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'Oh, Kagame is such a sweetie': after much cajoling, Rwanda has signed a peace agreement with Congo. But will it withdraw its troops as promised? Only the godfathers know. (Congo/Rwanda).

Six years after his first troops landed in Congo to "help" chase out Mobutu, the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, finally came round to sign a peace deal with his Congolese counterpart, Joseph Kabila Joseph Kabila Kabange (born June 4, 1971), known commonly as Joseph Kabila, became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ten days after the murder of his father, in January 2001. , on 30 July.

Signed in Pretoria, South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , the deal provides for the withdrawal in "90 days" of Rwanda's Tusti-led army from Congo in exchange for Kinshasa's demobilisation Noun 1. demobilisation - act of changing from a war basis to a peace basis including disbanding or discharging troops; "demobilization of factories"; "immediate demobilization of the reserves"
, disarmament and repatriation Repatriation

The process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one's own country.

If you are American, converting British Pounds back to U.S. dollars is an example of repatriation.
 of thousands of Hutus and former Rwandan soldiers--the Interahamwe militia particularly--accused of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The agreement has been widely welcomed across the world, including by the UN Security Council, AU, EU, and America. The wide acceptance has come despite the fact that the deal does nor address Rwanda's role in the Congo war and the more than 3.5 million Congolese since dead from the war.

In mid August, UN observers found 110 hacked-up bodies in Bunia in northeastern Congo where Ugandan troops have been fighting on the side of the Hema militia against the Lendu over control of territory. At the time of going to press, the Ugandans, who are the godfathers of both the Hema and Lendu militias, were in full control of Bunia. Another mass grave A mass grave is a grave containing multiple, usually unidentified human corpses. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave.  containing dozens of bodies was discovered on 12 August in Kisangani, controlled by Rwanda.

The agreement signed in Pretoria does not address the role of the foreign aggressors in the looting of Congo's natural resources, with the complicity of the rebels and the backing of Britain, America and Western multinationals.

The deal does not also address the Congolese concerns about the blatant Rwandan attempt to annex the eastern part of Congo where Rwanda has recently started circulating its currency, and has also extended its national telephone code.

Paul Kagame has been compared to a "tree that hides the forest" because he enjoys the backing of Britain and America to have a free rein in Congo. As such, Rwanda, the tiniest country in Central Africa, has become the most influential in the region.

The British daily, The Daily Telegraph, reported on 8 August that critics of Rwandan expansionism ex·pan·sion·ism  
A nation's practice or policy of territorial or economic expansion.

ex·pansion·ist adj. & n.
 have accused Clare Short Clare Short (born 15 February, 1946) is a British politician and a member of the British Labour Party. She is currently the Independent Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood, having been elected as a Labour Party MP in 1983, and was Secretary of State for International , the British international development minister, of providing major funding for Kagame's government while turning a blind eye to Rwandan atrocities in Congo.

The Financial Times, another British daily, has also revealed that the British government now gives Rwanda $36m a year just "to cover its budget deficit". And this is a nation that has been fighting a destructive war in a neighbouring country since 1998!

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 The Daily Telegraph, when senior UN officials challenged Clare Short about the liberal British policy towards Kagame, the free-talking minister replied: "Oh, but he is such a sweetie!".

In a White House press briefing following the peace deal in Pretoria, Pierre Prosper, the State Department ambassador-at-large for War Crimes, said: "We want to see Rwanda withdraw from the Congo. But we also want to see Congo take steps to address Rwanda's security concerns."

Yet Prosper did not utter one word about the Rwandan atrocities in Congo and the 3.5 million Congolese who have been massacred or died from the war. They don't matter--only the one million Rwandan genocide The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War.  victims matter to the State Department, apparently!

Little surprise, therefore, that when Prosper was asked whether the US would impose sanctions in case Rwanda failed to withdraw its troops from Congo, he suddenly lost his powers of clarity:

"What you can see and expect from the US," he fumbled, "is a country that will be engaged with the parties in the region, will work with South Africa as the broker of the peace agreement to find a way to move this process forward by way of a 'monitoring mechanism'."

In plain English Plain English (sometimes known, more broadly, as plain language) is a communication style that focuses on considering the audience's needs when writing. It recommends avoiding unnecessary words and avoiding jargon, technical terms, and long and ambiguous sentences. , Prosper meant, in effect, that the US will impose no sanctions. So much for acting as an impartial policeman of the world!

This was in sharp contrast to remarks made by the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan Kofi Atta Annan (born April 8, 1938) is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1 1997 to January 1 2007, serving two five-year terms. He was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. , to the Security Council meeting on Congo on 8 August. He called the peace deal "an ambitious agenda whose objectives could only be met if the international community invested all its energy and resources".

A diplomatic source told New African New African is an English-language monthly news magazine based in London. Published since 1966, it is read by many people across the African continent and the African diaspora.  that "Kagame will definitely have the last word on the agreement. He will be able to dispute the number of the Interahamwe living in Congo. So 'a new war of numbers' will emerge.

"The Congolese government says there are no Hutu militia in the territories under its control after it rounded up 2,000 of them at Kamina. But Kagame disputes it. He estimates that there are more than 50,000."

The source added: "Kagame is also afraid of withdrawing his 35,000 troops from Congo, most of whom have nor been paid since the invasion of 1998, while his top generals have amassed wealth looted in Congo and have built beautiful villas throughout Rwanda. Many Rwandan soldiers have died in Congo and their families are claiming the bodies back. Kagame has no answer for them. He is, therefore, nor in a hurry to withdraw his troops from Congo."

Whatever happens, "Sweetie Kagame" will always find more pretexts to brandish bran·dish  
tr.v. bran·dished, bran·dish·ing, bran·dish·es
1. To wave or flourish (a weapon, for example) menacingly.

2. To display ostentatiously. See Synonyms at flourish.

 in order to cling to the "land of milk and honey land of milk and honey

land of fertility and abundance. [O.T.: Exodus 3:8, 33:3; Jeremiah 11:5]

See : Abundance

land of milk and honey

proverbial ideal of plenty and happiness. [Western Cult.
" that his troops have found in Congo.
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Article Details
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Author:Bafalikike, Lokongo
Publication:New African
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6ZAIR
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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