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Rebel Leader's Threat to Take Over DRC Draws Objections from Countrymen

VOA News - November 20, 2008

Clottey Interview With Shamave Miruho - Download (MP3) audio clip
Clottey Interview With Shamave Miruho - Listen (MP3) audio clip

ęSerge Farnel

Some Congolese are warning renegade army General Laurent Nkunda that they would make life difficult for him if he goes ahead with his threat to take over the country. They are accusing the rebel leader of fighting an unjustified war, which has led to the loss of lives and property and an escalation in the number of people adversely affected by the rebel insurgency. The rebel leader is accusing President Joseph Kabila's government of failing the nation by what he calls selling out the country to the Chinese and co-operating with criminals. Nkunda also warns that he aims to take over the country if President Kabila fails to hold direct talks with him. But the government has dismissed his threats as baseless. From the eastern DRC town of Bukavu, political analyst Shamave Miruho tells reporter Peter Clottey he believes the rebel leader is making empty threats.

"The people are reacting negatively to those Nkunda declarations. The people are not happy with what is going on in North Kivu. You see there have been too many killings. Thousands of people have been killed, and there are tens and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, and there is in fact a calamity since the situation is chaotic. And people don't really think that Nkunda would ever be able to go to Kinshasa," Miruho noted.

He said Congolese would make their opposition to a military takeover advocated by the rebel leader known by going in the streets to protest such an action.

"The reaction, which is predictable for the moment, is a general demonstration all over the country. Very recently, when intense fighting started going on in North Kivu, you might have heard that there were series of demonstrations all around the country showing their anger. The people were unhappy and expressed their anger towards Nkunda and his group. And if ever he takes over the whole country, sooner or later they would have to demonstrate to change the situation because no one would be ready to be ruled by a person who killed thousands of people in a war which is not justified," he said.

Miruho said there seem to be strong opinions that the rebel leader might not have the military capability to take over the country.

"People cannot believe that Nkunda would be able to take over the country as he has been threatening because the rebel leader does not have enough force to take over the whole country," Miruho pointed out.

He said President Kabila has not kept his word of protecting the people in restive north Kivu province.

"Of the several times he (President Kabila) came to the eastern part of the country where the war is going on, he promised the population that he would put an end to the war very soon. But he has not been able to do that. You know, he was mostly elected in the eastern part of the Congo, and if he was just deceiving the population, then, well, he would be the loser at the next election," he said.

Miruho said President Kabila is refusing to have direct negotiations with the rebels because there seem to be growing perceptions that outsiders are supporting Laurent Nkunda's rebel insurgency in North Kivu Province.

"There are outsiders behind Nkunda, and to negotiate with Nkunda when he is with outsiders would be shameful for the government which was elected by the people, and that is it," Miruho noted.

The renegade army general, who is the leader of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebel group, said that after taking over the reins of government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country would take over a seat representing Africa in the United Nations Security Council within five years.

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