Giorgianne Nienaber (*)
Congolese foreign minister Raymond Tshibanda this week rejected a call by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to establish a regional African military force to quell violence and insecurity in eastern Congo. The latest conflict has displaced 280,000 people since April. Tshibanda's dismissal of a regional peace plan that is African-generated is puzzling, until one considers Tshibanda's reasoning and his alternative.
"We Don't Want Them to Survive As an Ideology"
Besides resisting an African solution to an African problem, Congo is rejecting negotiations with the M23 rebel group who say they want to enforce the tenets of the March 2009 Goma Peace Accord. M23 has consistently defeated the Congolese army and has set up a regional operations center at Rutshuru. By many accounts, other rebels groups as well as dissatisfied FARDC soldiers who are underpaid, underfed, and undersupplied are joining the ranks of the M23.