Congolese Resistance Movement Declares Pretoria Accord Null and Void
By Ruth Nabakwe
January 8, 2003
A France-based Democratic Republic of Congo resistance movement allied to local fighters, the Mai-Mai in Fizi, Baraka, Mwenga and Uvira of South Kivu province of the DRC has dismissed the recently signed Pretoria power-sharing accords between the Kinshasa government and rebel groups as null and void charging that it placed the selfish interests of a few over those of the vast majority population.
Nestor Ngaba, A spokesman of the Committee of Resistance, Territorial Integrity and a State of Law (CRID) told The Perspective in an interview in Paris Tuesday that despite the various peace accords signed in the DRC involving the RCD-Goma rebel group active in Eastern DRC and their"Rwandan godfathers" who claimed to have fully pulled out of the Eastern DRC territories,"CRID's investigators on the ground attest to the continued massive presence of Rwandans on Congolese territory", he asserted.
According to him the recently signed power-sharing agreement brokered in Pretoria under South African President Thabo Mbeki and UN representatives could not guarantee peace in the DRC as the protagonists had placed individual selfish interests above those of the Congolese nation and lacked the mandate and legitimacy from the Congolese people.
CRID's position contrasted sharply with that of the international community including the UN who have hailed the Pretoria accord as a move towards resolution of the protracted DRC crisis that pitted the Kinshasa government against armed rebel groups seeking to oust it.
Ngaba played down the optimism for the Pretoria accord saying that even before the ink had dried on the 17 December, 2002, agreement the rebels were on each others throats fighting for control of territory and hounding the civilian population particularly in Eastern DRC and Northeastern parts of the country.
Humanitarian organizations reported that thousands of Congolese civilians had fled their homes as rebel groups in Northeastern and South Kivu regions of DRC fought over territory on December 20, 2002, some three days after they signed the power-sharing agreement in Pretoria.
The CRID spokesman urged the international community to set up a neutral Commission of inquiry to probe the presence of Rwandan Interahamwe militias in areas occupied by Rwandan backed RCD-Goma rebels.
Ngaba who said he was in daily contact with the Mai Mai fighters on the ground in eastern DRC expressed concern saying the civilian population in Kivu bore the brunt of atrocities committed by RCD-Goma rebels.
He charged that the Rwandan government used the pretext of the Interahamwe presence to justify its hidden agenda on the Kivu region that included a desire to annex the territory.
He said the Pretoria accord could not guarantee peace in the DRC as its signatories were the main threat to any resolution of the DRC crisis due to their egoistic ambitions that failed to place the interests of the DR Congo above their own.
The CRID spokesman urged the international community to associate the Congolese resistance that was fighting to restore the territorial integrity of Congo with the mission to provide security at the eastern frontier of the DRC.
According to him the Congolese civilian population particularly those in occupied territories had a right to be effectively represented in all negotiations at National and International level aimed at bringing lasting peace to the country.
"No peace is possible in an area where there is permanent mourning of the population as a result of injustice imposed by the Rwandan government and their puppets the RCD-Goma rebels," he added.
But the Rwandan government which has persistently denied being present in eastern DRC after pulling out its troops in an exercise monitored by UN observers was quoted by Radio Rwanda as expressing "concern" by the rebel fighting particularly in Ituri which was close to the Rwandan border.