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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 11:49 GMT
DR Congo: What should the international community do?
The death of President Kabila could plunge one of Africa's largest countries into further chaos.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The instability in Congo has already affected the whole region, with Rwanda and Uganda supporting rebel groups, and Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola fighting on the government's side.
Neighbouring countries have to cope with thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting. The United Nations has agreed that a peacekeeping force will be deployed once the fighting stops.
What should be done? Should the international community get involved immediately? Or should this problem be dealt with by African countries?
A selection of your e-mails will be broadcast on Focus on Africa during the 1705 edition on Saturday.
Lhaj Marcos, USA
The death of Kabila could also mark the end of bloodshed and chaos in Congo. The Western view of Africa is fatalistic and simplistic. It is too preoccupied with what could go wrong with the continent.
First and foremost all foreign countries involved in DRC should pull out and UN peacekeepers be allowed in. A government of national unity should then be formed to be followed later by free and fair elections supervised by the UN. Meanwhile an inquiry commission should be set up to investigate each country which got involved in the crisis and make public how much of the natural resources of Congo they have taken. These should be paid back to the people of Congo by any means necessary. God bless Congo, God bless Africa.
The international community should get involved in the resolution of the wars in the Great Lakes region by first and foremost providing the platform for an international conference that will deal with wars in Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi and Angola.
Africans stop fighting!
The wars in Africa have a tragic impact for the rest of the world. This is due to the fact that Africans today cannot afford the basic needs for themselves. For example, I remember when I was a little boy in the 1970's, Sierra Leone was able to produce its own food. And today, it cannot even feed its people because of corrupt governments. I hope one day Europe, the US and the rest of the world will let Africa stand on its own two feet and stop sponsoring these corrupt leaders who put their countrymen in senseless wars.
Vivian Thunyani, UK/ Malawi
By turning this issue over to regional political organisations within Central Africa we give the region legitimacy. If they choose to fight it out, then so be it. Hopefully, President Bush will keep his hands off this one for the sake of the world community.
It looks like the chronic instability in DR Congo will not improve without outside help. The other African nations involved lack legitimacy and are only hunting for copper mining rights anyway. The alternative is the UN, but that august body has demonstrated absolute incompetence in the past and should not be trusted now. The solution may be for a peaceable occupation by Nato.
I don't offer a strategy on dealing with the situation in DR Congo, but I do find it strange that the US (acting through the UN Security Council) is threatening to ban the diamond trade in Liberia because of alleged co-operation with Sierra Leonean rebels. Why not this serious concern with the situation in DR Congo? Could diamonds have anything to do with it? Again the West shows that their only interest in Africa is economic. All that talk about human rights and democracy is just talk.
Kabila's unfortunate assassination should be a mixed blessing to most Pan-Africanists. It puzzles many why Joseph was so instantly and technically made to succeed his father. The Lusaka Accord is the solution. While the OAU and UN should intervene immediately, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Uganda and Rwandan forces should pull out almost immediately. Let the will of the people rule supreme in the Congo.
Amin Kiggundu, Uganda
Whatever has to be done in DRC, it has to be done quickly. I think that the UN has to take this temporary peace and make it last.
The new RDC leader has to open a new chapter and say, enough is enough, for the sake of the citizens of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. As long as a threat to these countries continues, peace is questionable
Tony, USA (ex SA)
I do not know if any international bodies have ever done anything for Africa really. The only people who can bring peace to themselves are Africans themselves, like Mandela did. We can only count on these international bodies when we have natural disasters like floods (Mozambique) otherwise when it comes to peace they just do not have any idea!
The only way that ordinary Congolese (and other similarly afflicted Africans) will be able to live in peace will be if their leaders get the message that democratisation and human rights are not just glib words for leaders, but need to be made realities for people. The citizens of these countries should be empowered to take part in the decisions that affect them - unlike the situation now. The problem is, are these leaders being sent this message? Or are they receiving conflicting messages from the international community that seem prepared to forgive a lot in a country with mineral wealth?
Africa must handle (or not handle) its own problems. Constant intervention of Western countries does not allow for learning through trial and error by those involved. Progress will come only when the people involved decide they've had enough and decide to leave the past behind. Money and troops won't solve essentially cultural and tribal problems.
Hard though it may be to break the habit of assuming we know best, maybe its time the western nations just kept out of it and let the region sort out its own affairs. Given the legacy of colonialism and cold war politics we have already left in Africa, we have no moral authority here.
