Mugabe Up To His Old Tricks Again in The DRC

It was the War in the DRC that broke the Zimbabwean economy. That was the war that set us on the slippery slope to economic ruin and the Moustached One is at is again.

For in-depth coverage, the Mail and Guardian would be a good place to start, but for your Executive Summary, here goes: Backed by Rwanda, Laurent Nkunda has invaded the DRC and is causing mayhem in the western part of the country, around the Goma region. That devastation can now be seen from space on Google Earth.

Nkunda now accuses Zimbabwe and Angola of widening the conflict by wading back into the fray. Zimbabwe denies this. The fighting has now displaced a whole load of people and it is increasingly clear that this provocation is at the behest of Rwanda. But President Kagame's motive in all this is not all that clear. Some think that it has to do with his territorial ambitions. Rwanda is such a small country and it is believed that Kagame wants to expand its size by encouraging the Western parts of the DRC to break away. Western DRC has a sizeable Tutsi population. Just as Hitler encouraged dissent in the German enclaves of Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Danzig corridor and Austria to rebel against their governments and demand to be incorporated into the Reich, Kagame believes that by sponsoring Nkunda and other rebels, he will be able to expand Rwandan territory and become a formidable player in the Great Lakes region.

What Zimbabwe has to gain from all this is as clear as mud. Surely Mugabe learnt his lesson from his previous foray into the DRC in support of the present DRC president's father. Zimbabwe is too emaciated to take advantage of the economic potential of the DRC. Besides, there are bigger players eyeing that territory economically, most notably Britain and the European Union. America also has a big hand to play. Just a few days ago, within hours of the renewed fighting, Mr Milliband, the British Foreign Secretary as well as Jardine Fraser, US Undersecretary for Africa were in the DRC and actually heading to Goma itself to try and talk to Nkunda. The EU foreign affairs department also hitched a ride on Millband's flight.

These are the forces that were so incensed by Mugabe's intervention that they decided to hang him out to dry. You see, back then, during the first foray by Zim into that war-weary country, Zimbabwe was still a recipient of donor money. The international community started asking themselves why they should continue funding Mugabe if he could afford the luxury of spending US$1 million a day on a war that had no clear benefits for the Southern African nation. Zimbabwe was not threatened by the war in the DRC at all. But Mugabe wanted to strut on the world stage as leader of a military power and perhaps tap into the stunning minerals reserves of the DRC. These are the same minerals that the west are also eyeing.

Zimbabwe then became a direct threat to the economic interests of the West. And look where we are now. The donors rightly asked whether Mugabe needed aid so badly if he could afford such an unwarranted expense. By going back into the DRC, Mugabe has ensured that, even if the GNU agreement takes off, donors will refuse will come on board. 

Question: where is the money for us to get back into the DRC coming from? Even cash rich South Africa, sitting on more than US$36 billion in reserves, sees no need to get involved. What on earth is motivating Mugabe and ZANU PF?

The answer, my friends, is that ZANU PF heavyweights are benefiting heavily in their personal capacities. Most of them have set up mining companies there and they are using the lives of the children of Zimbabwe, simple foot soldiers, to defend their personal economic interests. It is criminal. Criminal. Criminal.

We will be following developments very closely and updating here.


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