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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid