The authorities of Democratic Republic of Congo have maintained their falsehoods about their conflict with M23 rebels being “an external aggression”, as opposed to a rebellion borne out of irresponsible governance of national affairs. Seeing that sections of the international community are buying the narrative, they have been emboldened to supply even more lies. Worryingly, some international actors are increasingly pushing that Congo should negotiate with Rwanda instead of M23. At the end of the day, this is akin to administering anesthesia to pain for temporary relief instead of finding a permanent remedy for the pain. A sustainable solution is a mirage. This implies that the conflicts will continue to recur, unless Congo tells the truth and addresses the root cause of the conflicts which they know very well, and are part of.
Rwanda can only play a meaningful role as a neighbor and member of the various common regional blocs. The world is making a very terrible mistake when they swallow line, hook, and sinker Congo’s escapist narrative that they are at war with Rwanda instead of compelling them to face their demons. This ignorant view that Rwanda is fighting the Congolese government through M23 is what has perpetuated the problem.
One of the premises peddled by Congolese authorities to sell the narrative of ‘Rwanda supporting M23’ to the international community is that M23 is behaving not like an armed group, but a conventional national army’ ostensibly because they have sophisticated weapons of war.
Sadly, the international community seems to buy this misleading argument, bypassing the knowledge that the M23 did not suddenly appear out of nowhere and started fighting the Congolese army.
The M23 were originally FARDC soldiers until the Congolese government and by extension, the army, started discriminating against Kinyarwanda-speaking members of the army as well as xenophobic attacks against Rwandophone communities in different localities of Congo. Many Kinyarwanda speakers fled to different regional countries and date, they are still living in refugee camps. The other important aspect is that the M23 are fighting for the restoration of dignity and the right to be accepted as Congolese with equal rights just like other Congolese nationals. It is certainly not their fault that they speak Kinyarwanda, the same language used in Rwanda.
Thirdly, the M23 has made it categorically clear that FARDC is their biggest arms supplier because whenever they face FARDC at the battle, they force them to flee, abandoning sophisticated weapons on the battlefield which they collect and add to their arsenal. The M23 spokesperson also revealed that they buy weapons from middlemen who originally purchased them from corrupt FARDC officers. These revelations should be enough to put to rest the ‘mystery’ concerning M23’s show of a conventional character.
While other armed groups have no tangible cause, M23 are fighting for their lives, because they are damned if they do, they are damned if they don’t.