News / Africa

DRC Government Rejects 'Unconstitutional' Rebel Demands

Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
x
Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
Nick Long
— The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has ruled out what it calls ‘unconstitutional’ demands presented by the M23 rebels at talks in Kampala, Uganda.
   
The M23 rebellion started out last April as a mutiny by a few hundred soldiers in Congo’s North Kivu province who were calling for the full implementation of a peace agreement signed on March 23, 2009.
 
This week in Kampala the rebels tabled a much broader list of proposals.
 
Among other things, they are now calling for the formation of a transitional government, for the results of elections in 2011 to be scrapped, for the resignation of all provincial governors, provincial parliament and senate members, and for the introduction of a federal system of government.

Standing pat

In response, the DRC government issued a 40-page document on Thursday rejecting the rebels' demands, many of which it described as 'unconstitutional,' and defending its implementation of the 2009 agreement. It says this process is ongoing because of financial and security problems, which the M23 has worsened.
 
The response acknowledges irregularities in the 2011 elections, but says that no dissolution of provincial or national institutions can be envisioned.
 
The main civil society group in North Kivu province has echoed the government’s position. The head of their group of experts is Djento Maundu, who told VOA that the talks should only be about the implementation of the March 23 agreement, and the return of property stolen by the rebels.
 
Nevertheless, the government did agree this week to an agenda for the talks that includes ‘political, social and economic questions,’ as well as the March 23 agreement and security questions.  
 
Main opposition joins fray

The DRC’s main opposition parties announced last weekend that they also want to be at the talks, having previously said they would boycott them.
 
Analyst Maria Lange, who is DRC program director for the NGO International Alert, said the political opposition should be there if the talks are going to involve questions of national politics. She is doubtful, however, about whether the opposition will be able to take part.
 
"For the moment the Congolese government and I believe the Ugandan facilitation is refusing to include them because it would largely complicate matters and make it more difficult to reach an agreement," said Lange. "M23 had initially welcomed the participation of the opposition, but is now expressing some reticence."  
 
Lange said all parties, including Rwanda, which continues to deny allegations that it has been supporting M23, want to prevent the crisis from spreading.
 
"There is an enlightened self-interest on the part of all parties to avoid this turning into a regional war. On and off hostilities in various parts of North Kivu certainly cannot be ruled out, but unless some unknown factor presents itself, I think the parties will really try to prevent this escalating out of control," said Lange.
 
The M23’s demands include giving their leaders the rank of generals in the Congolese army. Many observers think this is their key demand.
 
Nearly all of the M23 leaders were involved in a similar rebellion in 2009, which ended after the rebels were integrated into the army and given many senior ranks. Lange said the rebels could be integrated again, but the integration would need to be better planned than it was in 2009.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid