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DRC: RCD-Goma members accused of fomenting new rebellion

Kinshasa, 26 September 2003 (IRIN) - The spokesman of the transitional government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Vital Kamerhe, has accused members of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) former rebel movement - now party to the Congo's two-year power-sharing government - of fomenting a new rebellion.

Speaking to IRIN on Thursday, Kamerhe equated an internal RCD-Goma correspondence leaked to the media to an act of rebellion.

"Members of the RCD who want to maintain the status quo with regard to administration and military control of territories as was the case during the war are, in fact, saying they want to continue the rebellion," Kamerhe said, accusing neighbouring Rwanda, a close ally of RCD-Goma, of seeking to spark fighting in eastern DRC.

Speaking to IRIN in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, the secretary-general in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Valens Munabugisha, said: "It is totally wrong, Rwanda supports the creation of transitional institutions in the DRC. The problems arising now are a clear manifestation of the weaknesses within the power-sharing agreement, which need to be addressed urgently."

He added, "Rwanda should not be dragged into the internal affairs of the DRC."

A number of RCD-Goma government and military officials have refused to travel to Kinshasa, the national capital, where they were expected to take part the Congo's transitional institutions.

On 9 September, the DRC's new military chief of staff, Lt-Gen Liwanga Mata Nyamunyobo, summoned three RCD-Goma officers to appear before the Military High Court (Haute Cour Militaire) for having refused to take part in the inauguration of the newly-unified national army. [see earlier IRIN story, "Three RCD-Goma officers summoned before military court"]

On 17 September, RCD-Goma military officials and members of parliament issued a communique, demanding a general amnesty and security guarantees before reporting to Kinshasa. [see earlier IRIN story, "RCD-Goma officers, MPs demand protection before reporting to Kinshasa"]

Newspapers in Kinshasa published on Thursday the internal RCD-Goma letter, addressed to movement leader Azarias Ruberwa, one of four vice-presidents of the Congo's transitional government. In it, movement members said they were ready to travel to Kinshasa, but expressed "great concern with regard to political and security matters related to the manner in which the process" of national reunification had begun.

The 10 RCD-Goma senators and deputies who signed the letter accused President Joseph Kabila of continuing to support the Interahamwe, Rwandan Hutu militias who fled to Congo after having played a major role in the 1994 genocide of some 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

The signatories also demanded, among other things, that Vice-Presidents Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi and Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma - from the former Kinshasa government and from the unarmed political opposition, respectively - be removed from government, and denounced the "demonising" of kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese by the media.

"The campaign of demonising Congolese Rwandophones in almost all the media,” the RCD-Goma letter stated, “is preparing the Congolese for a new genocide of Rwandophones like those that took place in 1998 in Kinshasa, Kisangani, Kamina, Kalemie and other cities."

However, RCD-Goma spokesman Jean-Pierre Lola Kisanga downplayed the situation.

"These members of the party presented us with this list of requirements in Goma. We have resolved communications problems within the party and we hope to arrive in Kinshasa on Friday with these party members," he told IRIN from Goma, where Ruberwa has been holding discussions with party members since Wednesday.


Theme (s): Conflict, Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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