Recently the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and National Congress for People’ s Defence (CNDP) rebel group, agreed on a peace deal to end the long time hostilities against each other.
The agreement was reached in the presence of General James Kabarebe, Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Forces (CDS).
Though CNDP is allegedly experiencing some problems within its ranks, Laurent Nkunda the long time leader of the group, assured journalists that any peace initiative would be welcomed.
“That is why we picked arms—to protect and fight for the freedom of our people. I will fight for peace until I am no more,” said Laurent Nkunda recently.
What is evident is that all groups yearn for peace, because they have had enough chaos. That is why the rebel leaders were quick to call for the removal of all road blocks, in the country, to allow free movement of goods and people.
It is not easy to move in eastern DRC—‘fragmented’ among different militias just as it is in Somalia.
The immediate demand by rebel soldiers to also join the ranks of the national army shows how the need to end the war has been long over due. When man and woman come to their senses and decide to end the unnecessary suffering of others, then it is enough to say that wisdom has triumphed.
The suffering of the people in DRC has indeed been unnecessarily caused by lack of vision and concern from the leaders.
Now that they have decided to be guided by wisdom, they deserve courage. This is why the rest of the world, and more precisely, the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) which is on the ground, should facilitate the peace deal.
Nevertheless, as CNDP and the DRC ceasefire, other rebel groups including the most notorious one, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), are not happy with the new developments—one size doesn’t fit all.
A rebel group like FDLR does not want the peace deal to succeed because of a number of reasons:
One, under the agreement, FDLR will face a tough time as the Rwanda and DRC, backed by CDNP soldiers, will carry out a decisive operation against FDLR.
The operation is a big threat to the continued existence of the Interahamwe in DRC.
It should be remembered that FDLR has been enjoying a safe haven in that country since late 1994s. They therefore cannot imagine leaving DRC at this period of time, when they thought they had strengthened their positions enough, to cause trouble in the region, particularly in Rwanda.
Secondly, the fact that the ‘hybrid force’, composed of forces that have fought FDLR or knows all its possible hideouts and tricks, is enough to make the Interahamwe panic.
The DRC army of course, knows where the FDLR are hiding, CNDP has fought them on a number of occasions, and therefore is a threat in terms of tactics, while the Rwandan army (RDF), knows FDLR in and out, hence equally poses strategic and tactical challenge to FDLR.
This is of course; coupled by the reality that, the hybrid force would overpower FDLR/Interahamwe, once the armies fight along side each other.
Lastly, the FDLR-Interahamwe must be panicking because of the fear of facing the law, after committing heinous crimes and continuing to commit them against humanity. They never ended committing atrocities against humanity but exported them to the DRC and actually trained some Congolese to behave the same way they do.
This is a sad reality.
FDLR for the moment remains a group of desperate criminals on the run and may cause unnecessary killings before they are wiped out. FDLR will get the same treatment like Joseph Kony fighting the Uganda government.
The joint operation has sent the rank and file of FDLR panicking. But to console themselves the leaders promise to fight back.
“I hear they want to fight us. Let them try and we shall give them a lesson”, Ignace Murwanashyaka, the rebel leader threatened recently.
But these threats are only as dangerous as last kicks of a dying horse. The Interahamwe/FDLR leader has already sensed the danger posed by the new peace deal. His group will be given a bloody nose. For the sake of peace, such groups must be fought using force.
When DRC is safe, the other small and long time militias like the Mai Mai, will die a natural death. DRC, will in subsequent years, become peaceful after the elimination of all militia groups holed up in DRC jungles, hence paving way for progressive development.
Let Africans end conflicts, if we are to claim any place in the world. If we end the Great Lakes conflicts, then let the Horn of Africa follow suit.
As for the so-called rebels who do not want peace negotiations and accept the reality, we need to pursue them to the end. Some people cannot enter peace negotiations for obvious reasons, which is why we cannot wait for one size that fits all.