The Chairperson of the Commission urges all the political actors to demonstrate a spirit of responsibility and to refrain from any statements or acts likely to heighten tension.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 8, 2017 – The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, notes with satisfaction the publication by the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the electoral calendar for the combined Presidential, Legislative and Provincial elections, now scheduled for 23 December 2018. He recalls that the African Union has consistently called for the timely publication of a credible and as consensual as possible electoral calendar, pursuant to the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016.
The Chairperson of the Commission stresses the duty and obligation of the institutions and stakeholders concerned, including the political parties, the civil society and religious leaders, to work together resolutely to ensure that this new calendar is scrupulously adhered to. He also underscores the need to do everything possible to ensure that the planned elections are organised in the requisite conditions of transparency, credibility and regularity, in conformity with the relevant instruments of the African Union, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and of Governance.
The Chairperson of the Commission urges all the political actors to demonstrate a spirit of responsibility and to refrain from any statements or acts likely to heighten tension. He recalls the importance of taking urgent measures to restore confidence between the actors involved and to defuse the political tension, within the spirit of the Political Agreement of 31 December 2016.
The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the commitment of the African Union, in close cooperation with the appropriate regional organisations, the United Nations and other partners, to accompany and support the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to help the Congo to successfully achieve this democratic milestone, in accordance with its Constitution. To this end, the AU will leave no stone unturned to mobilise the necessary resources from both the Member States and the international community as a whole.
That the man gets to duplicate a government office and safety commission for exports of minerals from South Kivu. Abbas Kayonga was able for years to duplicate and double commission for checking and securing exports of minerals between South Kivu and Rwanda. Clearly, he was wise enough and used his connection within the local government of South Kivu. But, they must have been tired off it and also the tricks that has been done. As some has been caught by his duplicated commission like in 2015 and others has worked together with him.
Kayonga, must have had connections with the miners and the mineral extraction industry, which means they were able to work with him and also make the documentation legalized through his duplicated operation. That must have been the reason of the colonel Kayonga rise to fortune and possible collections of weapons, as he could have a stand-off with the army after desisting to stand down from his commission. Something he didn’t want to do. But first some context, before what happen today in Bukavu, as he wouldn’t accept, because it has been his racket for years. Take a look!
South Kivu export of Minerals to Rwanda:
“The situation in South Kivu is a little more difficult because of the confusion between the
commission against mining fraud, the SPC / South Kivu and the cell fight against mining fraud in
South Kivu led by Mr. ABBAS KAYONGA” (…) “ In Bukavu
information report that the head of the fight against mining fraud cell itself would be involved in
facilitating the smuggling of minerals to Rwanda. 3 main reasons seem to confirm this:
1. The people worked with the RCD (Congolese Rally for Democracy);
2. She lived in Rwanda for several years after reunification;
3. The creation of an anti-cell against mining fraud by the Governor of South Kivu parallel to
the national commission against mining fraud that has a focal point in South Kivu. To understand how the smuggling of minerals between the DRC and Rwanda was being harvested reliable data on the operation of networks operating in the minerals transit areas in Rwanda to Kigali Gisenyi, Kibuye and Shangugu” (SAM-PPA, 2015).
“The technical unit in charge of the field operations of the South Kivu mining commission, Kayonga Abbas, seized 60 tons of cassiterite, coltan and olfram in 2015. It handed over these minerals to the Police of the Mines. Their owners paid the public treasury a sum of 33,380 dollars to recover their parcel. Kayonga Abbas laments the involvement of some military officers in mining fraud” (Nyota, 2016).
