It has not even been a month since Joseph Kabila was “inaugurated” for another term as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However in the period of time since the event has occurred other situations have arisen that will be seen in such a way that the situation can truly be described as Status Quo Pro Ante.
First of all the Country remains stuck in idle. In a little more than a week the results of the Parliamentary Elections are to be announced. However after roughly half of the results for the body were released a halt in the vote count occurred. Advisors from both the United States and Britain have arrived to offer “technical advice” about the count. It has been revealed that the National Democratic Institute is the US group providing advisors. It has not been revealed about what type of assistance that they will be offering or what CENI will let them see at this time.
Another fear that some people held has risen as well. In the mind of several activists and scholars the election season would be an ample time for a Militia that was based in the Kivus to make it presence felt during this time of uncertainty. It appears that this has occurred as well. There was some fear that the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) which according to some reports has been seen moving once again towards Virunga National Park would launch an attack between the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. However this was not the case.
On New Year’s the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) launched a series of attacks in the Province of South Kivu. These attacks which occurred in the Shabunda area which has an abundant source of both Gold and Cassiterite makes it a target of the FDLR. In fact these attacks resulted from the local population forming their own self defense force known as Raia Mutomboki. In the past the FDLR and the LRA have launched attacks against the civilian populations for undertaking such efforts to defend themselves against Militia attacks.
Word of this offensive has raised some concerns in Rwanda. There has been some questions about whether or not these attacks could be a message or threat to the Kagame Government. At this time there appears to be no clear or covert move towards the Rwandan border. However such a move by a rogue band of the FDLR cannot be ruled out at this juncture either. So the potential of a Rwandan Intervention will probably increase each day that the casualties mount with no clear effort by FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.)
While the International Media will be focused on the problems in South Kivu they have thus far overlooked the reports of a new Militia forming in Katanga Province. The Union of Forces for the Liberation of Katanga reportedly formed on Nov. 28th (the date of the Election). Although there is no further data regarding the number of fighters that this group has placed in the field, it also means that those doing research on the DRC have another Militia to monitor and track.
Another problem that will be covered up is the plight of the Media. Recently RFI (Radio France International) French service has been blocked by the Congolese Authorities due to their coverage of the elections. This is another piece of evidence regarding the heavy handed response by the Congolese Authorities against anyone who dared to stand against President Kabila.
So the situation in the DRC has not changed much, Instability remains prevalent in the Kivus and Katanga, Press Freedom is at risk still amongst other issues. You would think that Elections are supposed to resolve issues not make them worse.
By Scott A Morgan
The Author publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and is on the Staff of Save the Congo. Confused Eagle can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com