EDITORIAL: The paradox of an imposed negotiation
1. ALERT: PREPARATIONS FOR NEW ATTACKS BY THE M23/RDF
2. NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND M23 AT KAMPALA
3. CAN WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE M23? …. IT’S FAR FROM CERTAIN!
EDITORIAL: THE PARADOX OF AN IMPOSED NEGOTIATION
The negotiations between the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and the March 23 Movement (M23), an armed group militarily sustained by Rwanda and Uganda, have resumed in Kampala-Uganda. This return to the negotiating table, which had been interrupted since May, is coming certainly from the will of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the United States of America to see the Congolese crisis being resolved by the solution of negotiations, which is certainly less risky than military action by the armed forces of the DR Congo (FADC) which will require help from the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
What can we expect from the M23?
The M23 is henceforth considered a negative force just like other armed groups and many of its leaders are registered on the list for sanctions established by the United Nations and the Government of the United States of America. The same delegation of the M23 is made up of people with Rwandan nationalities who have occupied, or who continue to occupy important posts in the Rwandan political and military spheres. In addition, almost all the delegates of the M23 are former members of rebellions created in the past by the Rwanda. AFDL, the RCD and the CNDP have already been pardoned and integrated into the national armed forces on many occasions.
It is therefore opportune to ask with whom from the M23 one can have discussions.
Despite that, according to the international community, Kinshasa and the M23 have to conclude an agreement for a negotiated peace in North Kivu. But what can we expect from the M23 which only obeys, since it took up arms in May 2012, agendas signed in Kigali and Kampala which remain founded on the balkanisation of the DRC and the plunder of its natural resources?
If the M23 says it is “ready to disarm and return to civilian life” they always lay down “two conditions: the return of the Tutsis Congolese refugees who still live in refugee camps in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda and the neutralisation of the Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (DFLR), followed by their repatriation to their country of origin”. The first prerequisite conceals, without doubt, the aim of creating new settlements in the North and East regions of the country, with tens of thousands of fake Congolese that no one will know how to count or control. As to the second, it would open the door to a new safari of Rwandan troops in North Kivu under the pretext of joint operations with the FARDC, for the purpose of eradicating the DFLR.
Are the measures realistic?
Even if the M23 affirms “not being interested in the integration of its forces into the Congolese army or its political elites into the Congolese government”, questions related to amnesty and their integration into the army and into political and administrative institutions are the reasons for negotiations, such that the Congolese government has even elaborated and submitted to the Ugandan Mediation of Negotiations a list of one hundred members of the M23 (on a total of about 1.700) who should not enjoy amnesty, nor integration into the army. In effect, it is about “people having participated in more than one mutiny or insurrectional movement, alleged perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, including the murder of civilians, rape and sexual violence, people responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers as well as those implicated in the chain of the illicit exploitation of the natural resources of the DRC, people indexed by the nominative sanctions of the international community or for violation of human rights, as well as those tried and convicted by the courts and tribunals of the DRC for criminal activities”.
But according to some observers, the exclusion from amnesty and reintegration into the army is a completely insufficient measure that should be followed by the arrest of these persons so as to hand them over to justice. In addition, according to these same observers, it is not at all certain that, among the other 1600 members left of the M23 who could be pardoned and reintegrated, there are no foreign military infiltrators, repeat deserters, members of previous rebellions, perpetrators of crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations. For this reason, even after rigorous selection, those who could be reintegrated into the national armed forces have to be sent to other provinces of the nation, far from Kivu where they have caused so much suffering to the population. Finally, in Kampala, we should not talk about amnesty nor reintegration into the army, nor social reinstating, but only of disarming and of justice, for the population has suffered so much because of this terrorist group called the M23.
Remove the pretext.
Since the presence of the Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (DFLR) on the Congolese soil is, according to M23, “the cause” of war, it is henceforth evident that a really long-lasting peace in Kivu must be the consequence of an approach involving all the nations of the Great Lakes region. Without this global approach, there would not be a definite solution to the destabilisations of the DRC by the Kivu. The Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete, had already indicated this when he dared to propose that Rwanda and Uganda should seek a solution to the claims of their respective rebel armies, the DFLR and the ADF-Nalu, who have fled to the East of the DR Congo. Since the international community has imposed a political solution on the DR Congo by resuming negotiations with the M23, it will be necessary that, at the same time, this same international community forces Rwanda to negotiate with the DFLR.
In any case, just like for the M23, the Congolese army and MONUSCO’s Intervention Brigade have to also oblige the DFLR to disarm, with the use of force if necessary, in order to bring to justice all those who are sought by it and also to repatriate, with prior identification and on a voluntary basis, all the other members. Among the latter, if some express the desire to remain in the Congo, they have to present an individual request to the competent Congolese authorities, and accept to move away, disarmed, from the frontiers with their country of origin. In this case, the government of the DR Congo will act conforming to the legislation in force relating to immigration. Otherwise we would have done nothing. This is what Rwanda is looking for: not dismantling the DFLR so as to continue having a pretext to invade the Kivu and integrate into the internal affairs of the DR Congo.
1. ALERT: PREPARATIONS FOR NEW ATTACKS BY M23/RDF
On 5th September, according to sources from the North Kivu Civil Society, there was, at Gisenyi (in Rwanda) a meeting between high ranking army officials of Rwanda (RDF) and the M23 (of whom Colonels Makoma and Vianney Kazarama). The objective of this meeting was to plan new attacks against the position of the FARDC. It is already apparent that M23 members are now digging gunmen holes on Mont Hehu (in groupings at Kibumba, in the territory of Nyiragongo, on the border with Rwanda). Still on this hill, there have been reports of a heavy artillery belonging to the M23 preparing to recover from the hands of the FARDC the said position of 3 Antennas, before continuing to Kanyaruchinya. According to these same sources, on 7th September, a meeting of the M23 Commanders took place at Kiwanja, in the Rutshuru territory, to see how to accelerate preparations for assaults on the positions of the FARDC, in Mabenga and Tongo (in the north of the Rutshuru territory), Kibati (in the territory of Nyiragongo) and Goma. .1
On 12th September, the North Kivu Civil Society was alerted to the entry, on the evening of the previous day, of a battalion of the Rwandan army at Matebe (grouping in Jomba) at not less than 15km from Rutshuru-Centre on the Bunagana highway. These RDF elements arrived as reinforcement to M23, in anticipation of forthcoming hostilities against FARDC on the Tongo and Mabenga highways. The same sources report the entry into Kibumba of a battalion and a set of artillery belonging to the RDF on 14th September.2
On 12th September, in a statement issued after closed consultation sessions, the United Nations Security Council underlined that security remains “precarious” in the East of DR Congo, despite the retreat of the M23 rebels and the resuming of negotiations at Kampala between Kinshasa and the M23. MONUSCO’s Intervention Brigade could operate its surveillance drones in early December. For his part, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, underlined during a press conference that after the operation carried out in late August by the Congolese army and MONUSCO, the M23 was pushed back towards the north and they were “no longer a direct threat” for Goma or for the positions of MONUSCO, but that it was necessary to accelerate the political settlement of this issue. He felt that MONUSCO had to begin using surveillance drones, particularly to control the frontiers of the DRC “at the beginning of December”.3
On 13th September, at the conclusion of a summit in Namibia in which President Joseph Kabila of the DR Congo also took part, the Community for the Development of East Africa (SADC) expressed its worries concerning the deployment of Rwandan troops to the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and inspired the hope that Rwanda is not planning any invasion of the DRC, which can complicate an already delicate situation. SADC also “called on the neighbours of the DRC to contribute to the peace, security and stability of the DRC”, according to information received. SADC was also congratulated for “the continuous military pressure put on the M23 rebels and the other negative forces in the East of the DRC in order to ensure an end to the hostilities”.4
On 23rd September, in a declaration during the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the North Kivu Civil Society tried to draw the attention of nations of the world to the fact that peace and security in the Great Lakes region is currently being threatened by RWANDA and UGANDA, who are flagrantly violating the Umbrella-Agreement of Addis-Abeba, of which they are signatories. Contrary to their commitments, these states continue to use Negative Forces (M23, FDLR, and ADF-NALU), terrorists (AL-SHEBAAB) and other local militants to continue looting natural resources and to sabotage the State Authority in the East of the DRC. In this declaration, the North Kivu Civil Society is asking the UN to give the FARDC more chances, and the MONUSCO International Brigade (FIB) to neutralise and eradicate
1 Cf Omar Kavota – North Kivu Civil Society 08.09.’13
2 Cf Omar Kavota – North Kivu Civil Society 13 and 15.09.’13
3 Cf Radio Okapi 12.09.’13
4 Cf AFP – Windhoek, 14.09.’13
by force all armed groups and Negative Forces (M23,FDLR, ADF-NALU, AL-SHEBAAB and other local militants) destabilising the peace and security in North Kivu.5
On 23rd September, several Heads of States and governments of the Great Lakes region, including the Congolese President, Joseph Kabila, and Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President, participated in the second meeting of the regional oversight mechanism (in New York) for the implementation of the Addis Abeba Agreement. At the opening of this meeting, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, called for the appeasement of tensions in the Great Lakes region so that this agreement can be applied. Countries who are signatories to this accord were notably engaged in not supporting active armed groups in this part of Africa, but Rwanda and Uganda keep supporting the M23 rebellion. Furthermore, Ban Ki-moon has called on the international community to help the countries within the Great Lakes to be acquitted from the commitments made in Addis-Abeba. The signatories of the framework agreement have, once again, strongly condemned the M23 for restarting violence in the DRC and the activities of “all the negative forces” operating in the DR Congo. They reaffirmed the respect of the sovereignty and territorial and political independence of all the countries of the region and have, finally, exhorted the Congolese government and the M23 to quickly conclude discussions on how to overcome of the crisis now ongoing for many months in Kampala.6
2. NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE M23 IN KAMPALA
The return to the negotiating table, interrupted since May, certainly results from the will of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the United States of America to see the Congolese crisis being resolved by means of negotiations. There is also pressure from Heads of States and Governments who met on 5th September in Kampala, at the 7th Summit of the ICGLR (International Conference of the Great Lakes Region), who launched a three-day ultimatum on the Congolese authorities and the leaders of the M23 to resume talks about Kampala.7
On 8th September, the political leader of the M23, Bertrand Bisimwa, stated that his movement is “ready to disarm and return to civilian life” as demanded by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). But they are putting forth “two conditions: the neutralisation of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (DFLR) and their repatriation to their country of origin and the return of the Tutsis Congolese refugees who are still living in the camps in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi”. He added that “the M23 is not interested in being integrated within the (Congolese) army or within the Congolese government”.8
François Muamba, member of the government delegation and coordinator of the national mechanism for the monitoring of the Addis-Abeba framework agreement, affirmed that Kinshasa excludes all discussions affecting the constitution of the DRC. He indicated that “the M23 had told us, in the month of December when we were beginning these negotiations, that the principal reason for the war was the non-application of the CNDP-Government Accord of March 23 2009. We already dealt with that! For us, there should be a conclusion, for there is no need to discuss other things”. The government side says it is closing the door to any destabilisation likely to undermine the country’s sovereignty. François Muamba underlined that, “we would offer solutions for the war to stop, but not at just any kind of price”. Since last March, two texts proposing an agreement are on the table of the facilitator, one presented by the delegation of the Government and the other by that of the M23. It is the consensual synthesis expected of these two texts that has to be the subject of a final Agreement to be signed by the two parties.9
On 10th September, negotiations between the government of Kinshasa and the M23 rebels finally resumed in Kampala. The two delegations arrived separately. In total, there were twelve on the side of the M23, and about ten on the side of the government of the DRC. Not enough, according to the rules, to permit the holding of a plenary, and thus the signing of an Agreement. Initially, the exchanges took place by writing, via mediation. According to the Ugandan mediation, it is a consolidated text drawn up last June, that had to serve as the basis for the discussions. A text already rejected by both parties.10
The Vice President of the M23 delegation, Roger Lumbala repeated that, “We are not asking for just any kind of integration. The army of the M23 cannot integrate itself into a poorly organised army. We no longer want a political integration to go to Kinshasa and work in a government that has failed”. Roger Lumbala said that the DFLR has to be dealt with first of all and that the refugees must return to the DRC. According to some observers, when Lumbala says the M23 does not need integration, it is a false pretext, because we know that the objective fixed by the M23 when becoming rebels, is to later on infiltrate the Army and the Government. When he talks about hunting DFLR, one soon realises that he is only repeating the refrain sung repeatedly by Paul Kagame, from whom the M23 receives its orders. Regarding the return of the refugees, Lumbala is forgetting that this issue is the responsibility of Heads of States of the region and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.11
5 Special Correspondences
6 Cf Radio Okapi, 24.09.’13
7 Cf Kimp – The Fanfare – Kinshasa, 11.09.’13
8 Cf Radio Okapi, 08.09.’13
9 Cf Radio Okapi, 09.09.’13
10 Cf Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 10.09.’13
11 Cf L’avenir – Kinshasa, 11.09.’13
On 12th September, the spokesperson for the Congolese army in North Kivu, Olivier Hamuli, said that the creation of the M23 has slowed down the hunt led by the Congolese army against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (DFLR). He was responding to the M23 which is conditioning its disarmament to be based on the neutralisation of Rwandan rebels. The Congolese Officer indicated that between 2010 and 2012, the FARDC have succeeded in repatriating 2500 rebels of the DFLR. Colonel Hamuli followed on and said “In the meantime, the M23 has just spent more than a year in Rutshuru and in Nyiragongo. On no day, have we heard even on the airwaves, that the M23 has had clashes with the DFLR. Not ever”. According to him, the neutralisation of the DFLR is a “pretext” for the M23 who have never manifested the will to fight against the Rwandan rebels. “The DFLR are in Katemba, besides Kiwanja, which they (the M23) are controlling”, argued the speaker of the Congolese army, adding that during the clashes between the Makenga and Bosco Ntaganda factions last February, the former united with the DFLR to fight against the latter. “We have proof”, he asserted.12
On 12th September, the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, reiterated that there has to be neither amnesty nor integration into the Congolese army for the members of the M23 and other armed groups that have committed human rights violations. She indicated that in the course of her recent visit to Kigali, she had expressed to President Paul Kagamé accusations of clashes between Rwanda and the M23, but that the president answered in response that “these accusations had no foundation”. Ms Robinson also asked member countries of the Council to incite the Heads of States of the countries concerned (Rwanda, DRC, Uganda, and Burundi) to meet alongside the General Assembly of the UN at the end of September “to progress in regional cooperation”. A meeting devoted to the DRC is anticipated on 23rd September in New York alongside the General Assembly.13
On 13th September, the spokesperson for the Ugandan Ministry of Defence, Paddy Ankunda, declared that, “until now, the mediator has held separate consultations with the delegations” to “build a consensus”. “Progress has been made, and we hope that next week [the two parties and the mediator] will publish a common communiqué on the progress they have made” he added. On his side, Francois Mwamba, the Congolese Government negotiator, declared that no progress has been registered yet. He explained that the mediation had not yet presented “real working documents that can permit each other to rule” and he equally accused the M23 rebels of not respecting one of the decisions of the Great Lakes Heads of States, who had asked them to stop, “all military activities” on the territory.14
12 Cf Radio Okapi, 12.09.’13
13 Cf Radio Okapi. 12.09.’13
14 Cf AFP – Kampala, 13.09.’13; Radio Okapi, 14.09.’13
The M23 is increasing its demands in Kampala by calling for a buffer zone around the area of Rutshuru that passed under its control about a year ago. According to some observers, this is a means of guarding against possible attack by the DRC armed forces or the United Nations Intervention Brigade. The M23 is increasing its demands to further delay the conclusion of an agreement with Kinshasa. The group is trying to buy time, which it will use to reorganise and prepare a new military offensive in order to regain territory it has recently lost. Thus, to call for a buffer zone around Rutshuru is to call for a no man’s land and to meet the M23’s new demand is to put into practice the balkanisation of the DRC, since it would cede to the group the territory it currently occupies. The buffer zone demanded by the M23 is a trap that will lead inexorably to the balkanisation of the DRC. However, the Congolese people will resist and oppose this until the end, defending the national sovereignty, inviolable borders and territorial integrity of the DR Congo.
