Congo: Nothing changes after DRC elections

In December 2002 a peace agreement to put an end to five years of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was signed in South Africa. It set five main targets:

• reunification of a country torn apart by different rebel factions
• rebuilding the country
• restabilising state power across the whole country
• national reconciliation
• formation of a trained and integrated national army.

These were preconditions for the organisation of free, transparent and democratic elections in 2006 to bring about new and reliable structures for a safe and stable country.

By 2006 none of the recommendations had been implemented. There were plenty of warnings of the lack of will to effect change. The opposition called on the population to boycott the elections, but underestimated the force imperialists were prepared to use to ensure it happened.

The so-called CIAT (Comité International d’Accompagnement de la Transition), made up of the US, UK, German, French and Belgian embassies, spent more than $450 million supporting the government. Only President Kabila had the right to use UN vehicles, planes and helicopter for campaigning.

It was easy for CIAT to manage the polling booths, especially in the eastern part of DRC where Rwanda has more control than the government. The outcome of the elections is that Kabila’s alliance controls Parliament, the government and ten out of 11 provincial governments. The July and October 2006 elections were a cover to legitimise recolonisation.

There is a plot sustained by imperialism against the country, which begs the question of the role of the United Nations mission in DRC. The imperialist strategy is very simple: prevent the country organising and unifying so that plunder and looting continue unhindered.

While the population waits to see the promised change from the elections the nightmare continues unabated. In January 2007 more than 200 people had been massacred in the southwest of Congo (Bas-Congo) alone. Neither the newly elected President nor his Prime Minister bothered to send their condolences to the victims’ families. In March 2007 a fight broke out in the middle of Kinshasa to disarm an opposition militia. Over 600 civilians were killed, with the knowledge of the UN mission troops who only managed to pick up the corpses afterwards.

Why aren’t the UN doing or saying anything about the increasing human rights violations when they are mandated to protect civilians? Harassment of the opposition continues with over 80 people arrested without trial. Countless journalists, human rights activists, opposition leaders, university lecturers and scientists have been killed, and girls and women raped daily in the east. Those who do this dirty work are known, but are untouchable by the so-called government or the international organisations meant to bring peace.

A range of reports by the UN, World Bank and NGOs such as Global Witness, RAID etc condemn the looting in DRC and conclude that this is the reason why they can’t help the country organise itself. Ahead lies a total paralysis of government, fewer and fewer government meetings and weakness of the state allowing militias to continue terrorising people in the east. The main imperialist actors are: Belgium, the former colonial power with geo-strategic interests; the UK, now the largest aid donor; the US with growing economic interests; and France which funded the election campaigns. Puppet countries are South Africa, seeking to keep regional political leadership; Angola, which formerly controlled the region’s mining and oil sectors; Rwanda and Uganda, under the pretext of chasing forces responsible for genocide now hiding in the east, plus China, the third largest buyer of Congolese minerals and other resources.

With rising mineral prices, these countries are struggling to impose their influence on the DRC and take its resources. So now there is a corporate battle over who is going to get the big returns between Eskom SA, Phelps Dodge, Adastra, Banro, First Quantum, De Beers, BHP Billiton, Anglogold Ashanti, Kinross-Forrest and Mwana Africa.
Irenee Kayembe

FRFI 197 June / July 2007


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