After a week fraught with tension that saw demonstrations stretch from Pretoria to Brussels and then to both London and Toronto the Congo is still waiting with baited breath who will be their next President.
It is in this context that the President has finally appointed a new
Special Representative to the African Great Lakes Region which “fulfills” the Spirit of Public Law
109-456 but does not follow the letter of the Law and appoints a Special Envoy to the region. This person Barrie Walkley was recently the Charge D'Affaires at the recently opened Embassy to South Sudan.
It will be a fool's errand to attack the bona fides of Mr. Walkley. However the task that he is being charged with is very critical at this time. Addressing the root problems of the issues plaguing the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a long struggle requiring diplomacy on a scale that has not been seen since the Congress of Berlin created the “Modern” African States that itself can be seen as a root of the problem.
Another issue that will be addressed is the Conflict Minerals Section of
the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act of 2010. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to release its new rules for Corporations to report how they obtained their Minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Removing FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) from the Mining Process is another step that will bring transparency to the Country as well.
Reforming the Country's vast security apparatus and Democratic Institutions are a necessary step forward as well. The Silence of various Governments including the United States shows that they felt that Stability was more important than Democracy during this cycle for their own Economic and Political Interests. We have seen that in recent years what these interests have been they are more economic than anything else.
We hope that Mr. Walkley is successful in his endeavors in Central Africa.
The region itself is a dangerous place with various parties promoting various agendas against Governments and even on the tribal level. Another issue he may have is restoring the position of the United States as an Honest Broker in the region. In the view of some people previous Administrations have been too close with the Governments of both Rwanda and Uganda as they have in turn conducted policy of the United States by proxy. This is going to be a hurdle to jump but it can be and has to be done…
The Author is a analyst at Save the Congo and publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet.