Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exit stage left: Joseph Kabila

Congolese President Joseph Kabila is slowly moving towards a crisis whose climax could be his removal from power, says a journalist who just fled the east of the country.

Claude Gilbert Kamba says that there is a political crisis in the Congo, caused by Kabila’s decision to sign a peace agreement with Rwanda without the consent of Parliament and other organisations such as the UN, that were involved in this process before.

National army
Under the deal, the Rwanda army was allowed to send troops into Congo and the National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP) group, formerly led by General Laurent Nkunda, declared that it will no longer fight the Congo government and that it will train the national army and the police in the east of the country.

The signing of the deal mid last month saw major spade-work by Rwanda, a process that led to Kigali’s breaking off from its traditional ally Nkunda and backing his rival, Jean Bosco Ntaganda. The initial plan was to sign the agreement in Nairobi where talks were being held under the chairmanship of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Gen Nkunda was later arrested by the Rwanda Government, but Kigali has refused to hand him over to Kinshasa.

Says Kamba: “Nkunda is under arrest because he was not listening to Rwandan advice, especially after he refused to allow Rwandan troops to enter Congo, saying that if they had to come in, they had to be under his command.’’ Kamba adds that Ntaganda is just carrying out Rwanda’s interest, not Congolese, and Kigali will finally hand him over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where he is accused of war crimes. He says that President Kabila is in the centre of a major power struggle with key players being the head of the police, General John Numbi, the head of army, General Didier Ntumba and Leon Kengo wa Dondo, who heads the country’s Senate.

Against each other
Kabila keeps power by playing the three officers against each other, but Kamba said President Kabila is incapable of running Congo as he seemed to be hell-bent on pleasing his European allies, led by EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel. Kamba, who fled a government attempt to arrest him in east Congo where he worked for Nkunda’s Radio Sauti ya Umoja, said a coup d’etat cannot be ruled out in Congo, most likely caused by a clash of the three powerful officers. Another likelihood is the Senate Chief, wa Dondo, taking over after parliament passes a no-confidence vote on Kabila.

The most powerful
Of three, the most powerful is Gen Numbi, the police chief, who is aligned to Rwanda, the main power-broker in Congo. Kamba adds that Rwanda is protecting and serving the interests of the US in the Great Lakes region. On Ugandan troops operating in eastern Congo, he says this is necessary “so that peace dawns in eastern Congo." The LRA, he says, made Congolese citizens hostage in the Garamba area where children have been taken by force to join the rebels as porters and girls made wives and sex slaves.

The main dispute in the east is over the operations of foreign armies, among them former Rwandan soldiers, the FDLR (the Defence Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and which is the main enemy the Tutsi-led CNDP force was trying to fight. He said: ‘‘In east Congo, Rwanda and Congo fight the FDLR, while Uganda fights the LRA, so east Congo gets peace and the entire region gains.” Currently, eastern Congo is run by three main players: The Congo government, rebel groups such as the CNDP and Rwandan forces.


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MJPC Urges the ICC to Refer Congo to the UN (Security Council) on Ntaganda

"There are serious dangers in continuing to allow Congo defy the ICC arrest warrant against Ntaganda; its sends a wrong message and could have disastrous effects in other countries"

Citing the importance for the newly-created International Criminal Court (ICC) to remain an impeccably impartial institution, the MJPC reiterated its call on the ICC to refer the DR Congo to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

The MJPC (Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the Congo) warned that in the Congo as elsewhere, the ICC as a new international instrument to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished could quickly lose its moral value if it does not take concrete steps to start enforcing its own issued arrest warrants.

"Frankly the ICC cannot put off forever bringing the DR Congo before the Security Council for its continuing refusal to execute the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Ntaganda," said Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of the MJPC, an organization that strongly denounces defying ICC arrest warrants in Congo. "There are serious dangers in continuing to allow Congo defy this arrest warrant, its sends a wrong message and could have disastrous effects in other countries," added Sekombo.

Ntaganda is accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including: the massacres of 150 people in the town of Kiwanja in 2008 in his duties as military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), torturing and killing of hundreds of civilians of Lendu and Ngiti ethnicity between August 2002 and March 2003 when he was chief of military operations of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), slaughtering of at least 800 civilians on ethnic grounds at Mongbwalu, including the first priest killed in the Ituri conflict, Abbe Boniface Bwanalonga, killing of a Kenyan UN peacekeeper in January 2004 and kidnapping a Moroccan peacekeeper later that year, and recruiting child soldiers in the eastern region of Ituri. The MJPC is strongly urging the Congolese Government and MONUC to execute the arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Ntaganda.

According to Mr. Sekombo, the failure in the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda to date highlights the lack of seriousness in enforcing arrest warrants issued by the ICC and strongly urges the ICC to refer the case of Ntaganda to the UN Security Council to find solutions in accordance with Article 87, paragraph 7 of the Treaty of Rome.

The MJPC is calling for Congo to be taken to the Security Council, as it claims Kinshasa is in clear violation of the ICC treaty which Congo ratified in 2002. The ICC cannot afford to ignore its statutory responsibility to report this matter" to the Security Council," he said, adding that the Security Council would have the authority to require Congo to take all necessary corrective measures to enforce all ICC arrest warrants immediately.

An online petition has been set up asking concerned citizens around the world to demand the UN Mission in Congo known as MONUC and the Congolese Government to act decisively to enforce the ICC outstanding arrest warrants against Ntaganda. The petition can be signed at

Click here to read a full article on referring Congo to the UN Security Council if it continues to defy the execution of the Arrest Warrant of the ICC Against Ntaganda by Makuba Sekombo

About MJPC
MJPC is a non-profit organization working to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished.

For more information about the MJPC and its activities, visit . or call Makuba Sekembo @ 1 408 806 3644 or e-mail: . The online petition calling on the Congolese Government and MONUC to act decisively in enforcing the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda can be signed at