The BBC’s Network Africa and its sister program Focus on Africa on Tuesday this week run a story about a Congolese young man struggling to make ends meet, 15 years after taking part in the historic Rwanda-backed struggle that ousted one of Africa’s renown despot, Mobutu Sese Seko.
After spending 30 years running Congo like his personal property, Mobutu was finally shown the exit on May 18th 1997 in a victory commanded by RPA/RDF troops.
The story of this young man using the pseudo name of ‘Roger’ in the BBC interview had its own hidden innuendos. But what clearly came up was an indirect testimony exposing the rot contained in the now infamous UN Congo mapping report.
Narrating his own account of the experience during the war that toppled the late Mobutu, the ex-combatant brought out the truth of what Rwanda has always said in relation to the Mapping reporting.
In his own words, he confesses that the offensive to topple Mobutu was largely successful because of the strict rules and discipline demanded of every combatant by their commanders who happened to be the then Rwandan Patriotic Army or RPA (now RDF).
Through the English interpreter he said “there were strict rules to follow and anyone who went against these rules was severely punished.” He adds that the strict code extended to retributions for those caught indulging in looting, rape or any sort of anti-social behaviors.
“We were allowed no money; no women and whoever failed to adhere to these rules would not make it. That’s the reason largely behind our success.”
What should be noted here is that this interview was not conducted to seek the opinion of this ex-combatant on the UN Mapping report but rather to reflect on the lives of young men who took part in this war 15 years ago and how their lives were shaping since then.
The above responses resulted from a follow up question by the Reporter seeking to know his side of the story to accusations contained in the infamous document.
In giving this own account, rotating around the strictness of his superiors, this ex-combatant was not under the watchful eye of any one. He was not being coached to say anything and he was not paid to lie. He simply stated things as he saw them.
There are some important lessons from his remarks.
First, that from this testimony of an innocent soul commenting on these issues as he saw them first hand is a confirmation that unlike what the UN report says, there has never been a plan to kill innocent people, just like Rwanda has always said.
Second, that true to the doctrine of RPA/RDF, it has always been guided by a set of rules and regulations, which have defined their modus operandi and which have helped them in winning the battles they have fought.
Third, that the UN experts, either out of their own intention or omission, did a shallow job and did not get the right sources for their testimonies or interviewing the right witnesses.
Now, convince me why I shouldn’t believe this ex-combatant who happened to live the experience and speaks from reality but instead pay attention to a bunch of chaps sent from Paris, New York, and London to investigate cases in a place alien to their way of life.
Tell me why anyone should not believe the ex-combatant; approached 15 years after the fall of Mobutu and under no form intimidation, coercion or influence to lie and instead believe a group of chaps with all sorts of prejudice and premeditated mindsets, whose reports always bear no form of originality?
Honestly why should anyone give attention to a document done by a group that is bankrolled by individuals with a nut to crack on Rwanda, coming with a drafted template with clear instructions on how the final report must sound and ignore to listen to this ex-combatant now lamenting how his future would have been different had the values for which he fought been respected, just like the homeland of the individuals he once called Afande and saluted for their strictness to discipline.
The simple story of this Congolese soldier on BBC only serves to further expose the nature of manipulation of facts and the flawed methodology used by the authors UN mapping report.
It again confirms what Rwanda has said in the past. That the UN mapping report’s overreliance on the use of anonymous sources, hearsay assertions, unnamed, unvetted and unidentified investigators and witnesses, who lack credibility; and allegation of the existence of victims with uncertain identity, render its arguments shallow and hollow!
On twitter @aasiimwe, also visit author’s blog aasiimwe.wordpress.com