What do we know about M23 and Congo and where do we get our information from?

Posted on December 2, 2012


What is really…

Mary Kelly, and there within your last submission is the question you need to ask yourself.

You need to question your own convictions. You are convinced and keep repeating that “Uganda and Rwanda feel responsible for them”!

The first part is to question that statement, examine the evidence. Externalising an internal problem is a trick used by politicians the world over to cloud internal events.

So in Uganda when Ugandans march against the government, Kayihura and his people allude to external interference and foreign funding. Ditto when Gaddafi was up against a wall, foreigners were to blame … his own people loved him!

Uganda has been involved in the problems of Sudan including Sudanese Acholi since the 60’s. we are now mired in Somalia too. As for Rwanda, their problems have spilled over into Uganda since the 1950’s. And Congo, we have been there since the Lumumba days!

Congo’s problems are much bigger than M23 which is a symptom of a problem. Congo is a failed state. Its like the dysfunctional neighbour you cannot ignore. the drunkard who comes home late at night and beats up his wife and children who keep running to your house for help, scream the night down, have the police over at 2 am to take statements and demand your attendance in court as a witness! and when their children start introducing yours to premature sex and drugs particularly since they have already been to juvi and the girls have all had teenage pregnancies, you cannot tell me that however much you want to you can ignore them or that they will leave you alone!

Congo is not Uganda or Rwanda’s problem …but the latter two cannot ignore what goes on in Congo because it will always come back to bite them on the arse!. You should be asking what the government of Congo has done about securing its borders and ensuring the security of its people so they do not feel the need to arm and defend themselves.

Why is it that when Libyans arm themselves against the abuse of their leaders we cheered. That in Syria we insist on seeing any state action as genocide and any rebel abuse including atrocities as self defence? That in Sudan the Arab state is so evil, secession was the only solution but not in Congo?

At the end of the day, Africans are going to have to ask themselves what is so sancrosanct about the borders set by colonialists that Africans have to continue dying for them?

Congo is too big and too rich to succeed. there are more players in Congo’s politics including the current single narrative than Uganda or Rwanda. Why is no one talking about the fact that Hutu rebels remain in Congo and are armed. That Banyamulenge have been killed within Congo without their government protecting them. that they are disenfranchised and even referred to as foreigners ie Rwandese.

There are people in Uganda who like to see everything through a Rwandese prism … a grand conspiracy of some sort seeking to control the region and linking Museveni and Kagame. In this theory, Museveni is Rwandese which quite frankly is BS even if he were an ethnic munyarwanda! There is talk of the Basiita 50 year plan, the greater Tutsi conspiracy etc. Some Ugandans get hysterical whenever Rwandese are mentioned but guess what, they are transnational citizens with crossborder allegiances including to Uganda, so we just have to grow up and live with it. they are going nowhere! Lets not mix up our own politics up with that of Congo!

And then there are the western activists now manning the twitter channels tweeting about a conflict they cannot even begin to understand nor want to. One that cannot be neatly packaged into 30 second byte sized information segments on TV between the biggest losers and the latest news on Kim Khardashians derriere, nor within 140 characters! But guess what, they are experts on Congo!

We need to stop being hypocrites. If we support the Southern Sudanese right to self determination (so that oil contracts could be wrested from the Arabs in Khartoum and prevent them from falling into Chinese hands), the East Timorese right to independence from Indonesia (so that Australia could access and control their oil), the Libyans right to throw off a tyrant (so that European companies could regain the right to oil contracts they had lost), wrestle Somalia from Islamists (so British companies could access their oil contracts along the coast), support Khurdist separatists (again so that Americans could access oil contracts in their territory) why would we believe that Congo has got to stay together at all cost. You notice that we are talking about external interests here being the main motivator for action!

Even more important, if we know that virtually every conflict “liberation struggle” supported by the west has had oil and mineral resources and western interests at its core, why isn’t the same question being asked of this conflict. If the M23 are so well armed, who or specifically which western big business is providing the arms? We know western mining companies have provided the arms for Congo’s previous wars in exchange for contracts including the one that led to the Kabila father-son presidencies! And why are western activists so interested? Western activists were so interested in Dharfur one would think there wasn’t another conflict in the same country in South Sudan … but that one was already in pocket i.e the oil contracts had already been signed!

This media campaign is no better than Kony2012. Shallow, uninformative and oversimplifying a complex story down to only what whoever designed it wishes you to know “M23 bad, anything else good …”

But I do have a problem here because everything else in Congo is not good and has never been good! Women continue to be raped, people killed, and the government continues to have little or no control within its own borders while the MONUC soldiers are too busy fornicating with underage girls!

Peace has got to be fought for sometimes and if neither MONUC nor the Congolese government will protect people, people will at some point wake up and protect themselves. M23 is not the only militia in Congo yet we hear nothing at all about the others. Question is why? We hear nothing about the western companies that have signed contracts with Congo or actors in Congo and are mining and extracting their minerals -why? We do not hear about what percentage of the value of minerals extracted in Congo goes back to Congo, how much of the value of the iphone goes back to Congo if it owns 70% of the rare minerals needed in its manufacture! Why are we not boycotting our iphones too? and we hear nothing at all about links between activism and corporate interests wheras the pattern of late seems to be that if there is a corporate interest, there will be activism and western media interest which makes one wonder whether western human rights are knowing or unknowing partners promoting private corporate interests? Ever wondered why in Uganda, when an Irish company steals Uganda’s capital gains and another not so qualified Irish PR company loses a lucrative contract signed by the Office of the Prime minister, suddenly the media is awash with stories of OPM corruption and the donors act like it was the first time they were hearing about corruption in Uganda?

Why do we only hear about M23 but not these other stories? We hear nothing about government atrocities yet they are happening. And we hear nothing about Rwandese Hutu rebels in Congo yet we know they are there and are armd and dangerous.

There is a danger in a single story. If I hear the same story over and over again, I wonder what it is you are not telling me … what you are hiding! Is it that you are dangerously ignorant ie have little knowledge but believe thats all you need to know to make decisions that affect peoples lives greatly or is it that you are willfully witholding the truth!

I have followed many western activists on this issue and have concluded that many of them are dangerously ignorant ,… yet they hold powerful weapons in their hands in the new tools of the internet, social media and a shallow western media to which we all have access but do not question the origin of their ‘expert credentials’!

I do not know if Rwanda or Uganda are involved but if they were, I would ask why not? They are in the region. The security of Congo affects them. ADF, WNLF and LRA have been active in Congo without challenge by the state, while the FDLR remains strong in Congo. The Rwandese community crosses all of their borders and they cannot stay immune in much the same way that Israel cannot be ignored by Americans. And they all have enemies across the border building alliances that can spill over into their own backyard. The elements that Americans used to invade Iraq ie pre -emption are all their yet Iraq was a continent away but Congo is next door!

Much as we love to use whatever stick maybe available to beat up Museveni and Kagame, war with Congo is not in our best interests at all! And if it ever happens, both Museveni and Kagame will be protected in exile somewhere with their families while yours and my village will be overun by idiots with guns!

As for your drunken neighbour and his dysfunctional family, you have a choice to make -either move house or get involved. Either way, you cannot ignore them!

We have to question the sources of our ‘knowledge’. Where do we get our information about M23 and what motivates them? The twittersphere is ablaze with M23 this and M23 that … but its one sided and does not really give one any information. The real question is why. What is being hidden. What do they want us to know and why? What do they not want us to know and why? Why are we presented with this neat cut and dried little story and not the other stories?

Posted in: Uganda