On 17th September, the facilitator Crispus Kiyonga, the Ugandan defence minister, convened a plenary session during which he proposed a draft agenda made up of ten points to be discussed. These were: the release of prisoners; the transformation of the M23; the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons; expropriated assets; national reconciliation and justice; an independent commission of inquiry; governance and socio-economic reforms; the implementation of the conclusions of the review of the 23 March 2009 peace agreement; the declaration of a disaster zone; and the implementing, monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It should be noted that some of the M23’s demands, such as the fight against the FDLR, are no longer included among the subjects to be discussed. According to some members of the government delegation, some points on the last agenda have already largely been dealt with. As for the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, since the 23 March 2009 agreement the Congolese government has signed tripartite agreements with the HCR and respectively with Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Republic of Congo. Taking advantage of the tripartite meetings already organised, the situation of Congolese refugees living in those countries and refugees from those countries living in the DRC was clarified. The HCR is working tirelessly with all the countries involved to organise the return, which could have been sped up if the insecurity in North and South Kivu, caused by the presence of negative forces such as the M23, had not prevented resettlement areas being secured and made viable.
On 19th September, the government spokesman, Lambert Mende, announced during a press conference in Kinshasa that, in order to facilitate the talks in Kampala, the Congolese government had drawn up a list of around a hundred M23 commanders and troops, out of a total estimated at approximately one thousand seven hundred soldiers, who are definitively not eligible to benefit from the law on amnesty and reintegration into the DRC armed forces. He justified this decision on the grounds of “avoiding the possible return to square one and the spiral of repeated violence suffered by the Congolese population in the east of the country.”
According to Lambert Mende, the government is sticking to a few ‘clear principles’ in the conclusion of preparations for the talks in Kampala. He said: “those who have participated in more than one mutiny or insurrectional movement; the presumed perpetrators of war crimes or crimes against humanity, especially the murder of civilians, rape and sexual violence; those responsible for recruiting child soldiers; those involved in the illicit exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources; those subject to sanctions by the international community or for human rights violations; and those tried and convicted by DRC courts for criminal activity are not eligible to benefit from the law on amnesty and integration into the armed forces of the Republic.”
The list drawn up by the government also highlights eight (8) cases of nationality fraud by M23 activists with foreign nationality, some of whom even belonged to foreign armed forces, whereas Congolese law to this day establishes the principle of sole and exclusive nationality. It goes without saying that, so long as the Congolese constitution does not permit dual nationality, those holding another nationality cannot be integrated into the FARDC. This is because the main condition for joining the regular Congolese armed forces is being Congolese. Yet, under the law as it currently stands, one cannot be Congolese and simultaneously hold another nationality. The cases of fraud include an ex-general, two ex-colonels, three ex-lieutenant-colonels and majors who had infiltrated the Congolese armed forces to take part in so-called mixed operations. The list also covers those tried and convicted by the courts for criminal activity. These include three colonels, one sentenced to death and the other two to life imprisonment in Kinshasa, and two lieutenant-colonels, one of whom escaped. In addition, the Chief of the General Staff of the FARDC removed a number of officers from the ranks of the national army for acts of indiscipline. Obviously, none of those affected by this decision of the military high command are eligible for reintegration into the FARDC. However, the DRC government is not allowing any witch hunts and will not therefore apply the iniquitous principle of collective responsibility on members of the M23 for crimes committed throughout this negative group’s existence. Beneficiaries of the amnesty and reintegration into the FARDC will be examined on a case-by-case basis, since it is equally important that each person within the group takes responsibility for his actions. “That is the only way to fight impunity and to hope to establish a lasting peace in our country and in the Great Lakes region”, said the DRC government spokesman.
