Disintegration of DRC and birth of Tutsi Empire

I have just completed a thirty day mission (January/February 2010) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda. The buzz phrase was “Anglo-saxon neo-colonialism, possible disintegration of DRC and the birth of a Tutsi Empire”. The following report represents stories heard and interviews conducted formally and informally.

There is a strong feeling especially among Congolese that since the 1980s (Peter Phillips 2006) Anglo-saxons and allies have been trying to take over DRC and other countries in the Great Lakes region through Tutsi surrogates (who also coincidentally harbor the idea of establishing a Tutsi Empire in the region and possibly beyond) because of the region’s vast natural and human wealth and strategic advantages.

Congolese and others reasoned that the overthrow of the second Obote government in Uganda in 1985 and the eventual coming to power of Batutsi-led government in 1986 with Yoweri Museveni as leader (Museveni is considered a Tutsi {Jeffrey Herbst 2000}); the overthrow of the Habyarimana regime in Rwanda in 1994 and the coming to power of Batutsi-led government with Paul Kagame, a Mututsi, as leader; the second coming to power of Pierre Buyoya, a Mututsi, in Burundi in 1996 through a Batutsi military coup and; the overthrow in 1997 of the government of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire led by Batutsi from Rwanda, Eastern Zaire (now DRC), Burundi and Uganda was a prelude to the establishment of a Tutsi Empire by military means with foreign backing.

There are reports and stories that financial institutions and some donors perhaps inadvertently played a facilitating role by withdrawing support to governments before military take over. They reported that by withdrawing support the World Bank and IMF weakened and made unpopular the governments of Obote, Habyarimana and Mobutu making it easy for military or rebel groups to take over.

Many Congolese are convinced that if Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and other neighboring troops had not intervened in 1998/99 in DRC described as ‘Africa’s first world war’ the Great Lakes region and possibly beyond would be a Tutsi Empire – with Museveni as the first Tutsi Emperor! Museveni is often described as the ‘godfather’ of the new block of leaders (Foreign Affairs March/April 1998) in the Horn and Great Lakes regions.

Although the military option did not succeed (a second attempt cannot be ruled out), many people in the region still believe that Batutsi and their foreign backers are still determined to bring about fundamental changes in the region including the disintegration or Tutsi occupation of DRC through other means.

First, according to Filip Reyntjens (Journal of Modern African Studies 2005), “Kigali advanced the threat of genocide against the Congolese Batutsi as a justification for intervening [in DRC]. At the beginning of the first war [in 1996] Rwanda also created a great deal of confusion by suggesting that it ‘reclaimed’ territory in eastern Zaire. On 28 October 1996, President Bizimungu stated that ‘if Zaire wants to send the Banyamulenge back (to Rwanda), it should also give us back their lands that used to be Rwandan. The fact that he showed maps of the ‘greater Rwanda’, and that Paul Kagame called for the organization of a ‘Berlin II’ conference [Berlin I conference held from November 1884 to February 1885 paved the way for the scramble and eventual partition of Africa by European powers], fuelled the suspicion that Rwanda had territorial ambitions and reinforced the myth of the ‘Tutsi-Hima Empire’”. These developments have raised suspicions about the speed with which the East African political federation is being promoted through fast-track negotiations. Some have likened it to building a house starting with a roof instead of a solid foundation.

Second, many Congolese argued that the inclusion in DRC constitution of the notion of decentralization under external pressure is designed to precipitate the disintegration of the country. They pointed out that anyone who is familiar with what happened after Congo attained independence in 1960 with some regions opting for secession – dreams that are still being entertained – would not have suggested such an idea when the first priority is state construction and integration.

Third, the manner in which some development partners have chosen to support regions and sectors over others regardless of DRC government priorities is reminiscent of the scramble for Africa. Some officials in central and provincial governments confessed that they had no idea how much donor money and experts are in the country much less what they are doing. The development partners that were consulted did not deny that that was happening. They instead complained that the central government had no capacity to coordinate aid implying that donors were making choices as to regions and sectors using criteria set by them.

Regarding the principal potential Anglosaxon neo-colonialist, there was a unanimous chorus – the British! They underscored that UK had become the major private investor and donor in the region especially in Rwanda and Uganda. The names of British officials active in the region included Baroness Linda Chalker, Tony Blair, Clare Short and Baroness Kinnock. The admission of Rwanda into the Commonwealth is seen as a consolidation of British influence in the region relying on Tutsi whom they used in Uganda (in Rujumbura county of Rukungiri district and former Ankole district) during the colonial days and are using in the whole of Uganda since 1986 under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni.

As to why Anglo-saxons have chosen to use Tutsi agents, Adam Jones (2006) has observed regarding Rwanda that “In the divide-and-rule tradition, Tutsi became colonial favorites and protégés. In part this reflected the Tutsi’s minority status – it is often easier for colonizers to secure the allegiance of a minority, which recognizes that its survival may depend on bonds with the imperial authority”.

Many people in the region are of the view that should the Tutsi Empire idea continue to be entertained and implemented it will most likely lead to another Somalia because they will not allow it to disintegrate DRC or take the whole of it together with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda and compress them into a Tutsi Empire.

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