Congo-Kinshasa: Congo After M23 - the Prophet Mukungubila and the Death of Colonel Mamadou

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Less than a week after his death it is difficult to have a clear view on who killed Colonel Ndala. Several different scenarios circulate:

He was in Beni to lead an FARDC operation against ADF-Nalu. The initial hypothesis therefore being that they are responsible for his death.

However, many people believe that his death is the result of jealousy and tensions between different parts of the army.

Despite recent progress in the FARDC's performance, the Congolese army remains the product of a disappointing and slow integration process of a heterogeneous, undisciplined, badly trained amalgam of different militias whose leadership sometimes has different political affinities, competing ambitions or conflicting business interests.

Colonel Mamadou achieved (in a very short time) a degree of popularity within the community previously unheard of. It can of course not be excluded that his rising star thwarted someone else's plans and interests.

Some have suggested that he was killed by FARDC officers with an ex-CNDP profile whose loyalty has never entirely been with the national army of the DRC.

One can of course not exclude a hypothesis of a hit & run action carried out by M23. The rebellion was defeated some months ago, but their leaders didn't see their defeat as if they lost a war.

For them they have simply lost a battle. They have no confidence in the GoDRC's will and capacity to materialize a real reform programme. Colonel Mamadou as the icon of their defeat would be an obvious target of a low profile military strategy.

Some in Goma believe that Colonel Mamadou could have been killed by high-placed politicians who fear that his and the army's rising popularity could become a threat for them.

What now?

What will be the consequences of Colonel Mamadou's death be for the peace momentum created by the military victory?

The improvement in the army's behavior and performance was of course not the work of one man alone. And a Congolese army that can carry out successful operations is an important development, but a successful reform of the security sector is something else entirely.

The challenge will be to consolidate it in North Kivu and to extend it to the rest of the country.

It was great fun travelling in North Kivu in November and December. Of course I knew how fragile it all was, but you could feel the difference.

Change starts in the heads of the people who believe that it is possible. The final phase of the M23 crisis had brought the people and the army closer together. And Colonel Mamadou Ndala represented that.

I am not sure what Mamadou's death will mean for the relationship between community and army. It is qute likely that it will increase the distrust and hostility between different sections of the army.

Congo's ability to implement an efficient DDR programme and thus dismantle the remaining armed groups will decrease if the army loses its newly found efficiency and relative transparency.

The war was won because people were paid and the connection between logistics and military remained tight. Uniforms, arms and ammunition were available where and when they were needed.

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