Nkunda Nat Geo


by Major Général Laurent NKUNDA MIHIGO, Chairman
at Jomba-Chyanzu, January 15, 2009

A genuinely Congolese Movement

Our movement is pervasively accused at home and abroad of fighting for the sole cause of the Congolese Tutsi people. At best, we are branded with a community persecution complex; at worst, there is an outright suspicion of a separatist temptation. Vicious detractors of our Movement would even go as far as accrediting that the CNDP is a Rwandan Trojan horse purportedly championing the cause of hypothetical irredentist claims of Rwanda in Kivu; as far as we are concerned, that’s outright bad faith or sheer hypocrisy, or else guilty ignorance. To those accrediting the thesis of a Trojan horse, we have this incontrovertible truth to say: the AFDL and the RCD were created on the initiative of the RPF respectively in 1996 in REMERA, a district of KIGALI, and in 1998 in KABUGA, a suburb of the Rwandan capital. Very much to the contrary the CNDP was born on the Congolese soil, upon the decision of sons and daughters of the Congo. In 2004, indeed my comrades and I created the CNDP in utmost secrecy in BWIZA, in the vicinity of KITCHANGA, in the RUTSHURU district, North-Kivu province. Since then, it has never received a single tablet or a single cartridge from Rwanda; nor did it take any directive from Kigali.

That is why, unlike Kabila the father and Kabila the son, leaders of the previous insurrections launched from Kivu, my comrades-in-arms and I have not had weekly trips to Kigali. Thus, since 2004, the only time I was briefly seen in the capital of the "country of one thousand hills”, was late 2006 – early 2007. Rwandan President Paul KAGAME had then become the informal mediator in the Congolese armed conflict, CNDP versus GOVERNMENT, upon the express and insistent request of President Joseph KABILA. His right-hand man, General James KABAREBE, Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Defense Forces ( RDF), who is also a long-time confidant of the Congolese Head of State, had called me a few days before. He had insisted on persuading me to get in touch with an emissary of his former protégé of the AFDL times, to seek an end to the hostilities unfolding in North-Kivu. On December 29, 2006, a military helicopter of the Rwandan army came to airlift me from my KIROREGWA Head Quarters, to go and negotiate with General John NUMBI, on January 1, 2007. The ensuing government-CNDP combatants merger was a gross failure as we all know.

Having said that, Rwanda is our next door neighbor, whose national language, culture and the ethnic composition are identical to those of my home district, BWISHA. With Rwanda and Burundi, my country shared the same colonial past for 35 years (1925-1960) under the name "Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi". If there had been no colonization, and thus the creation of totally new and artificial territorial entities in Africa, today’s Congo would never have existed for sure; but Bwisha would certainly be here as a transvolcanic province of ancient Rwanda. Consequently, "Banyabwisha" would not be Congolese, but Banyarwanda instead, exactly like before the 1910 British-German–Belgian Agreement regarding the eastern borders of Belgian Congo. Inviolable borders according to the resolution of the African Union adopted in Cairo in 1964? Certainly. I unreservedly agree with that. However, contrary to some of my fellow counrtymen who go as far as distorting their names so as to obliterate their Rwandan origins, I feel no complex at all in the face of Rwanda’s cultural proximity. Being a staunch Panafricanist, I even derive a certain pride from that reality.

Ostracism against Tutsi

Really, whether in RDC, in Africa or in the world at large, a great many people know perfectly well the high level of ostracism practiced against the Congolese Tutsi community over about five decades. Said ostracism was engineered by the State and freely orchestrated by leaders of political parties alongside Congolese ethnic groupings. Certainly, since the independence of our country in 1960, the Congolese Tutsi has shared with his Hutu counterpart the sinister burden of being constantly denied their original Congolese nationality.

Unlike Hutu, though, Tutsi folks have been made over the years to mount an excruciating civil identity Calvary, on account of their sheer phenotypical peculiarity, in a Congo to which they naturally and legally belong. Congolese Tutsi have always had accusing fingers pointed at them for a cause they cannot possibly be accounted for; they are stigmatized and segregated, not because of what they do, but rather for what they naturally are, or else for what people claim they are.

By virtue of silly prejudices established by colonial ethnographers, the Tutsi phenotype has generally turned Tutsi folks into sorts of illegitimate allochtons, or undesirable nonnatives, in the countries of the Great Lakes of Africa. That is why, in 1991, Mr. Léon MUGESERA, a renowned Rwandan genocidaire, currently confined in the detention facility of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) in ARUSHA, said out loud in a political rally of the MRND (late Juvénal HABYARIMANA’s political party), "We are going to shorten the Tutsi and then send them back to Abyssinia, their country of origin, via a shortcut, the river Nyabarongo (whose waters run through Ethiopia). That is why also, our ethnic neighbors in RDC say about us, "They are not Bantu, they cannot thus be part of us".

Nevertheless, any student who has been to some serious university college knew right from his/her very first ethnology lectures that people referred to as Bantu are those whose mother tongues form part of the large African family of bantu languages. Now, until proved otherwise, Kinyarwanda, mother tongue of the Tutsi and the Hutu people in D R Congo and Rwanda, is a bantu language.

