Today’s article in the New York Times on the Congo provides much material for discussion. The tradition of violence and chaos, according to Jeffrey Gettleman, continues in the DRC as the M23 rebel group continues to seize control of the country. The prison of Goma has been emptied, giving freedom to 1,200 rapist, murderers, and rogue soldiers. Moreover, M23 kidnapping is used to punish any spoken resistance, says Luke, a local un-employed man. The M23, however, is not the sole root cause of the widespread violence in the DRC.
President Kabila has also played a role in the chaos of Congo. His administration has been one of corruption and inefficiency. According to Gettleman, “During the [Kabila] [re]-election, his agents were caught red-handed stuffing the ballot boxes. His unpopularity is due to suspicions on him “hoarding millions if not billions of dollars from mineral deals” while leaving infrastructure of the Congo a “fiasco.” This unpopularity has resulted in widespread mobs and riots throughout the city. President Kabila’s clear monetary distraction is more clearly evident in his pursuits of the notorious Ntaganda, otherwise known as “the Terminator.
Ntaganda, who the ICC has issued two arrest warrants for, continues to be a severe issue in the DRC. As a main leader of the M23, he represents an important target in order to end the reign of the organization. Fortunately for him, the incompetence of Kabila as well as several other factors have resulted in his continued freedom. With persistent financial support from Rwanda, Ntaganda has lead the M23 rebel group to an almost unstoppable position; “the government army unraveled” at each battle against the rebel group.
“Few counties in the world have been as disastrously ruled in the world as Congo,” says Gettleman. Despite exhausted efforts nothing seems to bring the Congo from its perpetual state of violence and chaos. In fact, Gettleman touches on this theme when he states: “deep wounds of past, unhealed, produce new violence.” For whatever reason, Congolease citizens are not satisfied with past peace efforts and transitional justice, and have decided to take matter into their own hands. This is demonstrated through two forms of violence: organized and unorganized. Organized, of course, being the M23 rebel group who seek to dramatically alter the Congolese government; unorganized being the widespread mobs and riots occurring throughout the country.
With every option justice and reconciliation seeming to fail, what other options can the DRC seek in order to end this trend of violence and heal the deeply entrenched wounds of the Congolese citizens?