Saturday, 25 May 2013



Description: DSC_1603Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23 May 2013: In line with the framework of the 50th Anniversary of the African Union Commission (AUC), a technical advisers meeting of OAFLA (Organization  of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS) is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the African Union old building, from the 23- 24 May,  2013. The first ladies of Africa, as women and mothers, bring a unique passion, perspective and position to fight against HIV/AIDS. These leaders want to utilize their roles as first ladies and join forces with those responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Description: DSC_1613Today’s meeting was attended by consultants and participants from different African countries including Namibia, Swaziland, Chad, Nigeria and a host of other countries.  The Executive Secretary of OAFLA, Sonia Ndimbira opened the session by welcoming and thanking the participants for attending the event. Tigist Alemu, A consultant for OAFLA welcomed the participants and further highlighted that the technical advisers meeting is being held in order to contribute ways in which HIV/AIDS can be tackled both at the community, regional and national level. 

The advisors also tackled the question of where the continent wants to see OAFLA in the next five years in terms of what it wants to achieve by the aforementioned time. The improvement of the vision of the organization was also critically discussed, in terms of what distinguishes the organization from other organizations (uniqueness).  Tigist Alemu stated that it is very important for OAFLA to carry out its activities diligently because, it is a life saving/ maintaining organization therefore, it is indeed crucial for the continent as a whole but specifically for those that are infected/ affected by HIV/AIDS.
Description: DSC_1616
The goals of OAFLA were also discussed. They include the following:
  • Reducing new HIV Infections among the general population by promoting the prevention of mother-child-transmission (PMTCT) continuing education, information and communication (in school and out of school).
  • Reducing stigma and discrimination  (mobilization support for People Living with HIV and AIDS orphans)
  • Increasing Anti retroviral Therapy (ART) coverage through universal access, mass drug production and the mobilization of the public for action.
  • The promotion of women’s rights and opportunities through campaigning for the elimination of gender based violence and also for the lobby of women’s small scale projects and entrepreneurs.
  • Reducing maternal and child deaths by promoting the benefit of immunization, integration of services and spouses support,  the promotion of cancer screening and also the need to improve the nutritional status of mothers and their children was also stressed.

On the 24th of May, 2013, the major common challenges will be identified and discussed by the consultants and participants. Possible solutions and recommendations will also be brainstormed in the session.