The truth is that the residue of racism or xenophobia hidden in the depths of all and sundry keeps murmuring into the ear of Tutsi folks' detractors, "The Tutsi deserve just that! Why are they that morphologically different after all? Since they have their own distinct morphology, that means they are not really Congolese and, as such, they should therefore not be allowed any right whatsoever in Congo, except that of keeping their mouth shut, lying down, crawling, dying or disappearing. Exaggeration by any chance? Nay! Just take a look at the 1993 annual population statistics published by the Catholic diocese of Goma - the only reliable ones as of then, when the government and the administrations of the DR Congo were in a state of utter deliquescence: the cited statistics indicate that the Tutsi population of the North-Kivu province amounted to approximately 300,000, that is 10% of the total population of the province.

Demographics ranked the Tutsi in the 3rd position, after the Hutu and the Nande, both of whom are the major ethnic groups accounting for 40% each; but the Tutsi came far ahead of the Kano, Kumu, Hunde, Nyanga, Tembo and Twa. Since 1996, however, there has virtually been no Congolese Tutsi anymore in North-Kivu. In their quasi-totality, they are exiled or refugees in the nearby countries, mainly in Rwanda. Motive for this massive exodus: running away from the terrible Rwandan genocidaires and the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, today camouflaging as FDLR; these terror mongers have properly settled in our country as if in conquered territory, since their massive, predatory and murderous erruption in July 1994.

The rare Tutsi whose heightened sense of temerity has made them stay home, or return home from exile, ended up regrouping and settling into the only parts of the national territory where they really feel safe, i.e., in the area under the control of the CNDP. Everywhere else, they have fled cities, townships, hamlets and rural homesteads, because they were constantly harassed and exposed, according to places, to the exactions of the military security forces, the military prosecutors, the presidential guard units, the security and immigration personnel, the national police force, the territorial administration staff and the armed groups.

All day long, they were constantly hounded and robbed; but for those facing the FDLR or their Congolese fronting group the PARECO, only very few of them have miraculously survived.

At roadblocks set up by the FARDC or by other security services, Tutsi are the only ones that are made to get off vehicles, the only ones who are detained or whose identity cards are withheld. Generally, they will only regain their freedom, or have their identity papers, upon payment of heavy cash. They pay for their looks, and sometimes they pay for their supposed economic success, sometimes still for their ambitions or their political sympathies, real or not. For example, through the last few months in Goma, the Tutsi community has daily suffered kidnappings followed by disappearances, by murders or by unhoped-for reappearances. In this city, the danger is such as not a single Tutsi will dare spend the night there. In order for them to ensure they will still be alive the next day, they all prefer to take security cover at night in Gisenyi, the Rwandan city that is adjacent to the provincial capital of Nord-Kivu. And the government of the Republic of the Congo does not seem in the least concerned about that, or rather doesn’t simply care!....

....to be continued upon completion of translation from French to English

VISION DU CNDP: RESTAURER LA DIGNITE DES CONGOLAIS ET DU CONGO, Par le Général-Major Laurent NKUNDA MIHIGO, Chairman (La cohésion nationale en danger). CNDP, Oct 10, 2009

Nkunda secret book unveiled
by Josh Kron, Kenya Daily Nation, Oct 19, 2009
Kinshasa: A political manifesto allegedly written by former Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda just days before he was arrested by the Rwandan Government surfaced for the first time last week. In the manifesto, Gen Nkunda details his political and military ambitions, past relations with Rwanda, and his determination to rearrange national borders in the region. Gen Nkunda, the former head of ethnic Tutsi rebel group National Congress for the People’s Defence that threatened to topple the Congolese Government this time last year, was arrested in late January by Rwandan troops invited in the Congo, heralding a new peace between the two countries. A preamble to the document claims the manifesto, which says was found by Nkunda’s family after he was arrested, was being made public in response to tense a standoff last week between Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi and the Burundian army over their freedom to return to Congo.

In the document Gen Nkunda emphasises the CNDP’s rise as an organically Congolese movement rather than a proxy of the Rwanda Government, saying his rebellion "never has received a single table, single cartridge, much less single directive," from Kigali. At the same time, he outlines his insurgency along ethnic Tutsi lines, citing his admiration for, sense of kinship and occasional acquaintance with the current Rwandan regime, including its senior military. Since 2004, Gen Nkunda claimed, he had been in Rwanda’s capital Kigali only once, in early 2007. At the time he claims to have been in contact with the chief of Rwanda’s army, flying in army helicopters, and called Rwandan President Paul Kagame the "unofficial mediator" of the eastern Congo conflict, specifically in the protection of minority Tutsi in Congo. "Rwanda is a neighbour of mine, whose national language, culture and ethnic composition are identical to those of my Community-Chefferie original Bwishya," Gen Nkunda says in the document translated from French. He also argued that "intangible borders" had separated what otherwise be a natural nation of eastern Congo, Rwanda and neighbouring Burundi. He argues ethnic Hutu and Tutsi people have lived in the three “transvolcanic” countries.

For the last 15 years, eastern Congo has suffered foreign invasion, mass insurgency, and an unsteady insecurity scarred further famine and volcanic eruptions. The situation, sparked by the mass influx of Rwandan Hutu genocide-committers in 1994, reached crescendo between 1999 and 2001 when eight African nations partook in a continental war. "The CNDP is therefore a direct response to the Sun City agreement," referring to the 2001 peace agreement that obliged Rwanda and Uganda to leave Congolese soil, ending the war. Many of the soldiers remained. With each transformation, they have pulsed deep in to eastern Congo’s provinces, targeting the FDLR and occupying mineral-rich land.



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

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