By Honoré Ngbanda Nzambo
Congolese protesters on November 28th, 2012 in front of the Rwandan High Commission in London – UK.
The letter is a reaction to another one the Ugandan president sent to the UN Secretary General and written on 13 January 2013, in relation to the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ngbanda’s document sheds new light to the question of “Banyamulenge” and Rwandophone people in DRC which has been somehow central to the understanding of some of the issues surrounding the almost never ending instability of the region since 1996. Another focus of the content is the balkanization of the country.
Excellency the President,
Since our last meeting on 20 February 1997 at 10 am at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, despite the ties of friendship that bound us, I refrained from any direct or indirect contact with you until today for reasons that you know well. But if I have resolved to speak directly to you through this open letter, it is for two main reasons. Firstly, because I realize that you have just skipped to a decisive phase of the project to balkanize the Democratic Republic of Congo, and your letter of 13 January 2013 to the Secretary General of the UN conveys to him, for this purpose, coded messages that have not escaped me, and for which I have here the obligation to decode. Secondly, if I chose the form of an open letter, it is because I would like to alert and take at the same time the Congolese national as well as the international community opinion as witnesses about your approach and your secret goals that could plunge the entire region of the Great Lakes in a long crisis that nobody can predict the outcome today.
When Marshal Mobutu had agreed in 1985 to back you with the support of the President Arap Moi of Kenya, in your fight for the restoration of peace, security and stability that were desperately needed in Uganda, He did not ask you for anything in return neither for his personal interest nor for the Republic of Zaire as a state. At the contrary, today, your political approach to the Democratic Republic of Congo, badly hides secret shameful aims.
Your arguments and proposals to resolve a crisis that you created yourself in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996 aimed at promoting the specific interests to your country, and those of your allies in Africa and in the world.
Since the beginning of this war that Rwanda and Uganda are conducting against the Congolese people for twelve years ago, you always take as a pretext, the defense of a certain community which changes identity, name and size (number) as the time and circumstances are going by.
You will recall, Mr. President, a month after the outbreak of the war against Zaire, at the end of a working session that I had with you and the Vice-President Paul Kagame on November 4, 1996, you recognized yourselves, following the evidence that I had presented to you, as being the initiators and organizers of this war, and as you were trying to hide yourselves behind it, you called it, from the first day, “ the Revolt of the Banyamulenge.” A month later, just before our meeting, noticing that this lie couldn’t no longer stand in the right way, you then brought out Laurent Désiré Kabila from his farm located in the outskirts of Kampala to parachute him, on October 30, 1996, at the head of “the liberation struggle of the Congo against the Mobutu dictatorship,” and this became the second official version of the attack. You will recall, whereas at the end of the meeting which had lasted three hours and twenty minutes, having recognized before me being the perpetrators of this attack, you and the Vice President Kagame have given me for President Mobutu, his government and the European Union, a document entitled “Proposal of Rwanda and Uganda for Peace. (Suggestions to President Mobutu). “ I remind you that over the 12 “suggestions” that were actually ultimatums of foreigner powers who supported you, you had written this in point 5: “That the government of Zaire restores citizenship to beneficiaries (the Banyamulenge) in accordance with the international law in that matter “(it is my emphasis).
Curiously, in your letter to the Secretary General of the UN, the term “Banyamulenge” has disappeared, and you replaced it with a new term of “Banyarwanda” that you qualified as “ethnic Congolese” for which you are claiming “the right of citizenship.”
Do I need to remind you that in all countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo as in Uganda, all social groups with ethnical characters are listed and identified according to an official nomenclature of the administration of the State?
Which is that country where ethnic entities can change the denomination and size (number) according to the wind blowing? What is ultimately the group for which you are claiming citizenship, is it the “Banyamulenge” or “Banyarwanda”? Is this group listed in the official records of the DRC as we had been left by the Belgian colonization?
I’m not saying that the DRC can not grant citizenship to foreigners or different groups of foreigners who chose to immigrate to the DRC for various humanitarian reasons or otherwise. But this should be done according to the standards set by Congolese law.
Nevertheless in view of international law that you indicate in your letter, the nature of the problem you mention is totally internal to the Democratic Republic of Congo and is under the sole sovereignty of the DRC. This issue does not authorize Uganda and Rwanda to order their armies to invade all the DRC territory towards Kinshasa! The nature of the problem, as I was saying, cannot either allow the armies of Rwanda and Uganda to perpetrate massacres and rapes of Congolese people who are chased in big numbers from their land and to which they give to their populations. It does not more so authorize them to organize the systematic plundering of the DRC wealth to the point where they came to fight each other on the Congolese territory in order to control the traffic of precious materials (gold and diamonds) as it was the case of the outrageous confrontation between your Ugandan troops and those of Paul Kagame, in Kisangani in 2002!
In your letter, you mention as a second concern issues “that should be part of the framework if we want to solve in the long term the problem of the DRC.” And you define the problem in the point 2 as the “negative forces that continue to use the territory of the DRC as a haven to destabilize its neighbors.”
This is what I described above as a coded language. I think in fact this argument is a false pretext that hides rather secret and shameful aims. Indeed, if these forces were actually negative, according to you, the major security concerns to justify the attack on Zaire in 1996 by your armies, then could you explain how you have been unable to eradicate these famous “negative forces” all operating alongside the DRC border with your respective countries, while your armies invaded the DRC for many years went up to Kinshasa which is located at 2000 km from the border with your ” threatened territories”?
