DRC crisis: How Rwanda was made a scapegoat over greed

By Musangwa Arthur
On 24 December 2022 at 11:11

Kinshasa is ending this year with enchantment following statements in favor of its desires where different countries including the United States (US), Germany, France and Belgium officially condemned Rwanda, demanding the country to stop backing M23 rebel group that has for several months defeated Congolese Army (FARDC) and captured different areas.

Rwanda repeatedly denied the allegations but let us not allow this issue to sidetrack us from the main concern. I want us to draw attention on the combination of recent circumstances that saw the United Nations (UN) lifting arms purchase ban on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the extension of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)’s mandate for an additional year.

Congo is undoubtedly a rich country. That is apparent. However, the richness does not serve the right purpose over chaotic scenes that left the country’s leadership failing to direct attention on the country’s development but caught in blame games and blindly relying on masqueraded bears thirsty to achieve their self-interests.

The country is rich in minerals including Colbat used in the manufacturing of electric cars recommended in this era to curb carbon emissions. Congo is the sixth largest diamond producer globally, and first boasting vast deposits of gold among others.

After obtaining Independence in 1960, the country never had organized security organs to foster its development. As a matter of fact, the country is populated by over 90 million but 90 million of them live in poverty.

Laurent Désiré Kabila who once led the country said that the international community does not want Congo to have a visionary and strong leadership as it would not be beneficial to them. The situation is still the same! However, Congolese themselves seem to be blind that they continue to rely on them and fail to notice the selfishness!

Nowadays, Rwanda has become a favorite chorus among Congolese citizens and politicians yelling that the neighboring country steals its minerals until it created and backed armed groups hostile to the Congo to achieve development goals.

Every time Congolese see the magnificence of Kigali City and other parts of the country, they feel a heavy blow thinking that Rwanda would not have achieved the development without Congo.

All Congolese mining sites are registered. Sites that are not under control of foreigners are managed by armed groups and some of them have leaders working with Kinshasa’s top officials as the Speaker of Congolese Parliament revealed recently.

Of these mines, none is managed by Rwanda. They are controlled by foreigners extracting minerals where some of them are clandestinely run and only known by top officials in Kinshasa.

DR Congo did neither point out any mining site exploited by Rwanda nor indicate a company claiming that its minerals were stolen by Rwanda but keeps yelling.

As of today, M23 is located in an area that has no mining sites and there are no evidences proving that minerals are being extracted and shipped to Kigali.

DRC Chamber of Mines says that Chinese firms control about 70 percent of the DRC’s mining sector while the remaining percentage is shared by companies from Europe and USA.

Congo is a country mired by corruption at all leadership levels that the annual revenues from minerals are not known.

The General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) in DR Congo recently reported severe irregularities in the operations of the state-owned mining giant Gécamines, including instances of embezzlement that have deprived the state budget of hundreds of million dollars.

It indicated that US$400 million out of more than US$600 million taxes collected from minerals’ dealings between 2010 and 2020 was misallocated.

The money was to be transferred to the DRC Central Bank but never arrived there.

Throughout the ten years, it was reported that Gecamines earned US$2 billion profit but most of the money, around $1.5 billion, was used to pay management bonuses.

Overall, foreign companies extracting minerals in DRC generated US$35 billion profit in ten years since 2010 but only US$564 million was transferred to Gecamines.

Corruption, insecurity, bad governance and chaotic scenes among others in DRC provide loopholes for foreigners to easily loot the country’s natural resources to the extent that taxes are also evaded.

However, foreigners continue to fog Congolese faces making them believe that Rwanda is the cause of Congo’s problems day to day.

Always be watchful to a foreigner looking for money! You remember what happened when M23 resumed fighting. The UN said that it neither had evidences that the rebel group is backed by Rwanda nor confirmed Rwandan troops presence in the neighbouring country. At the time, DRC government condemned the UN and mobilized demonstrations against MONUSCO.

Despite the presence of MONUSCO in DRC for 22 years, having spent over US$22 billion, the issue of insecurity worsened. Apparently, Congo did not want MONUSCO to stay in the country but the UN was against the decision. There was a sacrifice and fraudulent deals to ensure a win-win deal that saw the mandate of MONUSCO extended for an additional year.

This saw the UN starting to produce reports accusing Rwanda of supporting M23. We saw countries like US, France and German among others condemning Rwanda and asking the country to stop its support to M23.

It is an agreement not willingness. Congo would not approve the extension of MONUSCO’s mandate, had the countries’ failed to put internal problems of DRC to Rwanda’s shoulders.

During the recent US-Africa Leaders Summit held in December 2022, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi held talks with Joe Biden of the Unites States where mining was among topics of discussions.

The fact that the US and European countries ceaselessly release statements accusing Rwanda shows how they are defending their interests and trying to side with DRC to allow them control Gold and Colbat mining sites among others.

It is also worth noting that these countries are fully aware that China which is in a trade competition with Europe, has the largest share of mining sector in DRC.

They will do everything required, whatever the sacrifice behind to enrich themselves through selfishness!

As Burundian President, Evariste Ndayishimiye, once said, Congo is like children who failed to share a bottle of Fanta (soft drink) and seek assistance from a neighbor to assist them yet he/she is hungry. Your fighting will be an opportunity to consume the soft drink freely and quench the thirst.

The international community continues to make Rwanda a scapegoat to extract minerals in DRC among other self-interests.