HUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL…
What it is going on in the DRC is no joke, not for itself and certainly not for its neighbors who’ve been sucked into its internal issues. But I do see certain lessons Congo can learn from the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ nursery rhythm. Like Humpty Dumpty, Mr. Joseph Kabila, against all logic and good sense, decided to ‘sit on a wall’. His refusal to heed any advice, either from his own advisors or from his Rwandan allies, as recently revealed by Gen. James Kabarebe in a revealing interview with Le Soir’s Colette Braeckman, has been disastrous.
He, and his administration, was urged by Rwanda to negotiate with disgruntled FARDC soldiers, such as ex-CNDP Colonel Sultani Makenga, who were complaining of poor pay and conditions, but he arrogantly refused to. Reminds me of Mr. Humpty Dumpty; what was the delicate egg doing on top of a high wall? Didn’t he worry that a gust of wind could knock him off his perch? Was he suffering from bouts of overconfidence and feelings of invincibility? Shouldn’t he have known just how precarious the situation was? Humpty didn’t and neither did Kabila.
…HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL…
While Humpty’s demise affected just him, in Kabila’s case the ‘fall’ affected millions of people on both sides of our common border. A region that was slowly coming out of its shell was forced, once again, to start from scratch. Instead of trying to see the error in his ways and dealing with the real issues besieging his people, such as the question of Congolese nationality and other governance issues, he looked to others to help him out
…ALL THE KING’S HORSES AND ALL THE KING’S MEN…
The international community i.e. ‘The Kings’, came to Kabila’s aid, responding in the form of military counterattacks on the M23 led by MONUSCO troops, human rights reports, aid cuts to Rwanda and, of course, the usual UN Security Council, AU and International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) summits.
I’ve been looking at the ICGLR resolutions emanating from the Head of Governments summit held on Saturday in Kampala and I can’t help but shake my head at the futility of it all. The resolutions talk about ‘expanding the Joint Verification Mechanism and the Joint Intelligence Fusion Center’ and requesting the ‘chairperson of the ICGLR to continue with his diplomatic engagement with the parties to the conflict in Eastern DRC with a view to securing a complete cessation of hostilities and putting an end to the crisis, if feasible, through peaceful political means’. Which is certainly helpful.
…COULDN’T PUT HUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN
But no matter what the international community does, whether it is using MONUSCO as a battering ram, putting in place a Neutral International Force or sanctioning Rwanda, its actions will remain futile. It is akin to placing a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. You might staunch a little blood flow but the patient will still bleed to death.
I agree with Minister Mushikiwabo. At the end of the day, the Congolese people need to stop blaming everyone for their problems and find an internal mechanism that works for them.
This brings me to a book that I’ve been reading the last couple of day, Murder in Amsterdam. Written by Ian Bruma, it examines the aftermath of the assassination of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri and how it affected the Dutch. I found the book especially interesting when the author attempted to describe the Dutch. They were “hospitable, straight talking to the point of rudeness and tolerant”. This description made me wonder, what would I deem as the one truly ‘Rwandan characteristic’?
I would have to go with proud self-reliance. Let’s just look at our past. Did we cry and sit on our hands, waiting for the international community to get us out of the refugee camps in Uganda? No. We understood the NOBODY would ever care about us more than we cared about ourselves. When we needed schools built for the 12 year Basic Education programme, the citizens either contributed their labour or their monies to ensure their children didn’t study under trees. Look at the Agaciro Development Fund. Look at Gacaca. We’ve always found local solutions for our problems.
The solution to the various Congolese problems will not come from Kigali, Kampala, Brussels, Paris, New York or Washington DC. They will have to come from Beni, Katanga, South Kivu and Kinshasa. Let neither the international community nor the Congolese kid themselves and pretend otherwise.