that Kagame and Museveni, with their sponsors also interested in Congolese minerals started creating justifiable motives to be in Eastern Congo.]
About Rwanda, Thabo Mbeki says this:
“You had a terrible genocide in Rwanda. But if you look at the manner with which Rwanda is developing in attending to this matter of integration on the Rwandese population, hutu, tutsi and all that, I think they are making very good progress; and they might be making better progress than the South Africans are in terms of the same issues. But again it would be because in part, despite the horror of that genocide, that perhaps socio-economic manifestation of the phenomenon in Rwanda was not as deeply entrenched as it was in South Africa.
[This is an ironic understanding that Thabo Mbeki puts forward saying that Rwanda is doing better than South Africa in solving its societal issues, when one really knows the apartheid like policies that Paul Kagame has put in place since July 1994 to exclude and discriminate against Hutus though they are 85% of the population. Mbeki’s view of the Rwandan situation shows again the power of deceit of the Rwandan Patriotic Front government in hiding realities on the ground from outsiders. And this is a constant pattern in its modus operandi. Even back at the time of its guerrilla war, it killed thousands of civilians, and had ways of masquerading as having been Habyarimana’s government victims they were fighting against. Since the RPF controls every aspect of the Rwandan life today, many including Thabo Mbeki are still being fooled by Kagame deceit to make them say that Rwanda might be doing better than South Africa in terms of community reconciliation, while the reality is quite the opposite and even worsening.]