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The Africa Report

Sameera Casmod |
13 February 2024 | 12:32 p.m. [SAST]
3 minute read

There is growing dissent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for what they see as Western support of neighbouring Rwanda. According to reports, police dispersed demonstrators in central Kinshasa with tear gas on Monday for burning flags and targeting Western embassies.

Western countries have been accused of backing a rebellion in the east of the DRC.

Rwanda’s Tutsi-led M23 group attacked the city of Goma in the DRC. Rwanda has denied accusations of lending support to the M23 group.

DRC protestors outside the US embassy chanted, “Leave our country, wee don’t want your hypocrisy,” reports said.

Speaking to a correspondent on Radio Islam International, John Bwasa, who holds an honours degree in education and is currently reading towards his master’s degree, lamented the decades-long conflict in the DRC, which have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than seven million.

“I think it’s a bit sad and a tragedy that is happening in the eastern side of the country, given the fact that for the past thirty years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is going through immense conflicts, and these conflicts are mainly rooted in the fact that Congo has the mineral resources that the world needs,” Bwasa said.

He highlighted the exploitation of the DRC’s rich mineral resources by multinational corporations and foreign interests, which exacerbates the violence and displacement.

According to Bwasa, “There are multinationals as well as countries that are pulling the trigger in the backside of these militias.”

The eastern region of Congo, particularly Kivu, is rich in mineral resources such as coltan and tin, which is used in the manufacture of many electronics around the world.

In another development, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have decided to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Bwasa attributed this move to ECOWAS’s failure to protect citizens and address internal conflicts, driven by neo-imperialist interests.

He stated, “The decision to leave… is mainly due to the fact that the ECOWAS hasn’t fulfilled and met its mandate of protecting the citizens.”

He explained that in the case of these countries, there has been a resurgence in conflict driven by neo-imperialists, whose quest is to plunder their natural resources, such as Niger’s rich gold deposits and Mali’s uranium.

Bwasa emphasised the desire for independence from former colonial powers, particularly France, motivating these countries to seek autonomy and dignified development.

France aims to impose control over these countries through its currency, “which they take 80% and give back 20% to the countries that are using that money,” Bwasa said, “And for that reason, the likes of the youngsters today, the Traoré, Goethe… have decided to pull out of the ECOWAS so that they can regain their independence.”

Regarding Sudan, Bwasa outlined the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan over disputed borders and administrative areas. He emphasised the need for negotiation and regional cooperation to prevent further conflict and address humanitarian crises.

“This requires negotiation and that is disrupting the region so that Sudan and South Sudan could go into conflict again,” he stated.

The conflict has led to forced displacement, with citizens of the country facing the harsh consequences of the actors in power.

Bwasa also addressed the need for leadership renewal in African countries, advocating for younger generations to take on leadership roles and prioritise the well-being of citizens.

“The African Union, it’s a toothless bulldog that needs to be revamped in the same way the ECOWAS needs to be revamped,” Bwasa said.

He criticised leaders like Macky Sall in Senegal, who seek to prolong their stay in power through constitutional amendments. “It is about time these leaders, if leaders any, could change the nature and maybe give the place to some youngsters like in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger,” he stated.

Bwasa called for African countries to take responsibility for addressing internal issues and fostering development, rather than relying solely on external blame. He emphasised the need for reform within organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS to effectively address the continent’s challenges.

Listen to the Africa Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.


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