The first name on the list is Bosco Ntaganda, known as Terminator, who has now been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Along with his name, there is a short biography. “Rwandan subject, born in Kinigi in Rwanda, former chief instructor at the Rwandan Patriotic Army’s (RPA) Gabiro centre.” Seven other superior officers of the M23 are identified by Kinshasa as being of Rwandan nationality. The most well-known are Innocent Kaina, known as India Queen; Innocent Zimurinda, who has been a refugee in Rwanda since March 2013; Bizimungu Masozera, who formed part of the Rwandan contingent in Darfur; and Bosco Mberabagabo, known as Castro.
Others are considered by the Congolese government to be former members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) or the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF), the current name of the Rwandan army. Sultani Makenga, now the military leader of the M23, held the rank of sergeant in the RPA. Baudouin Ngaruye was an instructor at the Gabiro centre, like Bosco Ntaganda and his cousin, Patrick Safari, a corporal in the RDF.
On 20th September, the vice-president and spokesman of the North Kivu Civil Society, Omar Kavota, said that his organisation was opposed to the integration of M23 rebels into the DRC armed forces (FARDC), the national police and public institutions. He called on the government to expand its list of M23 members whom it does not want to reintegrate into the FARDC.“We are disappointed by the government’s willingness to integrate M23 members into the army and even political institutions. In doing so, they risk integrating a very large part of the Rwandan army into the FARDC”, said Omar Kavota. For the vice-president of the North Kivu Civil Society, the government’s list is a mere drop in the ocean since “the percentage of Congolese in this rebel movement does not exceed 10%”. Omar Kavota also said that the population of North Kivu was waiting for the M23 to ‘dissolve itself’, as the Congolese government had demanded, or, as the case may be, to be neutralised by the FARDC and the MONUSCO intervention brigade.
Congolese opinion should, a priori, celebrate the drafting by the Congolese authorities of a blacklist of M23 fighters who are not eligible for an amnesty and reintegration into the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). But here’s the thing: does the country have a reliable list of all infiltrators past and present, and in the circumstances, who will liaise between the national army and rebel movements? Does the DRC have the ability to control the movements of foreign soldiers and officers who cross the border, whether to reinforce the ranks of armed groups or to infiltrate their contingents? In principle, we should not call for an amnesty, reintegration or rehabilitation in Kampala, but simply disarmament and justice, since the civilian population has already suffered too much at the hands of the terrorist movement called the M23.
3. CAN WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE M23? …. IT’S FAR FROM CERTAIN!
According to the international community, Kinshasa and the M23 should conclude an agreement for a negotiated peace in North Kivu. But what can we expect from the M23 which, since it took up arms in May 2012, has ignored all but the agenda set in Kigali and Kampala, based on the balkanisation of the DRC and the pillage of its natural resources?
The first prerequisite demanded by the M23 to disarm was, unsurprisingly, the creation of new settlements in the north and east of the country, with tens of thousands of ‘fake’ Congolese that nobody could identify or control. Its second prerequisite was to open the door to a new wave of Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers in North Kivu and the Eastern Province, under the pretext of joint operations with the FARDC to defeat the FDLR and the ADF/NALU. But how many ‘punitive’ expeditions inside Congolese borders do the Rwandan and Ugandan armies need to pick the pockets of the negative foreign forces? Since 1996, they have pretended to search the forests, hills and valleys of the north and east of the country with a fine-toothed comb, but they have not defeated the FDLR, the ADF/NALU or the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army).
It must be remembered that on 16th January 2013, the M23 made a number of proposals that were rejected by the government delegation, who called them ‘a joke’.
