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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Congo (Kinshasa): Statements on Crisis

Congo (Kinshasa): Statements on Crisis
Date distributed (ymd): 980903
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains several statements on the escalating crisis in Congo (Kinshasa), from the Inter African Network for Human Rights and Development (Afronet), the National Council of Non-governmental Organizations for Development (CNONGD), the Midwest Federation (USA) of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), and the Archbishop of Kinshasa. The next posting contains a Who's Who of the rebel forces from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network, and suggested links for additional current information.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AFRONET PRESS STATEMENT ON THE CONGO CRISIS

20 Aug 1998

For more information contact Afronet Information Unit
E-mail: afronet@zamnet.zm
Websites: http://www.zamnet.zm/zamnet/afronet/afrohome.htm;
http://www.oneworld.org/afronet/afrohome.htm

AFRONET PRESS STATEMENT ON THE CONGO CRISIS:
SADC MILITARY ASSISTANCE

The Inter African Network for Human Rights and Development (Afronet) together with its partners has followed developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo with great concern. We supported Kabila in his fight against the Mobuto dictatorship, but have refused to support him in establishing his own dictatorship.

Our major concerns are as follows:

  1. The decision to send military assistance to Congo, will escalate fighting. Essentially, the decision is not only myopic, but also irresponsible, as it will lead to further demise of lives and blood letting.
  2. The decision has the potential to split SADC. To the best of our knowledge, SADC still has to develop concrete programmes in the Congo. The fighting in Angola, which has a legitimate government, has gone on for decades and SADC has watched with deafening silence. In the absence of criteria for intervention, SADC will find it difficult to evade accusations of double standards.
  3. Mr. Kabila's regime lacks legitimacy. Given this serious dilemma, there is simply no basis apart from personal considerations, upon which SADC as a region could engage into a battle, which seeks to maintain a Rebel, turned President. The thrust of support to the former Zaire, must be diplomatic, towards restoring peace and for the broader benefit of all those who occupy the country.
  4. SADC must exhaust all peaceful means, including consideration that Kabila could be a stumbling block, in the context of sour grapes with his former allies. Mr. Kabila's refusal to present a transitional programme, remains a major concern. Equally of concern, is the Rebel's onslaught, which smacks of a selfish agenda and with no concrete and acceptable alternative. SADC must bring the two illegitimate factions together in order to find a lasting solution. By taking sides, SADC automatically loses its neutrality and the credibility required of a mediator.
  5. While SADC has a relatively better opportunity of evolving functional democracies, the decision to go to war, in support of popular despotism, marks a beginning for real stagnation and a potential blood bath for the sub-region. It also effectively turns attention away from domestic problems.

We appeal to the international community, which in the first instance recognised Kabila, to come to the aid of the people of the former Zaire, who have been turned into pawns in a vicious political campaign.

Issued by: AFRONET Information Unit

Authorised by: Ngande Mwanajiti, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Dated: August 20, 1998

Lusaka, Zambia


NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT (CNONGD)

DECLARATION:

[English translation posted in the bulletin on great lakes - central, no. 16, no. 16 - august 25, 1998, produced by Maureen Healy - P.O.Box 29185 - Washington,D.C. 20017 - 301/927-5084; healym@sprynet.com].

August 14, 1998

The war that broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 1998 is an act of aggression against our country by Rwanda and Uganda and consequently constitutes a violation of Congo territorial integrity.

The colonial heritage of territorial intangibility is one of the basic principles ratified by the Charter of the Organization of African Unity.

Since 1994 our country is living the consequences of the Rwanda crisis and the war of liberation, with the tragic humanitarian situation of refugees and displaced Congo populations.

This invasion risks plunging our country into a war with nefast repercussions capable of destabilizing all of Central Africa.

