Having failed to manage their affairs and watching them balloon into full-blown multiple conflicts, the Congolese authorities are too embarrassed (I am sure they have a deficiency of this emotion) of their incompetence to honestly declare that they have failed and politely ask for assistance. Instead, they have chosen the avenue of diversion and victimhood to mask their shame.
By blaming Rwanda and making ridiculous statements at every turn, the North Kivu FARDC command is attempting to cover up their mission failure to neutralize armed groups and pacify the region. When their president declared a ‘state of siege, he naively had faith in the FARDC leadership to execute the mission to arrive at the desired results.
However, those who know the caliber of FARDC were skeptical from the onset and knew it was the same old wine packaged in barely dusted bottles. A female legislator who hails from North Kivu who was on a tour of the region recently lamented to Congo press agencies about the crisis and called out the ineptness and corrupt nature of the FARDC administration, accusing the military brass of enriching themselves at the expense of security in Eastern Congo. She revealed how deployment by the FARDC command to the Eastern Congo conflict zones instead elicits celebrations from army officers, because, she explained, this is akin to hitting the jackpot!
The statement by the FARDC spokesperson left no doubt that FARDC was completely surrendering its responsibilities and passing a subtle invitation to the UN to deal with M23. By accusing Rwanda, albeit ridiculously, FARDC are aimed at elevating their problem to an emergency level which would compel the UN to intervene with firepower. But then, this is already deja vu. This will now solve the security problem, not for Congo itself or the region. The region was in the same spot in 2013, same accusations after M23 had outgunned the FARDC and captured Goma city. The region intervened and convinced M23 to leave Goma to give negotiations a chance. Instead, Congo invited the UN to attack M23 who, for fear of fighting the UN, retreated to Uganda and Rwanda and Congo accepted to hear them out. To date, the outcome of the agreements of the time has not been honored by Congo.
The Rwandophone refugees remain in Rwanda for almost two decades now and Congo has completely ignored their existence. What is worrying is that the international community has failed to compel Congo to solve this problem which is affecting the region which has to bear the burden of looking after refugees who should go back to their homes in Congo. Although Eastern Congo has more armed groups to contend with, the Kinyarwanda-speaking refugees’ factor is what the conflict is mostly about. However, the international community has sadly been swayed to see the conflict through the diversionary narrative advanced by a clique of corrupt Congolese civilian and military officials that demonizes Rwanda. The international is helping Congo officials to bury their heads in the sand.