“The Civil Society Coordination Office of South Kivu is delighted by the dismissal of Mr Abbas Kayonga from the Anti-Fraud Unit in South Kivu. Yesterday Wednesday night evening of the dead city around 19h, he would have been surprised to cross in Rwanda, a large shipment of tourmaline. He would have resisted the agents of the DGDA to the point of trying to come to arms. Fortunately he has been mastered. It is a sigh of relief for the population and especially the traders of South Kivu who were hunted down by the latter with imposition doublet, “says the message of Patient Bashombe” (…) “Remember that the anti-fraud cell of the province was a pure duplication of the DPMER. Thing that the civil society through the FEC have always lambasted. Despite the length of the night, the sun finally appears. Beware of all accomplices of fraud, embezzlement, corruption, … and other antivaleurs in the DRC, and particularly in South Kivu. These suicidal practices only accentuate the suffering of the people. The watchful eye of civil society is open and active. Here the opportunity to draw the attention of Governor Claude Nyamugabo to put order in the mining sector. There is food and drink, “says Patient Bashombe” (Lubambo, 2017)
“According to security officials, the police officers were deployed to the home of the head of the Anti-Fraud Service which had been suspended on 2 November by Governor Claude Nyamugabo for harassment. This official, prosecuted official sources, is being guarded by armed men who are known neither of the Army nor the Police. The same sources reveal that there would be a cache of weapons at his home in Muhumba” (Radio Okapi, 2017).
“Reports indicate that gun battle broke out following an attempt by the Governor of South Kivu province, Claude Nyamugabo, to arrest the provincial anti-smuggling Unit boss, Abbas Kayonga at his home in Muhumba Island. Sources on ground indicate that the Governor allegedly accuses Kayonga of involvement in fraudulent mining and asked him to resign after smuggled minerals were intercepted. It is believed that Kayonga refused to resign and resisted any attempt to arrest him, alleging that the confiscated smuggled minerals belonged to the sister of the area governor. Kayonga, guarded by private security, was seen with a fully loaded machine gun in his garden during the standoff in which grenades and bombs were going off in the area. The crossfire left two of his guards wounded and one of them later this afternoon was reportedly dead from bullet wounds. Eye witnesses say residents in the area were seen fleeing to avoid being caught up in the fracass. Meanwhile, other residents have taken advantage of the situation and looted a church and shops. “This has created losses for Rwandan traders.We have asked residents on Rwandan side to stay calm. We are talking to DRC officials who say that it’s an issue of indiscipline and it will resolved,” the Mayor of Rusizi, Harelimana Frederic said” (Sabiiti, 2017).
So clearly, the gig was up and the time for it stop had to appear. There been rumors of his connection to Rwanda and that he used his connections to build houses and buy land in Rwanda. While could clearly be connected with the mineral industry of Rwanda and their export networks, which is connected with the Kivu provinces. That has been going on for decades. He has just used the commission to make agreements and funds. If not he wouldn’t have all these guns and guards as a civil servant in Bukavu.
This is clearly stopping one racket out of plenty, who are living off and sponging off the mineral extraction and export from South Kivu province to far hinterland. Kayonga is just one out of many, but his story is an example of someone trying to make a government institution, when there already are one and is able to live off it for years. That is what the government has accepted and wonder why it took so long to stop it as well. Since they must have known about the double check-up and commissions who looks into the matter of mineral exports in the province. That is really unique and that Kinshasa has accepted this behavior is something you also should think about. I don’t have the answer, but a reasonable pay-off and envelopes between them might have occurred now and then. Peace.
Nyota – ‘Fraude minière: 60 tonnes de cassitérite et de coltan saisies au Sud-Kivu’ (17.02.2017) link: http://www.nyota.net/2016/02/17/fraude-miniere-60-tonnes-de-cassiterite-de-coltan-saisies-sud-kivu/
Lumbambo, Adonis – ‘Suspension d’Abbas Kayonga : Le bureau de coordination de la société civile du Sud-Kivu jubile et charge l’incriminé’ (02.11.2017) link: http://www.laprunellerdc.info/2017/11/02/suspension-dabbas-kayonga-le-bureau-de-coordination-de-la-societe-civile-du-sud-kivu-jubile-et-charge-lincrimine/
Radio Okapi – ‘Sud-Kivu : des tirs entendus depuis le matin à Bukavu’ (05.11.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/11/05/actualite/securite/sud-kivu-des-tirs-entendus-depuis-le-matin-bukavu
Sabiiti, Daniel – ‘Rwandan Traders Stranded At DRC Border As Gunfire Rocks Across’ (05.11.2017) link: http://ktpress.rw/2017/11/rwandan-traders-stranded-at-drc-border-as-gunfire-rocks-across/
Save Act Mine (SAM-PPA) – ‘INTERIM REPORT OF MONITORING PROGRAM OF THE CHAIN
APPROVISIONNMENT MINERALS’ (August-September 2015)
The instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been used by the other states in the Great Lakes Region. This has been done in the past by both Rwandan and Ugandan forces, even South Sudanese rebels has been on DRC territory at some point. Therefore, its a massive change that the Burundian support of rebels. Seems like it been used as propaganda tool by the Bujumbura government. That President Pierre Nkurunziza is using his CNDD-FDD youth militia the Imbonerakure, to create havoc at the neighbor country in collaboration with the Mai-Mai Yakutumba.