  • Taking into account the bitter price paid by the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of the crises taking place in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Sudan and Angola;
  • Taking equally into account the urgency of peace and good government in order to lead the people of the Congo and other countries of Central Africa out of poverty, the underlying cause of all the troubles this part of the world has known for over ten years;
  • Prompted by commitment to building lasting peace and harmony among the peoples of Central Africa;

The National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations for Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo declares the following to national and international opinion:

  • CNONGD denounces and condemns the territorial aggression by the armies of Rwanda and Uganda.
  • CNONGD asks the international community to demand the unconditional withdrawal of troops of Rwanda and Uganda from Congo territory, and to condemn their military operations in DR Congo.
  • CNONGD calls on the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization of African Unity to take every possible means to stop this war that has been forced on our country.
  • CNONGD asks the United Sates to pressure the governments of Rwanda and Uganda to cease all military activity in DR Congo.
  • CNONGD asks the United States not to supply arms to rebels nor to incite rebellions.
  • CNONGD calls on Congo public authorities and so-called leaders of the rebellion in the Kivu provinces not to plunge the country into a war that risks total destruction of our people, our country and the countries of Central Africa.
  • CNONGD calls the attention of national opinion to the exigency of finding a peaceful solution to settle internal political differences, the only means of building true democracy.
  • CNONGD is in solidarity with the President of the Republic, the Government and the Congo Armed Forces in efforts to preserve territorial integrity and restore Peace throughout the country.

May God save our country and help us to rebuild peace and national unity.

Kinshasa, August 14, 1998

(signed)

Baudouin Kamuli Kabarhuza
Executive Secretary

Nestor Bazeye Mbela
President


UNION FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS (UDPS)
MIDWEST
FEDERATION (USA)

P.O. BOX 193, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA
Telephone: 815-758-2640;
E-Mail: ngoyizacharie@juno.com (Ngoyi K.Z. Bukonda)

PRESS RELEASE

SOUTH AFRICA MINI-SUMMIT ON THE CONFLICT IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Sunday, August 23, 1998

The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) supports regional efforts to bring about an immediate ceasefire, to resolve the conflict peacefully, and to set up a framework for a lasting peace in Congo according to the resolutions of the National Sovereign Conference.

Considering the blood shed both under Mobutu's and under Kabila's regime by many Congolese and by many of our UDPS comrades who have given up their life as a supreme sacrifice for the revival of our country and for the implementation of the resolutions of the National Sovereign Conference, the Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) sincerely appreciates the initiative taken by President Mandela of South Africa to convene a mini-summit in South Africa on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also salutes the willingness of the main players in this conflict to positively respond to this wise initiative.

The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) reiterates its call on the Congolese government and rebel leadership to take all possible actions to immediately stop warefare.

The UN report on the killing of scores of Rwandan Hutu refugees, including women and children, during the bush war that lead to to the ouster of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the self-appopintment of Kabila as new president of Congo is still fresh in our memory for us to tolerate or encourage any initiative aimed at resorting to violence and warfare to gain or maintain political power.

Mr Kabila came from the bush and fought a war with a basket full of promises to restore democracy, human rights and conduct free and fair elections. He was to set up a valid constituent assembly and institute far reaching and radical constitutional, electoral, political and public policy reforms in which all stakeholders (Congolese) were to participate. The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) finds that Mr Kabila has failed to present a valid and acceptable transitional program and has disappointed a very large spectrum of the Congolese people including many of his former allies.

The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) has also been disappointed to see other Congolese nationals relying on foreign military assistance in their attempt to ouster the new dictator. It has been equally disappointed to see Mr Kabila seeking and securing military assistance from other African countries to maintain what is widely known as an undemocratic government. In addition to countless sacrifices being imposed on the Congolese people, any such reliance on foreign military assistance by Mr Kabila and by the new rebels is very likely to jeopardize and delay the establishment of democratically elected institutions in our country. Current foreign involvement in the civil war has only the potential to exacerbate the conflict. The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) is concerned that, if this involvement is not properly managed, the crisis will spin out of control and produce a long term cycle of political fragmentation, widespread bloodshed and further regional destabilisation.

The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) further expresses its disatisfaction with the international community which has largely failed its moral duty when it accepted the idea of overlooking the resolutions of the National Sovereign Conference, when it recognized Kabila as President of Congo despite him using military means of seizing power, and when it largely kept silent as, during the last 15 months, the Kabila government commited numerous human right abuses against the same Congolese people they supposedly had come to rescue from Mobutu dictatorship. The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) is saddened to see even those African governments that came to power through a democratic process supporting an undemocratic regime. It is a travesty of justice to see a democratic country supporting an undemocratic regime.

In consideration of all the aforementioned factors, the Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) wants to salute President Mandela's initiative to convene a mini-summit in Pretoria on the war situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Midwest Federation urges those meeting in Pretoria to show a high degree of patriotism in dealing with this issue. We particularly urge them to keep in mind that, to be a valid and positive contribution to solving the current political crisis in Congo, any agreement coming out of this mini-summit should refer to and take into consideration the major provisions of the political framework that was developed by the National Sovereign Conference (NSC).

Under that framework, a two-year broadly based transitional government has to be formed and has to be entrusted with the responsibility of organizing free and fair elections. A broadly based valid constituent assembly has to be created to write the constitution and to serve as a counter-balance to the executive power of the transitional government. The Congolese people expect far reaching and radical constitutional, electoral, political and public policy reforms in which all stakeholders (Congolese) will participate. As the major political party in Congo, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) should be validly involved in every aspect of governance of our country. Any thing less than these widely accepted provisions of the National Sovereign Conference will not create a lasting peace which we long for to ensure a real reconstruction of our country. Any outcome that is less than these widely accepted provisions of the National Sovereign Conference shall not be accepted and and shall not get implemented.

The Midwest Federation of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) urges those meeting in Pretoria to not disappoint the Congolese people with band aid solutions which will not meaningfully solve the fundamnetal issues facing our nationr at this particular juncture of its history.

The Midwest Federation of UDPS supports regional efforts to bring about an immediate ceasefire, to resolve the conflict peacefully, and to set up a framework for a lasting peace in Congo according to the resolutions of the National Sovereign Conference for which the blood of our people and of our many comrades has been shed as a supreme sacrifice for the revival of our country.

Released in DeKalb, USA on August 23, 1998

The President of the Midwest Federation of UDPS
Professor Ngoyi K. Zacharie Bukonda
Northern Illinois University
De Kalb, IL, USA


ARCHDIOCESE OF KINSHASA

Message from the Cardinal-Archbishop

September 1, 1998

[source: www.africanews.org; excerpts translated from the French by APIC]

Kinshasa

"Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15: 12).

My dear people, from a religious house in Kinshasa where I am in rest imposed by the doctors who have looked after me at Saint Joseph hospital, I feel obliged to address this pastoral letter to you which is a S.O.S.

On Sunday August 9, Day of the Assumption, I addressed a pastoral letter to you in which I asked all of you to defend at all costs our country the Democratic Republic of Congo and its integrity. I protested vigorously against the unjust aggression of which we were objects.

Same Sunday August 9, I opened a novena of prayers for all the parishes of our archdiocese of Kinshasa. I also drew your attention to the great command of love and the respect for the human life. Human life is sacred and nobody has the right to remove it.

Now the situation of the country is becoming increasingly confused with contradictory and alarming news in certain parts of the country. What should one think or believe? Which attitude to adopt towards such andr such person? Towards such and such group?

We must continue to defend at all cost our country, its integrity and its people. To defend the fatherland is a sacred duty which we cannot escape. It is therefore necessary that the military and civil autorites continue to take the necessary measures to bring peace to the country and safeguard its territorial integrity.

While defending the integrity of our country and doing everything to keep the enemy out, we cannot let ourselves be dominated by the feelings of hatred and revenge against the Rwandan and Ugandan people in general and in particular against those who have lived in our country for many years. Christ orders us to love even our enemies. You are believers. The Congolese people are a peaceful, affable and reconciling people. These great qualities which have always characterized us must remain our asset at all times. Certain people, of which some present themselves as "prophets" or messengers of God, are inciting the people to hate and persecution of Rwandans, Ugandas and others citizens of non-African countries.

There are innocent Rwandans and Ugandans who are being pursued, arrested, wounded and even killed. How can peace return to our country if we continue to carry out acts of such atrocity on innocent people?

My dear people, I ask you to redouble prayers and that the civil and military autorities seek above all a solution of negotiation with the attackers to avoid more bloodshed. I offer my suffering to the Lord so that peace returns quickly in our country and that this enormous suffering which endures our population of Kinshasa and the interior of the country may cease.

Written in Kinshasa, August 26, 1998.

Cardinal Frederic Etsou Nzabi Bamungwabi
Archbishop of Kinshasa


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups individuals.


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