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Congrès National pour la Démocratie - National Democratic Congress  

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 Presse Release  PP/No. 01/Dec/22 

Unbearable Conditions in Eastern DRC Require Bold Measures from the International Community.

Once again, the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been engulfed in a war between M23, a Rwanda proxy rebel group, and the Congolese troops, FARDC, loyal to the DRC government. The National Democratic Congress (NDC), a coaltion between the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD - Urunana) and Rally of the Rwandan Peuple (RPR - Inkeragutabara), would like to denounce and condemn in strongest terms possible the current state of war instigated by a proxy group trained, heavily armed, and supported by the Rwandan government as it has been confirmed in recent reports from several on-ground independent investigators and/or observers.  

Our Organization is extremely concerned about the loss of lives of innocent Congolese as well as the uncertain plight of the Rwandan refugees that have found protection in DRC since 1994. After a careful examination of the current situation in Eastern DRC, we would like to call upon the MONUSCO and the International Community not to spare any efforts in order to protect the local population as well as the Rwandan refugees in the region.

It is important to recall that the current conditions on the ground are reminiscent to what happened in 1996-1997 when hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and Congolese citizens, including children, women, and elderly,  were systematically savagely massacred by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and its allies. The attacks followed an intensive demonization campaign.  RPA elements launched military operations on refugee camps in South Kivu in October 1996. The attacks  continued unabated until all the Rwandan refugee camps in Eastern DRC were totally destroyed. Along with the destructions, the refugees were hunted down over the entire DRC territory. 

These massacres were subsequently qualified as acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by several independent organizations including a UN report entitled "DRC: Mapping Human Rights Violations 1993-2003”. It is important to remind all the stakeholders that the main perpetrators of such horrendous crimes hold even today positions in the current Rwandan civil and military administrations and no one has ever been held accountable. 

Despite repeated denials of the Rwandan government for supporting the current Congolese rebellion, our Organization has learned from reliable sources how Paul Kagame and his security services have been supporting these Congolese surrogate groups. Here is a short history of this proxy group: the M23 inception was meant to sideline the renegade General Bosco Ntaganda who was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague (NL) for war crimes committed in the Eastern DRC. In order to enroll Colonel Sultani Makenga as M23 Commander, this task was given to Gen. Laurent Nkunda by Kagame security services. Once accepted, Kigali promised to provide the training of new recruits, arms, logistical support, and RDF troops, as needed. We have also learned that several refugees who returned to Rwanda from DRC were asked/ordered to enroll in these various rebel factions. Meanwhile, these renegade Generals have been investing the proceeds of the DRC resources into the Rwandan economy with the protection of Paul Kagame and his security services.

It is unfortunate to note that the increasingly worsening crisis and tragedy in Eastern DRC corroborate what our Organization has been saying for years: the policies put forward by Paul Kagame and his cronies constitute the root cause of the impasse in the Great Lakes Region. Although Rwandan refugees established in DRC have become the scapegoats of the instability in the region, it is the dictatorial, repressive, and undemocratic nature of the regime currently ruling Rwanda that constitutes the main obstacle to finding equitable solution to the Rwandan refugee problem in the DRC. Several independent political analysts, observers, and human rights organizations have come to the conclusion that the regime in Kigali oppresses its own citizens. Therefore, Rwanda is where solutions must be found and implemented if an everlasting peace were ever to be on the agenda.

We are of the opinion that basic human rights, democracy, and self determination are values that must not be compromised; these are universal values that must be neither trampled upon nor stifled by any regime, regardless of the excuses. The needs for survival of a brutal regime leader cannot override the basic human rights and the right to life, for individuals.

To avert another humanitarian disaster in the region, it is time that the regional powers along with the International Community take bold actions if they are genuinely committed to solving Africa Great Lakes Region problems once for all. Thus, our Organization calls upon the International Community in general and the UN Security Council in particular to take substantive measures against the Rwandan government and its leaders in order to guarantee peace and stability in the DRC, as well as to ensure that   the refugees in the region are protected.

Hence, our Organization would like to reaffirm the following principles that constitute the cornerstone of finding lasting solutions to address the plight of refugees and the humanitarian tragedy that the the Great Lakes region has been enduring for decades:

  • The NDC remains committed to peace and peaceful solutions as it has already demonstrated during the short-lived Kisangani Process that led to Kasiki settlement Centre.  
  • Our Organization is convinced that the principles that were laid in Kisangani Roadmap and subsequently reaffirmed in Rome on Jan. 27/2009 may form a solid foundation in contributing to the lasting solution of the Rwandan refugee problem in Eastern DRC and the region. While examining other ways and means of addressing the current situation in Eastern DRC, one of the most urgent actions would be for the UN Secretary General to appoint without delay a Special Representative for Rwandan refugees in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as this constitutes the best way towards a timely and durable resolution of the impasse.

  • As our Organization has always pointed out, the Rwandan problem is political in nature and requires political solutions. The current political and undemocratic situation prevailing in Rwanda is the root cause of the endemic instability in the region as it has been confirmed by recent events. Therefore, it is our firm conviction that as long as the Rwandan problem is not resolved the Africa Great Lakes region will remain unstable. 
  • In order to foster a reconciliatory Justice system, the only foundation of genuine Reconciliation, we urgently ask to hold, under the auspices of the International Community, an Inter-Rwandan Dialogue. In addition, our organization calls for the organization of a "Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation" Commission in our homeland that would help heal a traumatized society. 
  • We remain convinced that only such a Dialogue would lead to lasting peace, stability, and the establishment of new political, judiciary, and security institutions that would reflect the legitimate aspirations of all the constitutive groups of the Rwandan society.
  • Our Organization has the firm commitment to constructively and actively contribute to finding lasting and peaceful solutions to the problems that have plagued our homeland and the Africa Great Lakes region as a whole.
  • Our organization would like to express its strong, unbounded, and unwavering support to Congolese People who have endured a lot but still provided security, food and shelter to Rwanda refugees for more than two decades while others looked away.  We would also like to express our gratitude to the current DRC Government that has held high moral ground by refusing to demonize the Rwandan People in general and Rwandan Refugees in particular while the brutal leader of Rwanda Paul Kagame and his cronies have done otherwise.


Dec. 7,  2022

Dr. Augustin Dukuze


National Democratic Congress