Rwanda and Uganda are simply being used as scapegoats by the Kinshasa government to cover up for its failure in the governance of that region.
There are 23 militia groups operating in the Kivu provinces. Rwanda and Uganda did not create any of these groups yet Kabila’s government has failed to put a stop to their operations.
There is Mai Mai Yakutumba, Mai Mai Sheka, Mai Mai Simba, Mai Mai Muhamba, Mai Mai Gedeon, Mai Mai Mutomboki, FRPI, Nyatura….many others engaged in minerals trade, smuggling, poaching, fighting one another, collecting taxes and harrassing the population. FARDC is no different and also participates in harrassing the population.
The government sitting in Kinshasa is absent in the Kivus. The population in East DRC survives in spite of the state rather than with the heip of the state. The basic problems in Eastern DRC are grassroots conflicts over land, hostile civil – army relationship, disorganised and corrupt police, weak justice system and pyysical and economic insecurity. Rwanda and Uganda are not the problem here; it is an internal governance problem of Kabila’s government. With reference to Nkunda, from his base in Kitchanga he raised tolls and taxes on sale of timber, coltan, gold and other minerals and he developed the infrastructure, institutions of order and created security.
By Diana Sempebwa Katabarwa