The Problem
Following recent renewed crisis in the DRCongo, I feel compelled to contribute my thoughts on solving the vicious cycle of conflict in the DRC, especially given my rich and first-hand experience in that part of the world, though I am not naïve that there is no political will to use common sense in solving this issue. Needless to say that people in Kivu region have a bubbling frustration due to myriad issues in Congo. They have suffered indescribable amount of human rights abuse, violence, poverty, absence of basic infrastructure and services, not to mention insecurity, wars, and a total absence of law and order. There is a collective reaction to blame the government of Congo for their miseries and the nation’s ills.  All facts considered, it is very important to understand why Congolese people particularly in Kivu are tired, frustrated and are having issues with their government.
It is observed by some experts, including Pham of Atlantic Council that the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second biggest African country and one of the richest countries in the world “with its estimated more than $24 trillion and 30 percent of the world's diamond reserves; vast amounts of cobalt, copper and gold; and 70 percent of the world's coltan” is the poorest of all. According to UN program for Human Development index, the DRC is ranked the last of the 187 countries in the world. The Congolese population remain not only the poorest in the world, but also victims of continual conflicts and revolutionary wars. Eastern Congo (Kivu) in particular continues to be a source of political tension and congestion of armed movements due to government’s inability to tackle any of the country’s challenges. Congolese authorities have made it a culture and their rights to exploit the country’s wealth as their own and their family members. Elections for public offices including the presidency are simply a mascaraed, and a disgrace to all democratic nations. Violence against women and human rights abuse has made Congo rank as the world capital city for sexual violence and human right abuse.  The rule of law is foreign concept. Injustice and corruption is a culture and a way of life. Nepotism, clientele and bigotry are the style of the political system and hidden policies.  The country is described internationally as a failed state; its supreme leaders have lost moral authority to govern. Misery, extreme poverty, injustice, insecurity and bad governance have reached an intolerable level. People have had enough with a corrupt, irresponsible and dysfunction government institutions and they are desperate for a radical change, and are determined to fight for it.
It is actually frustrating to hear everybody hopelessly complaining about the problems in Congo. Political and social problems in any nations are not like weather problem to which everybody complains about it, but nobody can do anything about it. Congolese People have been having political, social and economic problems caused by their government since nearly independence. So, most of the problems that have escalated between the people and their government in Congo have been around for a long time, and remained unsolved. Until now, no sustainable solution is being sought out, neither locally nor internationally. In fact, nowadays, almost every eastern Congolese, at one time or another, has said that it’s too bad the country didn’t just split when it had the chance during the RCD occupation. Indeed, even some politicians within the central government who are concerned with cycling wars from the Kivu regret for not letting the South and North Kivu go when they had the chance. They would have avoided a lot of problems. Both sides would have the opportunity to redefine the best political system they want, and into a direction that they think is befitting of their people without this push and pull that comes from repeating revolutionary wars coming from the eastern Congo.
The Solution:  A referendum.
The use of referendum is the only non-violent means to claim and obtain (or loose) self-determination.
Now more than ever, thousands of Eastern Congolese, particularly in Kivu are convinced that it is time for a divorce with the central government. The main concern is that they do not have the opportunity to shake hands and go their separate ways, without having to first fight and lose thousands of innocent lives unnecessarily in order to exercise their right to self-determination as expressed in the UN Charter of human rights. Self-determination or secession is the widely spoken new buzz word as the final solution for peace and stability in eastern Congo.
What is really leading to this call for secession is on the one hand, an understanding that people of Kivus are sick and tired of wars, suffering, and misery brought by the irresponsibility, corruption, incompetent, nepotism of a failed political system in Congo that continue on having only negative impact on their lives.  On the other hand, the realisation that nothing will ever change as long as this giant country is led by corrupt and incompetent leaders.
The real question is to what degree are the Kivu people being serious, and to what degree are they being tongue-in-cheek here? One can confidently say that people in Kivu are in fact being very serious. I understand that the arguments that call for secession of Kivu can be received as somewhat ridiculous in some corners, especially in Western countries. Some even think that it is probably a remote possibility. Nevertheless, apart from the fact that thousands of determined men in uniforms have already taken their guns, entered the jungle and formed guerrilla movement, in addition to a dozen of community based militias all ready to fight for secession of Kivu all with that ideology in mind, within the framework of that argument, I think there is a basis to highlight the logic and rational based on a lot of frustrations that forces people of Kivu to get to the point of seeking for divorce. It is also important to mention that during my travel in the region, I encountered many Southern and Northern Kivu people while conducting my visits in the region advocating for the secession argument, and was convinced that it was the best thing for them given the circumstance, if it can be done peacefully, and that is the biggest challenge.


The general argument for secession is summarized by the logic according to which the DRC is a failed or a "bankrupt" state and it can no longer be bailed out. The only solution and hope for the people of Kivu or other parts of the country is to secede and form a new political system that will serve social, political, cultural and economic needs of its people. They want a political system that will bring about peace, unity, security and development. The secession argument, therefore, gives the opportunity to create what would be a far more perfect political system that the people of Kivu deserve.
As with most things, there are two sides to every coin.  On one hand you have some Congolese (in the west ) are revolted at the idea of letting Kivu secede.  On the other hand, there are some who think that it is the best that that can happen.  Keeping the country together is of paramount importance for many people who think emotionally at the idea of nationalism and would do and endure everything possible to remain in the failed state of the DRC.  However, there would be great benefits to most citizens of Congo if they let the Eastern region of Kivu finally go their own way.  The challenge is how to go about it.
The Challenge: The UN Indifference
The challenge is the national and international indifference to use less costly and peaceful solution that would prevent unnecessary loss of lives. Using common sense by applying widely known and acceptable peaceful and democratic means such as the referendum is as simple as it sound. Yet, it is the last option the international community would use after allowing the loss of resources, million lives, and properties.
In essence, the issue is why shouldn’t people of Kivu be allowed to choose their political destiny if they want to? If the majority of the people in a very large part of the country (bigger than western Europe) want to secede from the rest of the country, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so peacefully, especially when there are many precedents such as Kosovo, Eritrea, Crotia, Somaliland, East Timor ect.? The Democratic Republic of Congo is not really any different from these nations, especially the Sudan Islamic Republic that has recently allowed the people of Southern Sudan to secede and formed their own country as they so wished.
So why can’t this divorce be allowed in the DRC without an excessive amount of hostility by the UN forces (MONUSCO)?  Why would the international community prefer to use excessive forces, waste extremely huge resources and people’s lives to support and promote a short term alternative solution knowing fully well that it will never bring about a lasting and sustainable peace not only for the country, but also for the region?  The same concern was expressed by one of the international expert, Mr. Pham Peter, of Atlantic Council who notedThe international community has repeatedly dodged this reality by opting for so-called peace deals with shelf lives barely longer than the news cycle. Rather than nation-building, what is needed to end Congo's violence is the opposite: breaking up a chronically failed state into smaller organic units whose members share broad agreement or at least have common interests in personal and community security”.
At the end of the day, one wonders who is really benefiting from short term peace deals and inefficient remedies. It’s definitely Not the Congolese people, but the rebel leaders promoted to high ranking positions and UN staff who ensure the continuity of insecurity to maintain their highly paid jobs at the expenses of peoples’ blood.
It is absurd that the same nations and institutions that claim to promote human rights, and democracy would deny people’s right to self-determination, and let themselves manipulated by a despotic, totalitarian and undemocratically elected Kabila regime thathas always promoted social animosity between ethnic communities causing political hostilities in Kivu in order to divert their attentions away from its responsibilities and remain in power.     Until when will western economic interest be the basis for their foreign intervention policy, above the protection of human rights in Africa? It is about time that Western countries including Canada realize that the people of Kivu have matured and are realizing that their dysfunction system of their government has got to end at some point regardless of outside support, and something new must be created to bring them hope for a better future. Thus, Canada as a country with many mineral companies in Kivu should take a lead in promoting this peaceful and democratic value based approach.
The Conference on Great Lake Regions Countries, the UN, and Western nations are called upon to promote and support a referendum approach for self-determination in Kivu as a peaceful and democratic solution to solve Congo’s political crisis; and dissuade the UN from using forces, but promote referendum campaign instead.

