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Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Congo war: No way out?
Once again a crucial summit of African leaders on the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has failed in its attempt to revive the peace agreement signed in Lusaka a year ago.
Two years after the rebellion started, peace continues to elude the DR Congo. What is the way out? Can a solution be found?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Andrew Limo, Kenyan/ UK
The only way out of the Congo-Kinshasa crisis is for both Kabila and the rebel leaders, including their allies, to realise that they have only succeeded in ruining Congo.
The DRC problem is not as simple as people think as there are far too many hidden sides to it. The international community should not sit there waiting to solve problems when they get worse - it should pour water onto the fire before it spreads.
Britain, France and the United States have a lot at stake. I don't know where Kabila, Kagame and Museveni would find the resources to finance this stupid war, if not from their respective colonial masters, who at the expense of Africans are out to re-colonise the Congo region.
The UN should ban all sales of diamonds from DR Congo for, say, 5 years and within weeks all the non-Congolese parties will leave. It is the business opportunities and money that makes them stay, not the well-being of the Congolese people!
J. Knight, UK
The world has to realise that if the conflict in Central Africa is not resolved, the consequences will not only be human loss but also economic. The world is enjoying an economic stability which could be destroyed if the war in the Congo continues.
Yet again, the International Community has shown an astonishing degree of naivety by attempting to negotiate with an African warlord. As long as warfare remains so lucrative for the Kabilas of my continent, there is very little that can be done, except perhaps to do the unthinkable - confiscate all foreign and ill-gotten assets belonging to them and their fellow bandits.
Kabila is crazy and he will end up like his predecessor with the difference that he will die without a single coin in his pocket.
Get the armies of your favourite African countries, Uganda and Rwanda out of the Congo and you will witness movement towards the resolution of the Congo problem. Notice, I have not asked for the withdrawal of Zimbabwe troops. They should stay in the country for the foreseeable future. They are a stabilising force.
The only way out is for Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola to get out of Congo. Secondly, Kabila must go as we did not elect him as president. Finally, we Congolese should sit around the table, solve our differences and elect a young man or woman who is well educated and civilised to govern our country.
A solution to the war in the Congo is in my opinion unrealistic. All five squabbling nations are fighting for one main reason, Congo's bountiful minerals. Not one of these countries will cease this brutal war unless each is promised some stake in Congo's riches. But Laurent Kabila will not be inclined whatsoever to relinquish any of his valued mines or oil fields. So in the end the fighting will continue and each leader of the fighting nations will enrich themselves while the people of the Congo suffer.
Nebiyou, Ethiopia/ USA
The people of Congo have shown that they despise the Rwandese and the Ugandan armies. Peace will not come through signatures, it will only come when Rwanda and Uganda leave Congo.
Of course, there is a way out: Rwanda, Ouganda and Burundi have to leave DRC and the war is over. The Congoleses can then tackle their internal problems while the Hutu and Tutsi can deal with their own in Rwanda, Burundi and Ouganda.
It seems as though Mr Kabila likes to shine on the international stage when attending meetings. However, he has no vision for his country and people.
I can't see any way out of the DRC problem.
The key issue there, as in much of Africa, is the lack of capable and dedicated leaders. There are of course, other obstacles such as that of the negative interference of some foreign powers, but that's not as bad as the lack of leadership.
Cyprus is still divided 20 years after the UN moved in and set up a peace corridor. I think it's time for Rwanda and Uganda to go home and let the Congolese resolve their problems alone.
As I see it, the DRC has to rebuild its political system almost from scratch. And to do this, I think the country needs a strong leader who has the ability to put in place the building blocks for a modern stable political system (e.g. Museveni, Mugabe, etc). I really believe that the leaders of SADC are fully committed to creating a stable DRC so that the region can develop. I fear that if Kabila is not up to the task, the country could fragment. And this would be very bad news for Africa at this point in its history as it could be a catalyst for the fragmentation of many other African countries.
Jeffrey Kisukye, Uganda resident in US
The way out of this war is to sanction anything and everybody who are involved in fueling this war. Kabila and the rebels should be forced to see the suffering of the people and realise the need for peace. If the rebels can agree to the peace process, why is Kabila not able to see that the people of Congo need peace and unity?
I think the only way to put an immediate end to the conflict is for the international community, with the backing of the major world powers, to take as active a role in the DRC as they have in places such as former Yugoslavia. This, unfortunately, is wishful thinking. DRC just isn't as strategically important as it was during the days of Lumumba, and the leaders are so hell-bent on seizing power, no matter who they have to crush in the process of doing so. A very sad situation indeed.
Everybody should go home and leave us citizens solve our problems or perish with them.
It is very frustrating for the Congolese people. Without the UN, the Congo is going to have a lot of difficulties rebuilding its economy. Kabila and his allies should soften their stand and give peace a chance. Regardless of your optimism, neither side is going to win in this conflict. But every African, especially Congo's youths are paying a heavy price. Every minute this conflict continues, the DR Congo takes five steps backwards.
Obviously Mr Kabila needs war in order to stay in power. As long as there is fighting, no elections can be held. It must be remembered that his government does not have the acceptance of the majority of the people. He came to power with the help of Rwandan and Ugandan guns, and only guns can secure that power even now. He has no creative ideas how to save his country from chaos, and it is slowly tearing the country and its people apart. He will keep on fighting until he has gathered enough wealth so that he can run away and spend the rest of his life in luxury.
Denford Madenyika, Zimbabwe
I think the only way out of the war in the DRC is the total withdrawal of foreign armies, and the first to go must be the uninvited ones, namely the Rwandan and Ugandan armed forces.
Although Kabila may seem to be responsible for the failure of the recent peace talks on Congo, the main cause of the trouble is the weakness of the Congolese state after Mobutu and the greed of the rulers of neighbouring countries. These countries are plundering the rich natural resources of Congo under the guise of safeguarding their national security interests. The real losers in this senseless war are the Congolese people and the families of the foreign soldiers fighting in Congo.
The United Nations should take action once and for all. They should put sanctions on Zimbabwe and the will to end the war in D.R.Congo.
The war in the DRC cannot and will not stop unless the Super Powers (Clinton and Tony Blair) stop aiding Rwanda and Uganda militarily. Why should Africans kill their fellow brothers and sisters just for fun?
Kabila was given the recognition befitting a statesman before little was even
known about what he stood for. It has now become clear that he had no agenda beyond his continued occupation of the highest office in the land.
He is merely bent on frustrating any efforts aimed at bringing about a change of the status quo. His is an attempt to continue to rule without even holding elections so he can continue to plunder the vast resources of the country with the
Mugabes of this world who financed the overthrow of Mobutu. Kabila is the main problem in the Congo and it is time leaders in the region realised this and applied more pressure on him. If Kabila is not ready to change, then it may even be better to threaten his country with expulsion from SADC.
Mamadou Diallo, Guinea in USA
There is a way out of the DRC quagmire but unfortunately the politics of destruction rule the day. A few people, well known and not so well known, are getting extremely wealthy on the back of the misery and destruction of the Congolese state.
09 Sep 99 | Africa
Timeline: The conflict in the DR Congo
30 Jun 00 | Africa
Congo's unhappy birthday
15 Aug 00 | Africa
Congo peace talks fail
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