One of the most widely held beliefs regarding the current Political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are that certain Western Governments and their proxies seek to Balkanize the country. Some of the newest batch of Wikileaks Cables show how the US Embassy sought to address these concerns.
The background for this concept is not a new idea. In fact several advocacy groups have as part of their agenda for the Congo keeping this idea from even happening in the first place. One of the main proponents of this idea has been the Daily Newspaper Le Potential. According to the Cables the Paper has a box on the Front Page that says “ No to the Balkanization of the DRC.”
The US Embassy sought to address this issue and put it to rest last February by sending staff to meet with the Newspaper. One of the attendees of said meeting was Emmanuel Kabongo. Mr. Kabongo is a key proponent of this theory and is a former journalist with the newspaper. The voices of concern have a large platform to express their concerns through this paper, its TV subsidiary Tele 7 and through promoting Conferences and debates on the issue.
At this meeting several interesting details were released to the Embassy Staff. Freddy Mulumba the editor of the paper released details of a trip that he took to Canada the previous year. He stated that he met an unnamed individual who informed him that “there is a project to detach the eastern DRC from the rest of the country”. He stated that he found supporting evidence in a John Le Carre novel, Opinion Journalism in Foreign Policy Magazine, (the piece titled “The Congo Doesn't Exist” , some writings by Cynthia McKinney and Colette Braeckmann as well.
Another Key Piece of Evidence that will past muster is the opening of Diplomatic Offices in the Kivus. Three Countries have taken this step they are the United States, France and Belgium. The size of the country makes it virtually ungovernable from the Capital of Kinshasa. And the Kivu Provinces are where the Conflict Minerals are Mined as well as the area where new Oil and Natural Gas Deposits have been found.
The Editor also made some serious charges as well. He blamed the War that occurred from 1997 to 2003 on the Rwandans. He also asserted that the USG was supporting the effort by Rwanda to turn the Congo into a Vassal State. He also saw efforts to integrate former rebels into the Standing National Army as an effort by Rwanda as a plot by Rwanda to take over the Congolese Army.
Le Potiental is not the only Newspaper that has been critical of the International Efforts in the Congo. L'Avenir a Pro-Government Daily with close ties to President Kabila has been critical of the UN Mission in the Country. Last February it ran an item that claimed that Disarmament Programs being run by MONUSCO as being a Trojan Horse for the integration of Rwandans into the Civic Society of the DRC. In fact during conversations with Congolese Students US Embassy staffers quite often heard “ Everyone knows that the US was behind Rwanda's Invasion of the DRC.”
The View of the US Embassy was that they knew that there were proponents of Balkanization throughout the DRC they could not determine to what degree this idea has its backers throughout the society as a whole. In the Kivus the idea of US Aid is designed to weaken the Country is very prevalent. The cables end with the idea that the idea of future reports to Washington will explore other options and attitudes regarding what actions that the United States are taking in the Congo will impact the perception of the Congolese People. We have heard that the Conflict Minerals Provisions has reportedly left a negative impact on the Economy of the Congo. It does make one wonder what they are thinking about this news at the State Department.
The Author Comments on US Policy towards Africa and publishes Confused Eagle. Confused Eagle can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com