1. On the subject of security concerns, the M23 recommended:
-defeating and repatriating members of the FDLR, the ADF-NALU and the FNL within the FARDC and those operating from Congolese territory;
-defeating Congolese armed groups, the majority of which were created by the Congolese government in its conflict management strategy in the east of the DRC;
-creating a community police force;
-formal recognition of the current ranks of M23 soldiers. To that end, a loyalty mechanism for troops in the Congolese Revolutionary Army (ARC) should be implemented as part of the integration process into the national army;
-government ownership of the M23’s assets and liabilities.
2. On the subject of political issues, the M23 recommended:
-cancelling the results of the 28th November 2011 elections after verification;
-dissolving the Senate;
-dissolving the Provincial Assemblies, entailing ipso facto the resignation of the governors and vice-governors;
-implementing the Congolese Transitional National Council (CNTC), whose mission will be to lead the country during the transition period. The CNTC will also:
a) Revise the Constitution; b) Form a transitional government; c) Set up the other institutions of the Republic; d) Restructure the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI); e) Organise general elections, beginning with local elections and finishing with presidential elections.
-implementing a federal system.
In mid-April 2013, the M23 again proposed to the Congolese government a draft agreement consisting of 25 articles. Here are a few extracts:
Article 5: As a result of repeated wars that have led to the destruction of infrastructure and the socio-economic fabric, the government commits to declaring the east of the DRC (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Haut-Uele, Maniema and Tanganyika) as a ‘disaster zone’ which must have special administrative status, a specific programme for security and broad fiscal and financial authority.
Article 7: In order to facilitate the integration of the political frameworks of the M23, the DRC government commits to allowing them to play a role in the management of national institutions through: central government; diplomacy – chancelleries; public companies; provincial governments; the Chief of the General Staff; etc.
Article 9: In order to facilitate national reconciliation, the DRC government commits to promulgating an amnesty law for acts of war and insurrection covering the period from 7th May 2009 to the implementation of this agreement.
Article 12: The M23 commits, over a renewable period of five years, to conduct joint operations with the DRC government to definitively overthrow all negative foreign forces operating from Congolese territory (the LRA, the ADF-NALU, the FNL, the FDLR, etc.). As a result, there will be a link between the armed forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) and those of the M23 (ARC).
Article 13: The DRC government commits to formally recognising the ranks of M23 soldiers and police officers based on an Order of Battle presented by the M23.
Article 16: The DRC government commits to recognising all political and administrative actions carried out in bodies under the administration of the M23.
Article 23: The M23 commits definitively to lay down its arms and to demobilise members of the ARC who do not wish to join the FARDC once the east of the DRC has been secured and cleared of all negative foreign forces and national armed groups, and refugees have been returned, resettled and reintegrated into their places of origin.
According to some observers, by presenting this draft agreement, the M23 is pursuing its plan to balkanise the DR Congo by aiming to retain administrative and military control of the east of the country and to infiltrate, at national level, the army and political institutions of the state.
The M23 and many of its leaders are subject to strong sanctions by the United Nations and the United States government. In effect, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2098/2012, supplementing Resolution 1596/2005, clearly defined lists of bodies and persons affected by United Nations measures. The FDLR, the ADF/NALU and the M23 as well as their main leaders – particularly Bosco Ntaganda, Sultani Makenga, Runiga Lugerero, Eric Badege, Baudouin Ngaruye and Zilurinda of the M23, Mudakumura Sylvestre and Igance Murwanashaka of the FDLR and Jamil Mukulu of the ADF – are all subject to these exceptional measures. For their part, the heads of state of the ICGLR had already named the M23 as a negative force, like the FDLR. The US president also signed an order on 1st March 2013. adding the M23 and the FDLR to the long list of terrorist groups identified by the US State Department. The US list also includes Sultani Makenga and Runiga Rugerero.
