Yesterday, July 24 marked yet another dramatic and violent day in Goma as Congolese of different generations took to the streets in violent demonstrations against MONUSCO, the UN force there. The violence was in direct response to inciting statements made by the Congolese President of the Senate, Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, in Goma during which he denounced the inefficiency of the UN Mission in the DRC and declared MONUSCO should “pack and go.”
The violence that ensued was so intense to the extent that even the Congolese police and the army who initially arrived to stop the attack on the UN turned around and joined the rioters in vandalizing and looting MONUSCO property. The senate president is quite powerful and influential, what he says is accorded a lot of weight, so the Congolese nationals heed his call.
The fact that Congo is a failed state is not in doubt, the problem is that the International Community, in bid to safeguard their various interests, have continued to pretend as if they believe Congo is a normal country with credible leadership. The International Community has continued to ignore that Congo has failed to eradicate more than 200 armed groups on its territory and have continually denied nationality to a section of their population. In spite of evidence of leadership failure, the International Community still agrees with the Congolese leadership that their problems are externally instigated when they know that the root cause is absence of leadership.
This incident against the United Nations agency, which was instigated by a senior Congolese leader (and definitely shared by many other senior government officials) from the ruling party UDPS should serve as an eye opener for the International Community. The Congolese leadership has been playing the victim card, accusing Rwanda of all their misery. Unfortunately, the International Community has fallen for the pretense and for some strange reason, believed the Congolese leaders’ fake story.
The International Community should open their eyes wide to see that Congo’s problems stem from their acute deficiency in leadership. Their problems are self-inflicted and if anyone wants to help them, they should start with helping them to rebuild their governance from scratch and everything else will fall into place.
Making the Congolese problems externally motivated is naive and a big mistake because this would risk destabilizing the entire region. Fix the leadership factor and all the conflicts and governance issues will disappear.