Opinion: Okello Oryem is mocking the wrong partners with MONUSCO

In an Interview with NTV this morning, the minister for foreign affairs in charge of international relations Okello Oryem said Uganda “does not need the help of the UN” which he says they consider as a “useless group” that has allegedly preserved terrorism in Congolese soil. “We have no good words for them, they have been there for long but what have they done? As far as we are concerned, we do not want their military assistance, even if they offer us a cup of tea, we do not need it,” said Mr Oryem” (Ritah Kemigisa – ‘Uganda doesn’t need UN’s help for DRC mission- Oryem’ 02.12.2021, KFM.co.ug).

The hubris and the arrogance is clear as the Minister Henry Okello Oryem who is is now downplaying the role of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is starting their gradual exit strategy from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). MONUSCO is based in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, which the UN based mission is to stop the militias with disarmament and demobilization of them. In such a way, that the MONUSCO is there to be the civilians’ protection.

It is really striking that the Ugandan Minister is mocking and not wanting to work with MONUSCO now. This mission was first established in 1999 as MONUC and got a new mandate in 2010. While in 2020 the mandate changed and they are starting already to back-out. Therefore, the UN Mission is dwindling down. As well, as there are new militias and foreign interference in the region of which the Ugandan army entered yet again.

MONUSCO is partly created by the interference of Ugandan troops within the DRC. Not that the Ugandan armies was alone in these wars or always been welcomed to enter the DRC. The UPDF and Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) have both entered it. As well, as both nations have been involved in supporting militias, rebels and armed groups within the DRC. That is well-known and they re-appear at certain stages. Just like the UPDF have been inside the DRC before on specialized operations towards certain targets.

Okello Oryem is just showing how the Ugandans elites and the ones within the regime is thinking about it. It is their rights to attack and be part of military operations within the DRC. Since, they don’t want anything with the UN or MONUSCO. I wonder, if Okello Oryem would accept similar feelings in Somalia between the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which the latter UPDF is a pat of. I wonder, if Okello Oryem and all of the Ugandan hierarchy would like to be painted in similar fashion. Because, there is two sides to any coin and this is a foolish take.

Yes, MONUSCO isn’t perfect and neither is it’s mission. There has been continued insurgency and lack of territorial integrity, which the Ugandan and Rwandan counter-parts has supported and participated with. That is well-known and is a reason for the illegal export of resources from the provinces as well. Therefore, Okello Oryem should be a bit more humble, but I know that’s too much to ask for in 2021.

Okello Oryem could suddenly wake up and bite the dust. Since, his just showing a lot of flair. Nevertheless, we know the trouble will return and be a real issue. There isn’t only the ADF in Ituri, North and South Kivu provinces. There is several of other militias and guerrillas in the provinces and they are causing massive concern and is a silent war that never ends. They are invested in, given arms and training. This is deliberate and the joint operation will not stop this… sadly…

MONUSCO will not end this and they being gone will not stop the existence either. As long as the head of state and foreign interference for profits continues. The insecurity and usage of militias will continue.

It is like we are supposed to be naive and forget how this all started. The UPDF and RDF is responsible for a lot of the pain. The two nations have used the provinces and the DRC as a treasury chest for them. While using the same means to re-enter again and for some reason the Kinshasa government allows that to happen. This is even happening, as the State of Emergency in this regions are occurring. That is really tragic…

Okello Oryem should think about what he says. Since this could be easily said about the UPDF within the AMISOM. Which the SNA and Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) only creates more problems within Somalia. Alas, he as a diplomat should be more careful, but I don’t expect it to ever happen. Peace.

UN Expert Report says that DRC gold smuggling increased during COVID-19 lockdown to Burundi and Rwanda…

Yet again there are exploits of conflicts and the resources. The latest UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) establishes this fact. This isn’t a shocking revelation, as this has persisted for so long. The illicit and trade of minerals in the DRC to the neighbours have been going on for years. Where the militias and other “rebel” outfits have exploited the porous borders.

What was striking was a few of the sentences and that this of business continues. That the ones enriching themselves continues in haste. Producing, exporting and trading illicit gold. This is being exploited and extracted in the DRC. Later illegally exported to Burundi and Rwanda. We know this also happens to Uganda in the report. However, they have not stated the scale there. As we know the Gold Refinery in Entebbe for illegal gold exports.

Here is excerpts from the Report:

Three mining authorities confirmed that cross-border gold smuggling between South Kivu (see S/2020/482, annex 45) and Burundi and Rwanda had increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Two authorities explained that this was because, while gold production continued, border closures reduced the value of dollars hand-carried into the Democratic Republic of the Congo for illicit gold transactions. According to official mining data, 30.6 kg of gold were officially exported from South Kivu between January and October 2020, while official gold production was 7.1557 kg between January and September 2020 according to mining authority data” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 19, 2020).

The Group noted that, as was also the case in 2019 (see S/2020/482, annex 16), as of October 2020 official recorded gold production for South Kivu was far lower than the volume of gold exported. Total gold production as of September 2020 was 7155.7 grams, while exports were 30.6 kilograms for the year up to October 2020. Following the COVID-19 border closures, only two gold trading comptoirs – Etablissement Namukaya and Etablissement ML – exported gold in the second half of 2020 until the time of drafting this report. Bukavu-based gold trading house Mines Propres SARL suspended its operations in South Kivu as of February 2020, but confirmed to the Group that construction of Congo Gold Raffinerie (see S/2020/482, annex 25) continued in its place (Karim Somji, an associate of Congo Gold Raffinerie also owns Mines Propres SARL” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 186, 2020).

This here story isn’t a new, but it shows a pattern. Where there is more production than recorded. More gold produced than what is initially registered. This here is proof of the illicit trade, as the records itself states.

The Est. Namukaya is even mentioned an export to Kampala to Muzira Bravia Ltd. A company the UN Group of Experts couldn’t find in a registry. Therefore, that is easy an front and not the true company who imported this gold. That could easily be another concealment.

However, all this here just shows that its big business to trade gold illegally and illicit trade of conflict minerals. Where the DRC is not getting reported wealth out of their resources. While the militias and others are profiting on the mines. That is reality of this. Peace.

RDC: Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) – Communique Final – Des Travaux de la Deuxieme Retraite Politique d’Evaluation du Front Commun pour le Congo (08.11.2020)

RDC: Le Congo n’est pas à vendre – Un tribunal americain ordonne $135 millions en restitution aux actionnaires de la mine Kalukundi touchee par la corruption en RD Congo, alors que le Congo reste inactif (05.11.2020)

RDC: Lucha – Communique relatif a notre invitation aux « consultations » initiees par le President Felix Tshisekedi (05.11.2020)

RDC: Ensemble pour la Republique – Communique de Presse du Conseil des Sages de Ensemble pour la Republique (02.11.2020)

RDC: MONUSCO – Note du BCNDUH sur les Principales Tendances des Violations des Droits de l’Homme en Septembre 2020 (30.10.2020)

RDC: Amani Institute – Communique de Presse No. 009 – La Situation s’aggrave et risque de devenir encontrolable (28.10.2020)

RDC: Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC) – Note Circulaire a l’Attention des Chefs de Corps et Animateurs des Differentes Structures du Parti (Tous) – (30.10.2020)

RDC: Declaration Politique de la Conference des Presidents U Regroupement – Alliance pour l’Avenir AA/s en sigle (24.10.2020)

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