Muhoza Achim
Congo Peace Activist.

Simone: Congolese army heavily deployed all over, populations are scared of them as well.

  1. Congo Govt soldiers (FARDC) smoking marijuana at the Batlefield
    Congo Govt soldiers (FARDC) smoking marijuana at the 
    BattlefieldUN general secretary Ban Ki Moon and World Bank chief Jim Kim meant to visit to Goma on Thursday (on a 2 hours tripp!!). But few Kilometers outside town u can hear shelling, bombs and thunder from fighting with heavy weapons. Population fleeing in masses, panic is raising in Goma. Congolese army heavily deployed all over, population is scared of them as well. Everybody is locked up home. UN troops keep on trying beeing busy to do nothing, like usual. Its now a year since the whole nightmare started… and people in Goma still cant sleep, having not one silent calm night. me neither. good night Goma.
    Congo Govt Army (Fradc) On Motor Bike taxi With Rocket Drinking Beer in Goma
    Fardc cigarette
    Drc Gvt Army Selling Cigarette In Goma Instead of Protecting the city
    Drc Govt Sordiers (FARDC) On the front line afraid of the Advence of M23 Soldiers

    By Provoking the M23, Kinshasa seeks to involve the UN Intervention Brigade in DRC in the ongoing conflict.

    UN Peacekeepers in patrol with Congo Army The FARDC the main perpetrators of sexual violence in the DRC, who commit gang rapes, rapes which leads to injury or death and abductions.
    UN Peacekeepers in patrol with Congo Army The FARDC the main perpetrators of sexual violence in the DRC, who commit gang rapes, rapes which leads to injury or death and abductions.
    MUJA (North Kivu) – The usual scenario was set up early on the morning of 20nd May around Kanyarucinya. The auxiliary forces (FDLR and Mayi-Mayi) and the DRC Government army (FARDC) launched a joint attack on the positions of the M23 in the village of Mutaho located about 15 kilometers from Goma.
    The incident was followed by shelling of places by FARDC in violation of the cease-fire unilaterally declared in Kampala by the M23 which withdrew from Goma  in a demonstration of good faith and willingness for peaceful resolution of the conflict with the government.
    The ARC troops (armed wing of M23) repulsed the attackers who are currently taking refuge in Muja (North-west of Goma).
    The DRC Government appears to be very anxious about the delay of SANDF and Tanzanian troops in getting themselves together to attack the positions of the M23 and is therefore trying to force the hand of the UN into a rapid response.
    After meeting with the Heads of State in the Great Lakes Region, Mrs. Robinson, the special envoy of the Secretary General of the UN, briefed the 15 permanent members of the United Nations warning that military intervention would have serious consequences for peace in the Great Lakes Region.
    Wrote in french By El Memey and Translated by Diana Katabarwa