Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December.
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 18, 2018 – In a stark warning, three UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) – say time is running out to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Farmers – who fled due to conflict – have missed three consecutive planting seasons. This has left people with almost nothing to eat. Food assistance is failing to fill the gap. Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December. More than 750,000 are still displaced. Around 630,000 people have returned to their burned down villages after hiding in the forest, they must be helped to resume food production. Over ninety percent of rural communities depend entirely on agriculture.
“Agriculture is the only way to become productive again. Not only does it generate food and income for families, but it restores hope, dignity and self-reliance”, said Alexis Bonte, FAO Representative ad interim in the DRC.
The nutritional status of children is particularly critical. “At least 400,000 children under five have severe, acute malnutrition,” said UNICEF’s Acting Representative in the DRC, Tajudeen Oyewale. “They are likely to die unless they urgently receive health, water, sanitation and nutrition support. Longer-term food security must be restored and feeding and care practices improved so that children can have access to the adequate quality food they need.”
The UN and its partners are racing against time to feed the people of Kasai, fight malnutrition among its children and build resilience. But the odds are stacked against them: infrastructure is limited, security poor and the cash short.
“There are signs that donors are beginning to respond, but resources are woefully inadequate given to the scale of human suffering”, said WFP’s Country Director in DRC, Claude Jibidar. “The Congolese government and the international community must re-engage on all fronts to prevent a major famine in Kasai. Failure to do so, immediately and collectively, means many people will die.”
It is weird to write this again, but the last term of President Joseph Kabange Kabila lasted until a 16th December 2016. We are now on the 16th January 2018. That means the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has had a President without a term for a year and a month, or a total of 396 days. Kabila has been running the DRC without elections or stepped down for over a year.
He has himself been registered for elections twice without anything happening. There has also been insurgencies and all of them seems to be buying him time. The same can be said about what is happening as FARDC and UPDF are now together working to beat ADF in Southern Kivu. This has happen since December 2017, even if the UPDF went in before they had an official agreement.
Just like in early January 2017 former M-23 soldiers and leaders flee from Uganda and Kisoro into DRC. This also happen so the insurgency could be used for leverage. That was done and therefore, the same region needed more uncertainty and now the ADF is the new big-problem. Just as it has happen in the past. If it would be FDLR or Interahamwe, even if this would be mustered into new groups to create insecurity.
During the year, the FARDC General Akii Mundos is synonymous with the Beni Massacres, where he still inflict danger and violence in the region.
We can also question the sudden rise of the Mayi-Mayi attacks in May 2017 as well, since they we’re unofficially sponsored by Burundian government on wishes of Kinshasa. That happen also during the period of uncertainty created.
During the whole year, Kamunia Nsapu have during the year created hostility in Kasai-Oriental, where the state even wanted to hide their crimes and even UN Monitor’s was killed while following the evidence. There has been found dozens of mass graves in the region and still this hasn’t shocked the world and massive breaches of killings from the state. As the militia and FARDC has killed civilians and innocent people in general. While creating even more insecurity.
So the sudden changes of direct attacks on ADF seems like it follows the current paradigm of being insecurity managed to keep Kabila in power. I don’t wish this, but since he has hold himself without an official term for a year and month.
What we should know already is that he took power in January 2001, waited to be elected before 2006 and again 2011. This to the two presidential terms he could in the 3rd Republic. Well, in that figure, means that he had already bonus years that doesn’t count between 2001-2006. Meaning, he was able to postpone it back-then for 5 years before his first election. Now he is again using insurgency and violence to extend his term without an election. Even without changing the Constitution. That is the reason for the violence in insecurity. There is no other reason for it.
It isn’t anything beautiful, it is only more sinister activity in favor of the President Kabila. Kabila are using the military and insurgency to overstay. He uses his power, his leadership and his control until someone takes him away. I will never expect him to just step down. Then he would have done so over a year ago. He would have had an election during 2016. Something he never had, something he postponed for all sorts of reasons. There will come new reasons, CENI will find problems and lack of funding. Even if United States, United Kingdom and the EU offers funding for an election. This while Mineral Extraction continues, oil export and other profitable activity happens without proper taxation.
Kabila will not let this cash-cow go, he has had the control for over 16 years. He has had his terms and no plans of stepping down. Doesn’t matter if is his unpopular or insult the intelligence of his own people. Kabila will use insurgence and insecurity as a bargain chip to stay. Something he used to extend his first term until the first election. Now he is extending his last term with the same tactic. While it cost more and more people’s live for his to stay in power.
He will stay in power, no matter the cost. Kabila has proven that, he want to extend and not let it go. There is no proof that he wants to or has any significant plan of doing so. The army and the allies is still all around him. The important opposition is in the former colony safe-havens, while activists are either in jail or getting detained for standing up against him. Even the churches who march in protest are getting beaten, killed in the streets. Kabila will take anyone down who stands in his way. Just like he did in the previous times.
Kabila, will use the insurgency, insecurity and violence as bargain chip, as a method and use it for all its worth. Not caring for the innocent or the real cost of the action. But that it gives him to stay in Power and relinquish everything he hold dear, the money and the power. Peace.