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DRC Congo And M23- Diagnostic Of Crisis And Perspectives

DRC Congo is the home of beautiful Rhumba music, home to the famous TP Mazembe football club which was the first African club to reach the finals of the Clubs World Cup home endowed with natural minerals resources and lastly home to the 2nd largest rainforest in the world.

DRC Congo is faced with a lot of issues which are fueled either internally by actors such as politicians, tribal leaders and rebel groups or outside by foreign interest ranging from neighbouring countries, Multinational companies and foreign countries either interested in having a hold on abundant natural mineral resources that DRC is blessed with or some take advantage of the conflict to ink arms sale with both the government and rebels.

The Black Panther film, which is based in the fictional country Wakanda, depicts a kingdom in Africa that’s endowed with natural resources which make it a constant prick in the eyes of neighbouring and international countries in my years of analysis I have come to conclude that the film tried to depict modern day DRC Congo. At the heart of Wakanda's success is the use of metals to build new life-saving equipment that protect itself from foreign invasion and ensure that its citizens are well taken care of. Ideally, this is what should be happening in DRC Congo, but it’s sad that a country so well endowed with natural resources is today among the poorest states in the world.

Its huge population of close to 100 million people are constantly living in perpetual fear of being robbed of their lives either within their country or outside the borders when they try to flee for safety.

DRC Congo has been by major wars namely the first Congo War that happened between 1996-1997 and the 2nd Civil War that occurred in 1998. The first Congo war was a spillover effect that was caused by wars in neighboring Burundi which went through civil war in 1993 and Rwanda which went through genocide in 1994. The wars created a germinating ground for the constant bickering between Rwanda's strongman President Paul Kagame and the DRC Congo regime.

After successfully leading Rwanda out of genocide, President Kagame has been a man on a mission. To get justice the way he deems fit. This involves spying on former remnants of the Hutu regime that managed to escape after the genocide. This means he is sometimes pursuing these individuals in neighbouring countries' soils, and this has made him ruffle feathers with activists, western powers and of late his nemesis turned foe DRC Congo president Felix Tshisekedi.

Let’s first go down memory lane a bit and look at how M23 emerged. After the Rwandan genocide happened, President Kagame put on a mission to pursue remnants of the former regime which were mainly Hutus. Hutus fearing their lives in Rwanda migrated ‘en masse’ to neighboring countries namely Angola, Burundi, Tanzania, and DRC Congo. In DRC, their population is huge. Rwanda regime always viewed Hutus in Eastern DRC as still a huge threat to their own Tutsi population.

It's also important to note DRC Congo local politicians have also been using the rivalry between Hutus and Tutsis either to get President Kagame's backing or Hutu’s local population in DRC. In 1997, Kabila Senior merged forces with President Kagame and won the 1st Congo War this helped Kabila Senior to oust Mobutu Sese Seko from power, however, this alliance was short-lived as Kabila Senior after the 2nd Congo War decided to remove ethnic Tutsis from his government and took measures to weaken Rwandan military dominance in Eastern DRC. Kabila senior ordered all foreign troops out of DRC Congo and allowed Hutu’s armed groups to regroup themselves at the border once again.

Kabila was assassinated and he was succeeded by his son Laurent Kabila in 2006. During his rule, there were fewer scuffles in Eastern DRC, and he oversaw the signing of the peace accord between the government of DRC Congo and M23 which got its name on March 23, 2009, Peace accord.

M23 re-merged again in April 2012, accusing the DRC Congo government of reneging on a promise to integrate them into the national army and failing to protect the country’s beleaguered Tutsi community. However, in the Kabila regime, there was not much of a nuisance as compared to the new regime of Kabila’s successor Felix Tshisekedi.


M23 Tutsi dominated rebel group re-emerged again in November 2021. This time they have been accused by various UN reports to be responsible for gang raping of women, mass execution of men and forced recruitment of children soldiers who serve as porters and guides. They are found in Mushaki, Rubaya which is believed to be rich in Coltan, Mweso, Sake and Goma where they have disrupted major supply routes therefore cutting essential supplies to residents of these areas of foods. The UN report also has pointed fingers on Rwanda as the one supporting the group both financially and supplies of arms and logistics support.

Even though M23 claim that they’re defending Tutsi’s population in Eastern DRC, various theories have been put forward to explain the sudden activities of M23 in Goma. The theories point out the desire of Rwanda to control mining routes and ensure they continue to profiteer from DRC Congo minerals. It’s surprising that both President Tshisekedi and President Kagame were once thought to be close to a point the latter attended President Tshisekedi’s father’s burial in DRC Congo -President Kagame to attend President Tshisekedi Father's Burial

The Foreign Affairs in one of its publications titled Revenge or DRC attack? claims that things went south when President Felix Tshisekedi decided to visit Uganda and sign an infrastructural agreement with President Yoweri Museveni on May 2021. The aim of the deal was to authorize Uganda to construct 140 mile of road in Northeastern Congo to facilitate cross border trade between the two countries and hence eliminate the need to move goods through Rwanda. The agreement also allows Uganda troops to cross into DRC Congo to neutralize another rebel group called Allied Defense Force -ADF. This deal seems to be then what ruffled Kagame since he felt marginalized and short changed.

Also in April 2022, President Tshisekedi led DRC Congo to join East Africa Community in a move the Foreign Affairs claim that the DRC Congo regime is seeking new partners to collaborate with economically and also to support its desire to get rid of rebel and militias group who have proved to be constant tick sucking menace that has derailed the development of the country despite its huge population and abundant natural mineral resources.

Its then my conclusion that M23 is being driven by both nationalism and commercial interests in its quest to assert dominance in Eastern DRC. Nationalism in the sense that they need to protect the local Tutsi’s population, quell Hutu’s and ensure their complete annihilation on the other hand ensure they have a bargaining hand in minerals being extracted in Eastern DRC by controlling the mining activities and also the supply routes. It's important to note UN reports point fingers at both Rwanda and Uganda being the biggest beneficiaries of the smuggling of minerals out of DRC Congo. Both countries have profited handsomely from the illegal mining of Gold, Tin, Coltan, Diamond, and Tungsten that are found abundantly across the border in Eastern DRC Congo.

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