Zambezi Times Online

Complex Situation In DRC

LUSAKA, June 12 - The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to be complex let alone confusing.

There was a coup attempt in the capital Kinshasa yesterday, the second since March. The eastern part of the country remains unstable with restless rebels threatening to invade Bukavu.

These events leave the power-sharing government in a quandary, particularly that it has not even taken root. But the real problems lie in the history of the Joseph Kabila government.

President Kabila took over power from his father Laurent Kabila, after the latter was assassinated by one of his presidential guards.

Since Kabila (junior) took charge, the country has been a victim of war as it continues to craw with heavily armed insurgents in the name of rebel groups demanding a share of the national cake.

Because of the war, the government has never had an opportunity to organise universally acceptable elections that may usher in democracy.

Last year a deal was struck in South Africa between the government and rebel groups. The pact resulted in the formation of an interim power-sharing government which is, in fact, supposed to hold elections next year.

The other problem lies in the delay to implement the Sun City accord. One of the critical demands of the agreement is the formation of a new national army through integration of government troops and former rebel fighters. Many people believe that there is no progress made towards the integration of the soldiers.

There are thousands of these heavily armed troops still holed-up in their former strongholds.

While their bosses sit in Kinshasa knighting together the power sharing-system, the soldiers are becoming restless, hence the recent incident in the eastern border town of Bukavu.

Apart from that problem, according to observers, there are still some hard-liners amongst the soldiers and other officials in the original government that may be unhappy with the prospects of a new arrangement as some may lose their jobs, hence the attempted coup yesterday.

The international community needs to step in the Congo crisis immediately to help expedite the integration exercise. The soldiers need to get into a new army under a new boss altogether. As things stand, they are unemployed yet they need food, shelter and other requisites. They can be quite dangerous in such circumstances.

Secondly the United Nations should mobilise more troops to send into the Congo with a new mandate to intervene should there be a repeat of the Bukavu invasion.

Source: The Times of Zambia / allAfrica Global Media

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