S Griffiths, Zimbabwean in UK
The international community should not just look at these old guard but look at the youth who have some insight of bringing change to Africa.
Nothing. Let Africa handle this alone for goodness sake. The west has meddled enough in this troubled part of the world, might I suggest this is the root cause of its current malaise. Until Africa is allowed to take charge of its own destiny, there is little hope for long term stability. Maybe there will be turmoil but it's imperative that things are permitted to take their natural course
Here we go again. Another African country asking for our help. One moment the West is being told to leave Africa alone and allow them to deal with the own problems and rule themselves but when there's trouble we're asked to deal with it and rectify the situation. Africa is a huge continent with many countries, can these problems not be sorted out within these countries. Africa wants the West's money and military might when it suits them. We should stay out of Africa and deal with our own problems, of which there are many.
DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe, all very mineral wealthy countries who's economies are a disgrace. The incompetence and corruption is an international disgrace and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. Leave them alone and watch what happens.
The only other solution is to have the people of each country throw out these parasites and then the international community can at last do something constructive to help. I feel terribly sorry for the people of these nations.
The UN, OAU and other international agencies have long existed and will continue to forestall peace in war torn countries but the solution to these problems lies with our leaders. Why can't they allow democracy to prevail at all times? I do not believe that DR. Congo is too large a country to govern. Leadership is all about the rule of law and African dictators must conform to this statute. I wish to urge all Congolese to act cautiously to avoid any disturbances of peace. The international community should lend a hand in restoring democracy to the land and they must do this through dialogue.
Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait ten years ago and the international community stepped in very rapidly to kick Iraq out because it was a violation of an international law. Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have done exactly the same by invading the Congo and the international community has done nothing against them. The international law applies to everyone and the international community can't just stand by and watch foreign troops do what they want in the Congo. It is up to the Congolese people to sort out their internal problems, however it is the responsibility of the international community to make sure Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi are punished if they don't pull out of the heart of Africa immediately.
Africa's problems come from a variety of factors, including the borders inherited from colonial powers. But sorting out those borders is a matter for Africans. Europe wouldn't have thanked or expected any outside powers to interfere with it's affairs in the past and neither should Africa today.
Innocent Pikirayi, England
I think this is the time for Africans, especially those in conflict-laden countries, to sit down and make personal commitments for the cause of peace. The power hungry, blood loving leaders should give a chance to the true sons of Africa, who are committed to making the children of Africa live in peace in their rich continent.
It's ironic that most of these African countries fuelling the war in DR Congo have always complained of external interference from the First World. Now, why are they poking their noses into that country's affairs? My strongest appeal to them is to help DR Congo build a stable government and not get involved in the fighting.
Jim Raye, USA
Kabila didn't follow the West's orders and was assassinated like Lumumba almost forty years to the day. The eagerness of Western governments and those who support the aggression on Congo to proclaim Kabila dead betrays their deepest desires. My heart goes out to the people of Congo who have already suffered too much under the West, from the genocide perpetrated by King Leopold, to the brutal rule of Mobutu, to the US-backed Rwandan/Ugandan invasion.
The fate of the Congo president is an
internal matter that only the people
of Congo can deal with. However,
the rest of the world should be
ready to help out if asked.
The US should lead this effort and get its C-17 and C5 aircraft airborne as soon as a new government is formed in Kinshasa. In my view, the US should do this whether Kabila is dead or alive. The Western community of nations never gave Kabila a chance, and the price has been paid by the Congolese people. Over 2 million displaced through Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian invasion. We need to launch help right now. The Congo does matter.
Nothing. Except possibly this: set up a reliable puppet as President and send in some effective management consultants to set the country straight and turn their pathetic economy into something reflecting the huge wealth of the country. Come to think about it this has already been done by Belgium. Short of re-colonising the country we can only watch as they squabble, fight and corrupt their country. Let them be.
At this juncture, it is very urgent that the international community steps in like they have done in the past. Leaving this issue to the forces from African countries will just escalate the problem. It is important to note that when you are intransigent, you pay the price. This problem should not have arisen. If it happens in the Congo, it will spill over into Zambia and the whole area will be up in flames.
Hosam, Boston, USA
The international community is reputed for doing too little too late while the OAU is reputed for empty talk. Let the international community handle things differently this time around by stepping in while there is still time to salvage the situation.
It seems reasonable to leave the
matter to the African countries.
The international community should
only use its position to put pressure
on either side.
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