In a recent article by Judith Verweijen and Christoph Vogel titled “Why Congo’s M23 Crisis Lingers On,” published on The Global Observatory website, the authors claim they want to “shed light on the ongoing crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”
Yet, a more meticulous evaluation of Vogel’s historical record and his persistent partiality towards specific actors involved in the DRC conflict inevitably prompts skepticism regarding the objectivity and reliability of the aforementioned article.
Vogel start by noting the violation of multiple ceasefires brokered by the East African Community (EAC) and African Union led process of Angola in their efforts to address the crisis in the DRC. However, he fails to acknowledge that these violations predominantly stem from the Congolese army and its collaboration with the APCLS and CMC-FDP tribal militias. Additionally, he overlooks the significant role played by the FOCA and RUD-Urunana branches of the FDLR, whose leadership has a troubling history of involvement in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, earning them a notorious reputation akin to that of tropical Nazis.
Vogel concedes that the inability to execute the 2013 Agreement resulted in the resurgence of the Uganda-based faction of the M23 rebels. However, he proceeds to claim that Rwanda perceived a decline in its influence due to the improving relations with Uganda led to its support of the rebels. Yet, if it was the Uganda-based faction that reemerged, it logically implies that Rwanda had minimal, if any, influence over the rebels from the outset. This inconsistency in Vogel’s argument raises doubts about the coherence of his analysis.
Nevertheless, Vogel forges ahead and makes the preposterous conclusion that Rwanda, in response to the alleged reconciliation between Uganda and the DRC, resorted to supporting insurgency as a means to regain leverage. Yet, it is rather perplexing to consider this claim in light of the United Nations Group of Experts’ report, which implicates Uganda as a suspect in assisting M23 and conveniently facilitating the movement of the Congolese rebellion across their border into Bunagana. One cannot help but question the reasonableness of Vogel’s line of reasoning in light of these contradictory facts.
Fact is: Vogel’s latest mission, as outlined in the article, appears to be two-fold: reviving the tired “Blame Rwanda” narrative and undermining the ongoing regional peace talks led by the Eastern African Community and the African Union- Nairobi and Luanda peace accords. In fact, it seems Vogel’s agenda is similar with that of the notorious motor-mouth DRC regime’s information tsar, Patrick Muyaya.
Vogel’s modus operandi is apparent in his deliberate omission of crucial information that does not align with his preconceived narrative. For instance, he conveniently fails to mention the documented evidence by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and UN Group of Experts, which highlights the arming of violent armed groups by the Congolese military (FARDC); This omission undermines Vogel’s claims of providing a comprehensive analysis.
Another striking omission by Vogel is his failure to address the Congolese military’s collaboration with anti-Rwanda genocidal forces- FDLR. Their joint rocket attacks on Rwandan soil resulted in the loss of innocent lives and property damage. Vogel’s silence on these grave incidents demonstrates his selective focus on specific actors while neglecting others responsible for perpetuating violence.
Christoph N. Vogel is a self-proclaimed “expert on the Great Lakes region of Africa”, who has gained notoriety as a member of what some might call an exclusive clique of white individuals who arrogantly impose their so-called “expertise” upon the great lake’s region. Interestingly, one may identify these individuals by their Twitter handles, which often incorporate the word ‘Africa,’ or in Vogel’s case, by their occasional use of Kiswahili phrases.