Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, aka Tshi Tshi Beton, persistently upholds his bellicose and xenophobic stance by refusing to admit that his coalition forces are fighting an internal rebellion known as M23. This Congolese political and military movement was, even recognized by his own late father, Étienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, often referred to as “the Sphinx.” Back in December 2012, the late Tshisekedi advocated for negotiations between Kabila and the M23, acknowledging the crisis as an internal Congolese issue.
Let’s start with the fact: The M23 is a Congolese rebel group advocating for the repatriation of Congolese refugees and striving to bring about peace in the eastern provinces of the DRC, a region plagued by the presence of 266 armed groups, many of which align with the FARDC. According to the body of literature on armed conflicts, the M23’s grievances and the methods used to express them can be justified. Academic discourse acknowledges that an uprising can be deemed justifiable if it aims to rectify injustices, reclaim violated rights, counter oppression, exercise self-defense, or repel aggression. Nevertheless, Tshisekedi persists in disseminating propaganda that holds the M23 culpable for the very grievances against which they’ve taken up arms.
It’s essential to recognize that the M23 fighters are Congolese citizens, mostly comprising young Rwandaphone Congolese refugees who were expelled from their homeland, leaving them effectively stateless. Nevertheless, Tshisekedi perpetuates the narrative that they are Rwandans, fostering an environment of anti-Rwandan and anti-Tutsi sentiments cultivated in the DRC since the influx of Hutu Power Tropical Nazis after committing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Furthermore, there’s a historical reality of persecution against Congolese Rwandaphones and of denying them Congolese citizenship which led to the initial uprising of the M23.
Furthermore, Regional leaders have consistently asserted that the M23 isn’t a terrorist outfit but a Congolese rebellion. This was reiterated in the Luanda roadmap, stipulating that the issue between the Tshisekedi regime and the political-military opposition of the M23 should be handled as an internal Congolese matter, to be resolved through renewed negotiations in Nairobi. In other words, opting for a peaceful path, which has always been desired by the rebel movement and Tshisekedi’s own father.
In summary, unlike his father Etienne Tshisekedi, Tshi Tshi Beton refuses to acknowledge the ongoing national crisis pitting his coalition forces of mercenaries, genocidaires FDLR, and Mai Mai militias against the M23, neglecting the desire of regional heads of state to address it through political resolution. Instead, he persists in a bellicose strategy alongside FDLR genocidaire, stoking hatred against Tutsis and Congolese Rwandaphones by peddling the baseless notion that the M23 movement isn’t a Congolese rebellion but a foreign militia from Rwanda.