There is even an agreement flooding online between Mayi-Mayi Jejero Pelican and representative of the Burundian government Eltienne Ntakuratimana, who wrote an agreement on the 8th February 2017, where the Burundian counterparts would supply guns, ammunition and radios to the Mayi-Mayi group in response of taking out the Rwandan counterparts in the region.
So first after giving a short insight to who the Mayi-Mayi militia is, I will give one report on the Burundian enterprise in the Democratic Republic of Congo, before showing my thoughts on the manner. Where the different rumors are combined with critical thinking on the actors in the conflict of the Kivu’s. Who earns and what purpose. Take a look!
A tale of who the Mayi-Mayi or Mai-Mai is explained nicely here:
“This inter-community power conflict is shaped by and shapes antagonistic identities, which are firmly rooted in specific worldviews. In the case of the Mai Mai Yakutumba, this worldview is constructed around the idea of “autochthony”, or the concept of being a “Son of the Soil”, the “original” inhabitant of a certain zone. In this perspective, which is shared by almost all Mai-Mai groups in the DRC, the self-styled autochthonous groups are threatened by the Rwandophone communities (Hutu and Tutsi), who are seen as “foreigners” trying to take over their land and power. Betweeen 1996 and 2003, “autochthonous” and Tutsi (often Banyamulenge)-led groups clashed on numerous occasions in southern South Kivu, and there were several ethnically targeted massacres on both sides. The resulting mutual distrust and dislike continue to feed Mai Mai movements like the Yakutumba group, which serves to many Babembe as a psychological safeguard to avoid that the Banyamulenge will extend their power in Fizi and will come to dominate the Babembe” (…) “It is in part this function as a safeguard that makes Yakutumba fairly popular among the Babembe, although many do not approve of armed struggle and are tired of the war. What also contributes to Yakutumba’s popularity is that he is perceived to symbolize and embody what are seen as typical Bembe characteristics and values, such as resistance against domination and repression, not only from other ethnic groups, but also from the central government. This self-imagery is in part the product of a tradition of Bembe resistance dating back to the colonial era, the Mulele rebellion in the 1960s and the Fizi-based rebellion of Laurent-Désiré Kabila under the Mobutu regime. The Mai Mai Yakutumba place themselves explicitly in this tradition, which implies a strong animosity towards Kinshasa. They consider the regime of Kabila jr. to be complicit with the Rwandophones and their plan to ‘balkanize’ the DRC, backed by resource-hungry imperialist powers” (Verweijen, 2011).
This shows the plans and added support of the group from Burundi would serve their purpose, as well as give them strength to create havoc in the Kivu’s. Since they want power and be different than the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), also different from FDLR and ADF. Who all have been militias contributing to violence and weakening the control of these eastern states of the Republic. As well, being proof of the lacking control that the Central Government from Kinshasa has in the region. With all the eyes that we’re on M23 who has had armed insurgency and also tried to gain control of the area. It’s wouldn’t be the first try someone who has supported a group like Mayi-Mayi/Mai-Mai has done it in the Kivu’s, to show Kabila and his government, that they want to be a force to be recon with.
