International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

DRC Update and Ethnic Inclusion Within the M23 Rebel Group?

There has been much discussion, worldwide and in our class, on the current state of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Jeffrey Gettleman has written yet another article on continued strife within the painfully broken state. As Blair Byg cited on the blog earlier this week, the M23 claimed that they will withdraw from Goma, provided that the Congolese government meet a list of demands. This statement was released from the M23 political wing head. According to Gettleman, however, “a rebel spokesman, said: ‘There are no conditions. We are withdrawing our troops starting tomorrow.’” Gettleman notes that there is much confusion around the M23’s future plans. The organization has released two vastly different statements and no one seems to be sure what is going to happen. What is more interesting is highlights of ethnic diversity within the M23, which may point to a more ethnically inclusive region.

The M23, who, contestably, control the Democratic Republic of Congo, apparently have a tradition of promoting non-Tutsi political leadership. Gettleman states: “The M23 rebels have made a major effort to promote non-Tutsi to civilian leadership positions, broadening their base of support and making them an even more pernicious threat to Mr. Kabila (a Tutsi). What is interesting is that the majority of top officers within the M23 are Tutsi. Additionally, the military and police infiltration that has occurred in the DRC, includes many Tutsi Rwandans. As noted by Gettleman, the Rwandan military is control by Tutsis and has progressively been included in the M23 rebel movement. While, of course, serious questions of corruptions arise with this information, another question of ethnic inclusion does as well. While the M23’s promotion of non-Tutsi leadership is clearly a political one, this may represent crucial improvements of ethnic coexistence with the area’s society. Is the eastern DRC/Rwanda area fully reconciling from past wounds of genocide, ethnic discrimination and hate?


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