The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Who Will Save the 'Endangered' People of Eastern DRC?

opinion

History teaches us that any deliberate effort of trying to erase any segment of human race has never succeeded.

What has largely succeeded is an attempt to exterminate, dehumanize through suppressive and oppressive means a section of the targeted population and relegating it to second class citizens with no rights at all.

It has happened in many countries including the most powerful as reflected in the stories of the Aboriginals of North America or Australia. In Rwanda, it was attempted for decades and climaxed into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Unfortunately, this cancer of using segregation to deny segments of disadvantaged population a God-given right to citizenship has continued to occur even in modern day politics.

It is happening next door and the world is simply watching.

The bitter truth is a section of Congolese in both South and North Kivu are living like 'endangered species.' Killing them has become a lesser crime compared to killing a Gorilla in the Virungas. Young Girls and women are raped daily. Those who survive the bullet do not survive Cholera. Constant displacement and refugee life has become a part of their daily menu.

If it's not FDLR pointing a gun barrel today, it's the Mai Mai or the Government soldiers or any of the rag-tag rebel outfits operating from this troubled region.

And yet the world has largely ignored this inhumane suffering. Nobody seems interested in raising voice over this bitter reality of suffering, misery and destituteness.

Instead, the chorus rotates around one individual, Bosco Ntaganda. Ironically, Ntaganda is accused of recruiting child soldiers and yet criminals accused of greater heinous crimes remain free and continue to wreck havoc.

As I have mentioned before, Eastern DRC will never be peaceful as long as the security concerns of this segment of population are not addressed.

Unfortunately, instead of addressing these concerns, some actors that are important in driving forward the peace process seem to be the very ones undermining this process by fanning the conflict.

The UN, through MONUSCO, is meant to play a neutral role. Unfortunately no action from their side, be it verbal or physical, that demonstrates this principle of neutrality. Instead they seem to gang up against one group without objectively examining whether their grievances are substantial.

Some human rights groups are worse. Instead of championing the rights of everyone irrespective of race, colour, creed or geographical location, they are part of the conspiracy articulating that is silencing the truth behind the root cause of this conflict.

The international media have also been hoodwinked. Either because of arm-chair journalism or deliberate effort to ignore the truth, they have mainly relied on the rumor mill circulated through the so-called 'experts' or the deliberately 'leaked' documents to draw their stories and conclusions.

Interestingly the title 'expert' seems to be a God-given right for some fellows alone. A chap descends from Paris, New York or London, spends one day in Goma , next day in Kigali and the following day is on BBC or CNN claiming to be an 'expert' of the Great lakes region.

The Kinshasa media which should be piling pressure on its lukewarm Government to explain why the truce signed with CNDP has never been respected, is instead falling back to hate speech that we saw 1998, with some openly calling for the annihilation of Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese.

This, once again begs the questions; If the United Nations, Human rights groups or the Kinshasa government have completely ignored the security threat of Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese, who will raise a red flag to ultimately end continued extermination or ethnic cleaning of these people?

There seems to be a coordinated move to shift blame on Rwanda. But the aim here is to divert attention and strategically put Rwanda on the defensive so that instead of consistently and constantly raising these concerns, it spends more time responding to rumors.

And the conspiracy is growing stronger. For example, I gather there's a report coming out of UN with names of some Rwandan military officers allegedly accused of arming the M-23 rebel group. Much as the credibility of this report has already been questioned, I can only hope that this list will be accompanied by another of fellows arming or trading in minerals with FDLR, the root cause of the problems we see today. Without it, then the conspiracy I mention cannot be questioned.

Truth be told; as long as a section of the population inside the Kivus continue to be killed with no tangible solution to ending it, then eastern DRC can kiss good bye to peace.

And again, if this conspiracy to silence the root cause of the problem continues, who will save the 'endangered' section of Congolese in eastern DRC? The options seem to be only two - defend themselves or perish!

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