Regional peace mechanisms should take an even-handed approach in mediating DRC peace

The region has done well by being the first to intervene in matters concerning DRC, as a departure from the previously established norm of western intervention in all African conflicts and disasters. However, for this regional intervention to achieve its objective, emphasis should be placed on analyzing the root causes, as opposed to an approach based on political sentiments influenced by the current Congolese authorities.

Regional stakeholders must not ignore the fact that Congolese leaders are as culpable in the conflict as the more than 100 armed groups. It is because of the Congolese leadership that thousands of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese are still living in refugee camps decades later.

The Congolese army-FARDC has deliberately incorporated the FDLR, a terrorist offshoot of the ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias, knowing quite well that these are the groups that committed the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. The Congo-based FDLR has been internationally designated as a terrorist group.

Despite denials by the Tshisekedi regime, the FDLR has continued to feature on international media making threats to cause insecurity to Rwanda and insisting that they are very much present all over North Kivu and threatening to use arms to force Rwanda to negotiate.

The Congolese government has previously signed quite a number of agreements which they failed to implement; but which they always (and quickly) violate.

If what the region wants is peace and stability that will stand the test of time, they should ask Tshisekedi to collect these past agreements from the shelves, and give them attention.

It will not do to use military force against M23, but rather the reasons for its existence have to be examined, and addressed. Listening only to the Congolese leaders as they pretend to be victims, while basing on their propaganda to take action on M23, would be to suppress the voices of innocent people; Congolese citizens like all others, that suffer persecution.

Mediators must avoid the pitfalls as they try to forge a path to sustainable peace.

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