12 February 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Appoint Neutral Experts On the DRC Panel

Photo: Gado/RNW
A cartoon depicting donors strong reaction to United Nations evidence that Rwanda is supporting Congolese rebels (file photo).


The Government of Rwanda has questioned the impartiality of two members of the newly instituted UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citing their long-standing hostility towards Kigali.

The new GoE is meant to replace the notorious Steve Hege-led GoE, which exhibited the highest levels of political machinations and bad faith when it leaked, report after report, last year, blaming Rwanda for the instability in eastern DRC.

Indeed, true to Hege's earlier predictions in several writings in which he argued that the DRC-based FDLR genocidaires would make gains once the international opinion sours on the current Rwandan government - which he described as an occupational force - the GoE's controversial allegations tarnished the country's image abroad for a problem it has nothing to do with.

Not only did these allegations result in uninformed decisions among Rwanda's development partners, but they also complicated an already intricate situation in eastern DRC by misrepresenting facts on the ground, thus, masking the root causes of the recurrent conflicts in the neighbouring country.

It is fair to state that the unprofessional conduct of the GoE only served to frustrate or, at least, distract genuine regional efforts to find lasting peace by bringing the belligerents to the table and reaching a solution that's political in nature since the underlying causes of war in eastern DRC are inherently political.

Now with a new team constituted to replace the one led by Hege, one would think this was an opportunity to right past wrongs by picking the right people. Unfortunately, it appears some actors are unwavering in their pursuit of a malicious agenda with regard to the Congo quagmire.

Reason why biased individuals, like Marie Plamadiala and Bernard Leloup, find themselves on the panel even as a UN member state has raised legitimate concerns about their credibility, and the implications thereof.

The UN Security Council ought to critically examine Rwanda's concerns with a view to picking experts who will help heal this war-torn and scarred region, rather than those who will help fuel animosity and perpetuate violence in eastern DRC.

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