Wednesday, 14 January 2009

DR Congo Crisis: Tanzania's Hand

Benjamin Mkapa

I was shocked when I learnt that Benjamin Mkapa, Tanzania’s former president, is one of the peace mediators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Historically speaking, Tanzania has a hand in the crisis in DRC. Had Tanzania not supported Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (who in turn cloned Rwandan Paul Kagame) there wouldn’t have been this crisis in DRC and genocide in Rwanda.

It all started when Idi Amin deposed Tanzania’s then great friend, Milton Obote. Tanzania overthrew Amin and reinstated Obote who later, proved to be bogus. That is when Museveni, groomed by Obote, entered the big picture.

Tanzania also features in the Rwanda genocide which started with the downing of the presidential jet. By then, Mkapa was minister for foreign affairs and major player in the Arusha Conference. The deaths of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana along with his Burundian counterpart, Cyprian Ntaryamira have something to do with Tanzania. These two died on the way from Tanzania to attend a botched peace conference in Arusha. Tanzania must have known what was going on. That’s why it lulled Habyarimana into the ploy of bringing all his top brass with him in the conference, knowing they’d not make it back to Kigali. And indeed, they were felled by pro-Uganda Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). Instead of condemning and barring RPF from taking power, they hurriedly supported it. The whole meaning of peace was lost ever since.

Whilst Rwanda and Uganda are arrogantly pushing DRC to the limits to (talk with Laurent Nkunda), they don’t want to hear anything with regards to Kigali talking with Rwandan Hutus! They don’t. For their pretext to plunder DRC is ‘fighting’ Interahamwe. This is double standard and hypocrisy, just like the one of Israelis pounding Palestine. This has become a norm for all artificial and illegal regimes in the world. They are favoured because of their fabricated history. Rich countries would like to see Israel do whatever it likes as this helps them steal from Arabs. If peace prevails in the Middle East, Arabs will no longer need ‘protection’ from rich countries. The threat will be gone.

Another fact that disqualifies Mkapa is the fact that Nkunda and his killers have been receiving weapons from Rwanda imported via Dar es Salaam. The authorities are aware of this and they have never done anything about it.

The solution for DRC crisis is simple. Dispatch seven battalions as Tanzania did in the Comoro recently and Nkunda will be netralized. Why should we waste time and money for no reason? If Africa goes on discussing with terrorists, every hooligan will cause mayhem unnecessarily. We witnessed such tribal megalomania in Mount Elgon in Kenya.Where are the so-called rebels?

Is it because rich nations are benefiting from minerals stolen from DRC making it difficult to descend on Nkunda? If Bush went to Iraq, why should the great lakes region fail to descend on Nkunda?

And to make sure that this cover is not blown up, Tanzania and Uganda lulled Kenya to admit Rwanda in the East African Union by bending the laws. The coming of Rwanda and partly Burundi was illegally fast -racked for no logical reasons. This is against the will of the citizens of original member states.

If getting market is the reason gearing the illegal admission of Rwanda and partly Burundi into the East African union, why haven't East African countries ever invited Mozambique whose economy is bigger and more vibrant than those two countries put together? If unity which means strength is the cause, why haven’t they ever considered Malawi and Zambia?

Tanzania has interests in the deterioration of DRC. To date, most of Joseph Kabila’s security advisers are from Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF). And Rwanda and Uganda are aware of this save that all are getting a share on DRC minerals and other resources; nobody is raising eyebrows in this conspiracy.In other words, Kabila is in power not to emancipate the Congolese but to plunder them in conjunction with these dubious masters. His father tried to get himself off the hook and was butchered.

Mkapa is corrupt: he has never disputed the fact that he and his wife, family and friends amassed much wealth and illegally acquired Kiwira Coal Mine using the office of the president. Should Mkapa be stripped of presidential immunity, he would face numerous corruption charges. He thus, cannot feel the pains the Congolese feel. True, this anomaly cost Mkapa. He lost the Mo Ibrahim prize for Africa’s good leader of year. Indeed, this was caused by Tanzanians after they were appalled.

Mkapa squarely failed to resolve the crisis in Zanzibar. Up to now, President Jakaya Kikwete is in dilemma. He does not know what to do about it. As president, Mkapa dispatched the army that killed many people making Tanzanians to be refugees in Shimoni-Mombasa and Europe for the first time of her history. Such a person does not get it when it comes to promoting peace.

Uganda and Rwanda are, among others, the root cause of all miseries we’re witnessing in DRC. Mkapa is a great friend of Yoweri Museveni who also is a great friend and mentor of Rwandan strong man Paul Kagame.

If we seriously are aiming at helping DRC, we should take a leaf from Kenya and Burundi. When Nelson Mandela stepped in to seek peace in Burundi, the results were tremendous as it was for Koffi Annan when he descended on Kenya’s post-election megalomania.

Competent mediators assure both sides to reach a conclusive end. Though Mkapa is not a chief mediator (I know it is Olusegun Obassanjo) still he can hamper the reaching of the conclusion and shall one of the parties discover this weakness, he surely will use it to shy away from the round table.

Retired presidents like Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), Daniel arap Moi (Kenya), Fredrick Chiluba (Zambia) and Pierre Buyoya (Burundi) are but a disgrace to their countries and cannot stand on the same rostrum as Nelson Mandela, Ketumile Masire, Joachim Chissano, Thabo Mbeki and John Kuffuor. Nay, never shall they dare even accidentally. They are elders. Yes we agree, but they left bad legacies and are not supposed to go anywhere near a mediation table especially in DRC.

Source: The African Executive Magazine January 14, 2009.

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