Let me remind you, Mr. President, that Ugandan troops commanded by generals very close to you, have trained and supervised the MLC of Jean Pierre Bemba. And for more than two years, your men have controlled all the Congolese territory alongside the border with Uganda. However, they were seen more preoccupied by the traffic of the DRC wealth, rather than for the eradication of the famous “negative forces”! The various reports of UN experts have listed the names of Ugandan officers very close to you, and who give themselves cheerfully to the looting of Congolese resources.
Can I also remind you, Mr. President, that on Monday, December 19, 2005, the International Court of Justice condemned your government because it found that “Uganda had violated the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was responsible for violations of human rights committed in this country during the 1998-2003 war? The Court also ruled that Uganda was responsible for the looting in the DRC because it did not ensure that its soldiers respect the natural resources of this country “(see AFP article and Reuters of December 19, 2005). Therefore, what credit should be given to your “mediation” and your recommendations to the Secretary General of the UN?
The truth, Mr. President, is that the “negative forces” represent for you rather a business and a pretext for carrying out the secret plan of the balkanization of the DRC. Because your approach and that of President Paul Kagame seek to confiscate a part of congolese territory bordering your countries. And for that you use the problematical Tutsi Rwandese immigrants in DRC to gradually accomplish the annexation of the eastern part of the DRC to your states. For this, a class of Tutsi Rwandese immigrants is exploited by Rwanda and Uganda.
Should I remind you, Mr. President, that the movement of Rwandan immigrants in the DRC is a historical and sociological fact which has never been a problem before the 1950s? Should I remind your memory that many Congolese from Rwandese origin have held several positions of responsibility in the DRC before the independence without provoking any tension within the Congolese people? So I invite you to ask yourself the question of where and why the current tension comes from. The Congolese people have received for decades more than a million of Angolan refugees on its territory with more than half of them settled in the Congolese capital city of Kinshasa, and it has never created any tension. Our people live in peace and promiscuity with six other neighbouring countries whose families live on both sides of the border and marry without causing any problem neither of citizenship nor of origin. Have you not noticed, Mr. President, that among the nine countries bordering the DRC, six of them living in close contact with the Congolese people have never experienced any problem and all shared a common denominator; the absence of Tutsi ethnic group among them? But at the contrary, why only three neighbouring countries in the Eastern part of the DRC (Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) which share the Tutsi ethnic groups among them are causing conflicting problems with the Congolese people ? How do you explain that out of the 250 Congolese ethnic groups living in the DRC none of them is fighting each other, but only the so-called ethnic groups “Banyamulenge” or “Banyarwanda” , it depends, that raises against them all the other ethnic groups of the DRC? That’s the real problem we do have to dig, if we want a real peace in our sub-region of Africa.
At last, Mr. President, you know that I know the strong ties that bind you to the M23. You know that I know what are secret alliances in the region of the Great Lakes in favor of M23. Finally, you know that I am aware that you know the true initiators of M23 and their real objectives in the DRC.
You know very well how the M23 was born, and why. You know that the alleged negotiations chaired by Uganda are only odious “mise-en-scene” aimed to assist Rwanda and Uganda to advance in their joint project to obtain the surrender of a rich part of the Congolese territory in favour of the peoples of Rwanda and Uganda.
Your letter to the Secretary General of the UN is only intended to prepare the ground for this milestone one! That is why I am writing this open letter to you to denounce loudly and strongly the sordid manoeuvres. Never, Congolese people will abandon a single square meter of its territory. Speaking about an “ethnic minority” in the DRC is an aberration; because the strength of the Congolese people is precisely the fact that the vast majority of ethnic groups (more than 200) is just of a minority! This is what explains that there is no ethnic conflict in the DRC. At the contrary, there are over a hundred ethnic groups in the DRC, whose numbers are less than those of the “Banyarwanda” (to use your expression) which are nevertheless better represented in the institutions of the DRC, even more than some major ethnic groups.
I am the man you have known and called “brother.” And I remained the same person: sincerely African, deeply patriotic, strongly committed to the values of peace, freedom, justice and dignity! I have welcomed you in Kinshasa in 1986, on behalf of those values. I have not looked at that time to know what your ethnicity was before I could help you. I was only interested in the causes that motivated your combat. I have never asked for anything in return. I’m now asking you to do the same! Let us take care of the well-being of present and future generations of our respective peoples and those of whole Africa. We will not build Africa seeking the domination of one ethnic group over another or of one people over another, using cunning and force. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, my country, is sick today. It is ill with a significant portion of its elite and its political class which you are manipulating at your wish. But it also has a youth who is observing, suffering, crying of course, but who understood why our people are victim and is trying to rise from the ashes of his victims. Do not create today the conditions of future dramas for our children. Do not sow the seeds of violence and humiliation because they will produce tomorrow fruits of rejection and revenge. You are a visionary, then let us look far away and plant, from today, the seeds of peace, justice and harmony for generations to come.
Paris, January 21, 2013
Honoré Ngbanda Nzambo-ko-Atumba
National President of Apareco