“Very few smart commentators aside. However, Gibert-Bécaud Njangwa, president of the association ONELOPE-Burundi (mobility) finds that the capture of Uvira by Yakutumba would destabilize peace and security in Bujumbura. He is not talking about a threat from some Burundian rebel group. But he suspects that behind Yakutumba is the invisible hand of the West: “It is very likely that Burundi is attacked by mercenaries from Congo Kinshasa so that the West can destabilize peace and security in the subregion. The Government of Burundi must be vigilant, if not the plan of destabilization is well conceived, planned, it can be executed from one moment to another” (…) “Another reading by the former communication commissioner of the Burundian opposition platform CNARED: “Uncontradicted evidence shows that Mai-Mai Yakutumba are working with Burundian intelligence, Imbonerakure militia in DRC, Interahamwe militiamen who are also allies of the Burundian regime. We have evidence that Mai-Mai Yakutumba are supplied with weapons from Bujumbura, we also know that elements of the regime are fighting alongside them. “(Ngendakumana, 2017).
If all of this isn’t bad enough, there are speculations that National pour le Renouveau et la Democratie (CNRD-Ubwiyunge) and Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who is Rwandan counterparts in the same region. CNRD-Ubwiyunge have been an armed militia who has tried to gain control. While the FDLR has been more trying to recoup strength to go back and take their motherland back again from the Rwandan Patriotic Front(RPF). Therefore, the troubles of the region, also transpires in the Kivu States. So, the problems and the power-struggle of Burundi is now reaching the mineral rich Kivu’s and Uvira.
There reports that both CNRD and FDLR has been fighting together with Mayi-Mayi this month and in the battles for Uvira this week. If that is likely or true, than it wouldn’t fit the pattern and the history of the Mayi-Mayi, but they are accepting foreign support from Burundi, so if they would use help of Rwandan supported groups. It would be more powerful and even stronger, in the region where the FARDC and MONUSCO is lacking manpower and resources. If they had enough and if they could, they would have been able to banish these groups long time ago, but the Kabila government is keeping them. Just like he is accepting insurgency from Kisoro, Uganda into Southern Kivu, since its from the friends that brought him into power.
There is even further conspiracy that Pierre Nkurunziza is working together with Joseph Kabila to make instability and insurgency, so that there is no need for another election and end of his term. Secondly, the support and the instability is made to make sure the FARDC could get support from French Government, which they can use to invade and control the Rwandan Government. That is only plausible, if the French wants to challenge Paul Kagame, since he has distanced himself from Paris during recent years. Thirdly, the Burundian government would use their relationship with Kabila and Paris to gain proper capital to their struggling economy. So the trade of arms to militias in Kivu Provinces, would enrich the weak Bujumbura government.
Sidebar: We can just wonder if even Emmanuel Macron would care about these places, since he is more into make-up, then international politics, just remember his ignorance towards the African continent earlier this year. Therefore, parts of me doubt it, but French involvement in regime change on the continent isn’t new, but would a risky project for the newly elected French President to pull-off. Even more seasoned leaders has struggled with doing so.
Sidebar II: It is more reasonable to use this insurgency to enforce the need for Kabila, just as the running battles in Kasai-Orientale, which has killed dozens and made massive amounts of mass-graves. So that his leadership could again regain peace, but this is different. Just like the sudden movement of M23 from camps in Kisoro in 2016 and early 2017, that just fitted the paradigm of using militias as pawns. The innocent lives in the Kivu Provinces to let Kabila government rule a little longer. The same could be possible yet again. This time instead of having either Rwandan or Ugandan supported militias, it would be the cash-strapped Burundian government, who would need the financial support and the trade with the groups. Clearly, it makes it more plausible, as the net of well-wishers are dwindling for Bujumbura as well.
We just have to wait and see, what is fact and what is fiction. What we do know is that that Bukavu and Uvira has seen violence and insurgency this last few days. That the DRC/RDC has seen militias growing in strength and if foreign states are interfering in the Kivu’s. Peace.
Ngendakumana, Phillipe – ‘Et si les Maï-Maï Yakutumba prenaient Uvira, la ville de Bujumbura serait-elle menacée?’ (30.09.2017) link: http://www.ikiriho.org/2017/09/30/burundi-rdc-mai-mai-yakutumba-prenaient-uvira-la-ville-de-bujumbura-serait-elle-menacee-monusco/
Verweijen, Judith – ‘Guest Blog: Profile of Mai-Mai Yakutumba’ (01.08.2011) link: http://congosiasa.blogspot.no/2011/08/guest-blog-profile-of-mai-mai-yakutumba.html