We can therefore ask ourselves with whom in the M23 we can negotiate, especially as the authorities in Kigali have infiltrated the delegation of the pseudo-rebel movement with their own ‘faithful apostles’. Those identified as having Rwandan nationality and having performed or continuing to perform duties within the military and political apparatus of Kagame are in fact part of this delegation. François Ruchogoza, who has led the M23 delegation at these talks for a long time, is recognised as a former soldier in the Rwandan army (RDF). The same is true of Jean-Baptiste Gasominari, whose Rwandan nationality has been confirmed. Oscar Balenda, the second rapporteur in the M23 delegation, is the younger brother of the Rwandan senator Balinda, who is still active in his country’s parliament. Bizimungu Masogera, who also appears on the list of M23 delegates, is an active soldier in the RDF and even formed part of the Rwandan contingent in Darfur. It is the same for other M23 delegates at the talks in Kampala. Castro Mberabagobo is a former officer in the Rwandan police force in charge of protecting refugees; Moïse Rusingiza is also a former Rwandan police officer; Isaac Shengeri Madakumba and Fred Shirungu are Rwandan subjects.
All these people have been asked to infiltrate the meetings in Kampala to promote the interests of their country, which is now in dire straits with the international community who openly denounce its involvement in the aggression currently taking place in North Kivu. It must also not be forgotten that almost all of the M23 delegates at the talks in Kampala were members of former rebellions instigated by Rwanda (the AFDL, the RCD and the CNDP) and that they have already received an amnesty and been reintegrated into the army several times.
When the FARDC and MONUSCO launched the final assault on Kibati, the M23 again spoke of an FDLR-FARDC coalition. Only evoking the presence of the FDLR on the battlefield allowed Rwanda to cross the border and attack the DRC. When the MONUSCO Intervention Brigade set up an HQ in Kinyaruchinya, Rwanda accused it in an official statement of cooperating with FDLR murderers. All these statements were nothing but a pretext to enable it to intervene in the DRC. Since the FDLR are ‘the cause’ of the war, how can they be forgotten in the search for solutions? Rwanda will not defeat them by pursuing them in the DRC; their army has already entered Congolese territory several times without worrying them in the slightest.
It is henceforth evident that real lasting peace in Kivu must be brought about through a regional approach in the search for solutions to the recurring crises in the east of the DRC. Without such a global approach, there will not be a definitive solution to the destabilisation in the DRC by Kivu. The Tanzanian president Jakava Kikwete said as much when he dared to suggest that Rwanda and Uganda could seek a solution to the demands of their respective armed rebellions, the FDLR and the ADF-NALU, which have fled to the east of the DR Congo.
Indeed, what good is an agreement between the Congolese government and the M23 if it does not tackle the thorny issue of the FDLR Hutu, active on Congolese territory, who justified, at least officially, all the Rwandan attacks disguised as internal rebellions? Such an agreement would quickly be overtaken by events.
From this point of view, Jakava Kikwete’s approach is a good one. Since the international community imposed a political solution on Joseph Kabila to force him to resume negotiations with the M23, the same international community should also make Rwanda negotiate with the FDLR. Otherwise nothing will have been achieved. At least that is what Rwanda is hoping for: not to defeat the FDLR in order to continue to have a pretext to invade Kivu and to interfere in the internal affairs of the DRC. That is well understood.
 Cf Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 18/09/13
 Cf L’Avenir – Kinshasa, 18/09/13
 Cf Radio Okapi, 19.09.’13; Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 20/09/13
 Cf RFI, 20/09/13
 Cf Radio Okapi, 20/09/13
 Cf Kimp – Le Phare – Kinshasa, 20/09/13
 Cf Kimp – Le Phare – Kinshasa, 09/09/13
 Cf Willy Kilapi – L’Observateur – Kinshasa, 22/04/13 (via mediacongo.net):
 Cf Kisungu Kas – Africa News, 09.09/13; To view the list of M23 delegates in Kampala: Baudouin Amba Wetshi – Congo Indépendant, 11/09/13 : http://www.congoindependant.com/article.php?articleid=8295
 Cf Kandolo M. – Forum des As – Kinshasa, 09/09/13
Newsletter translated by the translators Kelly Wood and Fmonyuy Daniel Adzeyuf within the PerMondo initiative. PerMondo is managed by the translation agency Mondo Agit.