“Bosco Ntaganda’s arrest is a major step forward for justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His transfer to The Hague is a strong signal that announces the end of impunity in the East of the country. It is a real hope of a different future for more than two million displaced persons, tens of thousands of women and girls who have been victims of sexual violence, and so many children out of schools. Those who are responsible for this bloody chaos must now take in consideration their accountability and reconsider their strategy, particularly the Congolese leaders and officers who are supporting militias in Eastern Congo.
“By cooperating with the United States of America, the Rwandan authorities have finally demonstrated their capacity to change. From being the problem, they must now be acknowledged by the Congolese Government as part of the solution to the crisis.
Regrettably, Bosco Ntaganda’s arrest does not mean an immediate end to violence in Eastern Congo. Since 2011, many armed groups have been operating from the border of South Sudan to the north of Katanga Province. With the exception of the M23 which Bosco led, all the militias are hostile to Rwanda and Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese. Most of them are driven by corrupt politicians and supported by high-ranking officers involved in the illegal exploitation of minerals. The profits generated from trading minerals are used to keep Eastern Congo under their influence and prolong the illicit enrichment of a small clique at the expense of Congolese citizens.
“Above all, without a well-trained and disciplined national army, DRC remains a sanctuary for armed groups, negative forces and terrorists. As a fragile State, DRC has no capacity to restore its authority over Eastern Congo. The Addis Ababa Peace Accord signed on the 24th February by eleven Heads of State under the auspicious of UN, AU, CIRGL and SADAC is the best framework for peace in DRC and the Great Lakes Region. It addresses not only the Congolese concerns (security sector reform; greater decentralization; improved governance; further democratization; protection of human rights; and moves to reform the public finances, and promote greater infrastructure development etc.) but also the regional aspects by asking the neighbours to put an end to their interference and cease their support to armed groups operating in DRC. The UN’s appointment of Mary Robinson as Special envoy for Great Lakes must be welcomed as she will have to report to New York the progress in the implementation of the Accord; while with the reinforcement of a UN brigade dedicated to eradicate the armed groups, the implementation of Addis Abeba Accord can be seriously envisaged. In that light, Bosco Ntaganda’s case will be a serious deterrent for those who are still engaged in promoting chaos and anarchy.
“In the Addis Ababa Accord, President Kabila is invited to launch a national reconciliation process that must lead to an all inclusive government. He has already accepted to organize a forum to reinforce “national cohesion.” If the opposition accepts to attend the dialogue, President Kabila will have the opportunity to seize this momentum in the view to forging a consensus on the governance of Congo.
“Domestically, President Kabila’s key objectives for the next two years include tackling corruption; mobilizing greater internal financial resources by the reform of the Tax and Revenue Administration; reforming the mining code in order to promote transparency in mineral resources trade; promoting doing business; implementing the decentralization process, and restoring the people confidence in the electoral process by organizing a census. At the same time, with the support of his partners, DRC needs to accelerate the construction of a national Army that will have the capacity to defend Congo’s territorial integrity.
“Finally, today, the UN and EU must support or promote a frank and respectful dialogue between Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC. The UN must encourage fruitful ways in which DRC and his neighbours share a same vision for prosperity and development in the Great Lakes Region. By implementing the Addis Ababa Accord, the leaders of the Region will promote a durable peace in Congo. The dismantling of M23 hardliners, the appointment of a UN special Envoy, the deployment of UN forces mandated to eradicate armed groups, and a inclusive dialogue in Congo must also be seen as good signals that contribute to the DRC stability.”