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Is Tshisekedi willing to divorce the FDLR as demanded by the Nairobi peace framework?

Among the recommendation outcomes from the meeting between the Nairobi process facilitator, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, and Tshisekedi, is the affirmation that foreign armed groups including FDLR must voluntarily surrender, disarm, and be repatriated to their countries of origin. However, everyone knows that the FDLR is practically part and parcel of the Congolese national army, FARDC, with whom they have conducted all sorts of criminal activities in eastern DRC. Reports upon reports have revealed and confirmed this illicit relationship between the Congolese army and the genocidaire outfit designated by the US as a terrorist due to their despicable activities and abuse of human rights.

The affirmation by the EAC facilitator plunges Tshisekedi into a big dilemma since the FDLR have been integrated into the FARDC ranks to the extent that it will be difficult for Tshisekedi to pluck the national army from the genocidaires and hand them over for repatriation. In any case, the FDLR could accuse Tshisekedi of betrayal and blackmail him, a development that would complicate the work of the East African peacekeeping Force.

The worst-case scenario would be that Tshisekedi outrightly refuses to part with FDLR and persist with his malicious call that “Rwanda should negotiate with FDLR” as a move to stay faithful to his long-time partners in crime. This would send the EAC forces’ mission into big confusion since for there to be action against FDLR, they would have to go through the FARDC who are supposed to be cooperative and facilitative in the repatriation endeavor.

Ironically, as the situation stands, the Congo government is the main stumbling block to the twin peace frameworks of Nairobi and Luanda. In addition to working with a genocidaire outfit, the Congolese government continues to demonstrate an unwillingness to comply with the global call for dialogue with the M23, the Congolese rebels fighting for the restoration of the rights to nationalities of the Congolese Kinyarwanda-speaking community.

Tshisekedi ignores the fact that his cooperation with the FDLR and the persecution of the Congolese Rwandophone community is the root cause of the more than a decade conflict. Unless the root causes are addressed, the conflict in the east of Congo will never end.

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