I was born in DRC. So unlike my fellow countrymen who were half amused-half irritated by celebrations of Kagame’s fantasy death in different cities in the DRC, I was more disappointed and heartbroken. Not only did I watch a delusional people – for the thousand’s time, but the idea that a population would wish the death of a foreign leader so much, to the point of celebrating it prematurely scared me. It was proof that they held him responsible for all the troubles in their country. I was wondering when those celebrating would stop the circus and take over their country’s problems.
Watching from Kigali, that behavior succinctly captured the problem facing Congo and its people: Taking responsibility! With typical naivety, this time they had chosen to offload their problems to Kagame and Rwanda. I was thinking to myself, how come it is never their fight, their fault, their problem: It is Kagame’s, it’s American’s, it’s UN’s, etc. Accordingly, they celebrate Kagame’s death, mourn Ban Ki-moon’s or comment on Obama’s, etc.
They never face their failures or take measures in earnest to address them. They claim victory for other people’s success, and endorse their own failures on other people’s back.
Never in history have they invested in setting-up a serious army. During Mobutu’s time, he hired the likes of Bob Denard and Schcramm, Belgian mercenaries to defeat secessionists in Katanga. when they did, he claimed victory by raising his military ranks to Marchall. He appointed himself Generalissimus, without ever winning a battle with his own troops. Everyone knew it but all persisted Zairian army was one of the strongest in the world. It took Rwandan army little effort to get rid of Mobutu, but when they did, Kabila claimed victory and ordered Rwandan army out overnight. Everyone knows that foreign troops of the UN intervention brigade defeated M23, which had marched on Congolese army without even a fight, to seize Goma. But today, Congolese government is claiming that its mighty army has defeated Rwandan and Ugandan armies. Boy, it is like a wife, having ordered Chinese, Indian and Thai takeouts, convinces her household that she is a world-class cook; and they believe her. She is never going to take cooking classes.
Now this thing about Kagame’s death; the fact that it is actually a fantasy is irrelevant. Schools closed, business stopped, coffins were made, thousands hit the streets; all for a lie??? Guys, you can’t keep doing this. Every one is laughing at you, can’t you see?
At this juncture, Congolese people should ask themselves this: Is there anyone in Rwanda who would give a toss if Kabila died, got sick, fat or mad? Is there anyone, anywhere in the world who cares about their problems? Everyone would like to get his hands on their minerals (legitimately or otherwise) and live them in their mess. Them on the other hand choose to live in a circus, an illusion, repeating to themselves what they want to hear: that their country is rich, that they have no problem, that their army is strong, that all is well. And choose to be voyeurs to other people living their lives.
This must stop! We need sobriety in Congo. Look into each other’s eyes and admit your failures. Come to terms with your challenges and face them heads on. You have systemic, deep-rooted problems. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Stop speaking too much French and dressing like westerners. You are not in Zurich, Switzerland or Paris, France: you are in the middle the biggest mess the world has ever seen. You are stuck in what the economist Paul Collier calls the stagnating ‘bottom billion’.
The good news is, you are not the first, nor the last to face challenges. Most of us have gone through worse. You are highly talented and naturally endowed people. You can overcome your problems in record time. But for that you have to approach them with sobriety. You have to live in basic reality: – Accept what is true regardless of how difficult that is – and reject what is not; especially from fortune tellers and opportunistic politicians, who wish you no good, but to trap you in a cycle of hatred and exploitation.
Another exemple: the Jomba, the Banyamulenge, the Massissi and other such people of Rwandan origin are Congolese, or at least they own that land in DRC and the right to live on it. The fact that you repeat to yourselves that they are not is pure sophistry and it is only going to bring unrest in the Kivu region. Luckily the war is winding down. Soon many of these Congolese of Rwandan origin, who are now refugees in Rwanda and Uganda, will want to return to DRC, along with other Congolese refugees – as per joint declaration/or declarations. There is plenty of space to accommodate them.
If you think they are more loyal to Rwanda than to DRC, then give them a reason to change their mind; I mean, is Obama more loyal to Kenya, or Museveni to Rwanda? They have reasons to be proud of their respective countries. Even Nyerere was referred to as Rwandan at some point in history, but has he not been a blessing to Tanzania? It really comes down to how you embrace people; they can be either an asset or a liability. In the US, diversity makes their strength, in South Africa, their curse; you are free to choose. As a Rwandan, all I can say is, the last time we tried to divide and reject people, a genocide happened.
This is the type of difficult realities that sober people address rationally, not running in the street and making noise over rumors, like headless chicken. After that, do like Chinese; close your borders for 20-30 years: recall all your intellectuals around the world, work hard, restructure your army, your police, tackle corruption, study technology, do agriculture, promote manufacturing.
In the meantime, Kagame’s death, Jesus’ return or whatever story out there, should be the last thing on your mind. DRC, DRC, DRC!!! You, you, you!!!
Then one day you will rise, and with you, a whole continent!