The only logical conclusion to operation ‘Umoja Wetu’ has to be based on its achievement of the targets it had set from the onset; the very noble target of routing out the FDLR menace that has ravaged the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) jungles for over a decade.
Calls by North Kivu Congolese traditional leaders and those by Rwanda’s legislators, for the operation’s mandate to be extended beyond the stipulated 15 days to come, have to be taken seriously if the perennial problem of the FDLR is to be brought to its finality.
On the minds of the two countries leadership as they plan a way forward, should be only success with failure not being an option. They are thus at a crucial point of planning to fail or failing to plan.
The Congolese citizens who had started to benefit from this operation getting the much needed reprieve of peace being restored in their communities count on this planning.
The Rwandans, who have found freedom as they got repatriated back to their country, count on this planning, including those still being held hostage in the impenetrable jungles of the DRC by the now desperate FDLR.
The international community, that has been spending obscene amounts on humanitarian assistance counts on this planning.
We all count on this planning.
A half baked approach based on time targets that do not deliver the intended results of the mission, could spell disaster.
So far there is much to be celebrated from the many achievements made, since the operation was launched.
Even the previous ‘Doubting Thomases’ have since seen the light and are in full support of the operation.
Notwithstanding the rugged terrain the joint Rwanda-DRC operation has to navigate through, the operation that is being led by the Congolese military has been lauded for registering success over the past weeks.
In his report back to parliament, the Minister of Defence, Gen Marcel Gatsinzi, expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the operation so far.
The real fear in not taking this important mission to its logical conclusion, is the possibility of the FDLR remnants there, to regroup, organize and start their terror operations again. This will certainly jeopardise chances of peace in the region that in the past had remained illusive.