From reliable sources close to the Kinshasa Government, M23 has learnt that Kinshasa has refused to sign a cease-fire with the Movement of 23 March M23 and is ready to continue its offensive to counteract the Movement.
Recall that in November 2012, men of the M23 had routed hundreds of thousands of armed government elements (FARDC, FDLR, Mai Mai, etc.) who were supported by tens of thousands of MONUSCO peacekeepers. Remember that the M23 briefly captured the city of Goma, before withdrawing in exchange for negotiations in Kampala with the Government of DRC.
Since then, the promised negotiations stalled and Kinshasa refused to sign a cease-fire so M23 opted to declare a unilateral ceasefire on Tuesday, February 8, 2013. This move was seen by some as a sign of weakness, while others saw it as a commitment to the peace process in Kampala.
Today, Kinshasa continues to refuse to sign a cease-fire, even as the Secretary General of the United Nations briefly visited the DRC and asked the Congolese Government to return to the negotiating table and address the root causes of the crisis, and find solutions by addressing issues such as the fight against corruption, promotion of good governance, respect for human rights, equal justice for all, the protection of women against sexual violations, access to health care for all, access to water and electricity, education, employment and the creation of new opportunities.
“We do not believe that we should see this as a concession on the part of people who tend to not do what they say … We want to know why they made this announcement. We will not sign any cease-fire, they are desperate and weak and it is high time they disappear, “said the DRC government spokesman, Mr. Lambert Mende, with reference to M23 in one of his press conferences.
Members of the M23 urged for a full year for the implementation of the agreement of 23 March 2009, which was supposed to have seen their integration into the national army and the return of thousands of Congolese refugees still living in camps in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. That, unfortunately, Kinshasa would not hear of.
M23 reiterates its commitment to the peace process in Kampala. It also reiterates its call for the cessation of hostilities (which government army and their allies unilaterally started) and for the DRC Government to accept to sign a cease-fire, because there is no shame in being reasonable even when the realization comes late.
In Congo we say: KUFA SONI Komona MPASI, literally meaning: shame stops one doing better things.
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Tanslated by KN and Diana Katabarwa