Trash DRC Lies, M23 Are Not Terrorists But Freedom Fighters Sidelined By Tshisekedi’s Selfish Gov’t- Mbidde

Trash DRC Lies, M23 Are Not Terrorists But Freedom Fighters Sidelined By Tshisekedi’s Selfish Gov’t- Mbidde

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By Spy Uganda

The M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo on Monday, June 13, overrun Bunagana, a trading hub on the border with Uganda, forcing Congolese government soldiers there to flee into neighbouring Uganda.

This was barely a month after Kinshasa branded the rebels as a terrorist group, implying they cannot continue partaking in a regional peace talks initiative aimed at finding solutions to the insecurity in their country’s volatile east where more than 130 armed militia groups wreak havoc.

Hours after news trickled in that the M23 overrun Bunagana, members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) came out citing the margins of an ongoing sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, that it is important to have clarity about what the rebels are all about, as well as the root cause of the unending insecurity in eastern part of the DR Congo.

MP George Stephen Odongo, Chairperson of the Uganda chapter in EALA, said that what is happening in DR Congo is “not something new” as it has been building up.

Odongo said: “It is something that the Community has had a fair share of discussions about. But I think there is need to move faster to fast-track the intervention of the East African Community in that area so that we move as one. This is an EAC Treaty obligation because, under Article 124 of our Treaty, it provides that we should maintain good neighborliness and it is a duty of every partner state to see that we pacify our neighbourhood so that we don’t breed insecurity that impedes free movement of people and trade between partner states.”

MP Fred Mukasa Mbidde, a legislator from Uganda said that what is happening in DR Congo is a governance issue that East Africa must take on as quickly as practically as possible.

“The Presidents of East Africa should cut the rhetoric and begin now addressing themselves to the joint protocol on peace and security in East Africa and quickly handle the governance issues in eastern DRC,” Mbidde said.

“That’s the only way we shall have a resolution on the matter that is amicable.”

But Are M23 Really Terrorists?

For MP Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the M23 rebels are freedom fighters. “These are not terrorists. These are freedom fighters,” he said

In DR Congo, Mbidde noted, there is a momentum geared towards, and against, ethnic Tutsi Congolese.

Mbidde said: “These are Congolese nationals. There is a desire that has been occasioned by the (Congolese) government; fearing that (former President Joseph) Kabila is also intending to return (in next year’s presidential election). And he rides, usually, on avenues calculated to indicate to the Congolese that the more aninetity (strong animosity) and incendiary acts that you administer against the Banyamulenge and Tutsi Congolese should win you substantial votes from the average Congolese.”

“It is now becoming a campaign platform that is orchestrated by those (main contesting) camps. And in my opinion that is going to cause, again, further factors and combinations within the Congo. So, the fighting entity, particularly M23 are just nationals being denied, first of all, their nationality and second, land rights, particularly communal rights.”

In the past few months, reports in mainstream and social media have highlighted disturbing trends of public incitement and calls to Genocide in DR Congo. These include the proliferation of hate speech spreading double genocide theory and advocating for the attack and annexation of Rwanda to the DR Congo by political leaders, members of the civil society, and religious leaders; as well as stigmatization of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese calling on them to return to Rwanda.

Kigali has stressed that it has no intention of being drawn into an intra-Congolese matter, but Kinshasa claims that the M23 rebels are supported by Kigali.

Mbidde said Kinshasa’s inability to posses a substantial force that can guide and govern the country and protect it, resulted into it “using the FDLR as a mercenary force” by the Congolese government and army against any intended targets.

“This mercenary force has got its ideological anchor chain. It has got a substantial ideological umbilical chord that cannot be cut (from) the genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi that took place three decades ago.

“Now, the FDLR that are fugitives and dissidents, once armed by a government and given diplomatic and security cover, ammunition and all sorts of capacity, is now again posing a danger … as they attempt to be used as a mercenary tool against the M23. In my opinion, this is all a recipe for further incendiary disaster for the East African region.”

On Monday, the M23 also said it will also not permit the continued calls for violence, murder, hatred, division and xenophobia currently being made by Congolese officials and members of the FARDC-FDLR coalition and local armed groups “because they constitute a serious threat to social cohesion, peaceful coexistence between communities and stability in the region.”

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