Monday, 26 November 2012

“Neither Kabila nor the M23 rebellion is welcome!”

By Gael Masengi

M23 rebels making way in the town of Goma
History might without doubt repeat itself if the Rwandan-backed rebel fighters of the M23 movement decide to advance into the capital Kinshasa as they have been promising, but unfortunately for them, this time will be way too different compared to more than a decade ago when another group made of dominantly Rwandan military and Congolese (formerly Zairian) dissidents walked into the city and received a stunned heroic welcome.

Resistance will be the word of the day and no Congolese will let again be fooled by some hollow speech of democracy and peace by a bunch of insurgents responsible of countless number of death of their mothers and sisters,what for? To “free” them from whom they helped put in power?! I can tell you that in the DRC nationalism may not be a course taught at any school but it is an ideology which every Congolese carry with him wherever he found himself, today you can surf streets of every province of the Democratic Republic of Congo and ask who’s the brain behind the status quo they will tell you clearly that it always has been Rwanda’s wish to weaken its giant neighbour, if possible create a state within state, therefore using Joseph Kabila as a facilitator to accomplish the fore mentioned, a sentiment the diaspora also echoes.

Many analysts I spoke to recently believe that the current Eastern DRC crisis highlight in bold how determined is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame to expand his tyrannical rule in central Africa in whatever way. From using the pretext of ‘going-after-members-of-former-ruling Hutu-ethnic-responsible-of-genocide-hiding-in-the-DRC’ to arming Rwandans and attack the Congo, as the Telegraph reported of UK last week, clearly the “new boss” of the Great Lake region will never rest until his mission is achieved. Even a two years old toddler will found it pathetic of the rebels to claim that Joseph Kabila has to admit he cheated last year’s presidential election and step down. Is the M23 some kind of electorate observing mission? What I observed is that, the people of Congo have advanced politically to comprehend who’s their enemy and who’s a real pal, Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”Obviously no soul will again afford any more lies from any pretender to come in name of ‘peace and reconciliation.’

Here we are fifty years after independence, the country hasn’t made any important  progress in terms of political stability, infrastructures development, economy growth, health care delivery or quality education yet we are still debating who will rig the next presidential election or what armed group will seize what part of the country, I will somewhat blame ourselves because of the failure to take extreme actions which are indeed necessary in order to establish an equitable state the DRC badly needs thus far never was since its existence. Reliance on so-called International Community (whoever they are) have proven to be a biggest disappointment, proof, since the UN started its mission in the country some thirteen years ago over 5.4 million people had died under their watch and an estimated number of more than 1.5 million people are internally displaced, many of them women and children. How many again do we want dead for us to take action? maybe a sort of civil revolution/war is definitely needed in order to take back what is rightfully for the people and establish a legitimate government as suggested a former Congolese soldierliving on exile in Johannesburg, turned “Combatant” anti Kabila activist He reckoned that power in the Democratic Republic of Congo rest on the hands of Kigali-controlled incompetent Joseph Kabila and must be snatched away from him whatever it takes, however doing so, he said, will require a lot of courage and effort, the audacity former service man stresses Congolese people don’t have…yet.

Certainly the frustration is growing among the Congolese people whether be in the diaspora or at home, it is only a matter of time until the folks, especially those within the DRC borders to realise that a ‘Patria O Muerte’ speech is needed to overcome that evil of fear, adopt the ‘Egyptian-approach’ and go “Tahrir-Square” on both Joseph Kabila and his M23 creation and finally put an end to eleven years reign of impunity, serious human-rights abuse, organised rebellion and dictatorship.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The digital battle of Goma!

By Gael Masengi

Clicking, uploading or ‘hash tagging’ every good and bad moment of our everyday lives has become an habit we, human beings have adopted and come to love so much. Whether it is the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the killing of Osama Ben Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan or the Arab Spring in the Middle-East or the Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan, New York, surely you will know about it before turning-on your TV screen.

This week as the fierce battle of Goma town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo escalate, the Twitter community or simply known as “Tweeps” have taken into storm the social network to support, blame or just alert the rest of the globe about atrocities being committed in North-Kivu by the infamous Rwandan-backed M23 rebels. Since the on-going conflict erupted early this year, the United Nations’ so-called Group of Experts on Congo findings have painted the neighbouring Rwanda and recently Uganda as the main sponsors of the Congolese mutineers, allegations confirmed by various international anti-war organisations but constantly denied by Rwanda despite overwhelming evidences. 

Just like in any conventional war there’s two side in every argument, yes, only in this day and age is a little bit different because public opinion has undoubtedly become or should I say always has been one of the most important ‘tools’ of war, a notable example of what I’m talking about is how the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been engaged in a “twitter war” with pro DRC ‘tweeps’, overwhelmed by negatives tweets, Minister Louise Mushikiwabo tweeted “Gov Rwa is again asking FARDC, M23 and all other armed groups in the DRC to stop fighting; extra-regional meddling should end as well!” indicating that her country has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going-on in the DRC, the FM went-on to get defensive as she adds “…No question DRC has good ideas for peace, if only it could be allowed to govern itself”. However in contrast to his minister, Paul Kagame left his 87,924 followers in the dark as he preferred to remain silent rather taking all the commendations from angry folks twitting angry tweets, directly holding him accountable and imploring him to put an end on what they call ‘madness.’

Shortly after their triumphant entrance in Goma city, the rebel fighters of M23 confirmed the capture of Goma Airport on their Facebook page saying “Mapambano ineekeya ku Mont goma. Aeroport yote Tayari”  meaning that although fighting continued in Goma the airport was already under their control, within seconds, the wall post has recorded over two-hundred and fifty "Likes" and more than three-hundred and fifty sympathising comments, clearly the antagonist also have supporters. The M23 propaganda mechanism didn’t stop there; the rebels went-on to mock the government and Joseph Kabila himself writing “overwhelmed by the status quo, President Joseph Kabila calls the Congolese people to mobilise,”  “who will listen to you?” ask the fighters and accompanying the message with a photo of a frustrated Kabila. Many agree that the rebel fighters have so-far cleverly use both the mainstream and social media to navigate their message, within a week of intense battle to take the key town of Goma, numerous people have changed their view towards the M23, some calling them freedom fighters and others comparing them to the 1997’s “Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo” a coalition of Rwandan and Congolese dissidents, this is the kind of publicity the rebels needed knowing that just like fifteen years ago, the Congolese people lost faith on the regime of Mobutu Sessesseko and were ready to welcome whoever to come in name of ‘liberation’ and ‘democracy.’  

The increasing use of social networks in conflicts and specifically in this one surely indicated how anyone can take advantage of new technology to control the narrative and ultimately normalise even though not a justifiable cause.

Meanwhile the people of Goma and surroundings villages are left at no one’s mercy as the so-called International Community which always feels guilty (of holocaust and Rwandan genocide) watch at distance and having little or nothing to do about it. But hey! Who’s to blame? The incompetent government of Joseph Kabila, which many of them voted for on late last year’s election, have completely failed them.

Is it unlikely for the rebels to march into the capital Kinshasa? Will they be welcome? Only time will tell.