News / Africa

    S. Africa, DRC Presidents Sidestep DRC Crisis

    M23 rebel group soldiers patrol in Rangira, near Rutshuru, DRC, October 17, 2012.
    M23 rebel group soldiers patrol in Rangira, near Rutshuru, DRC, October 17, 2012.
    Anita Powell
    Congolese President Joseph Kabila and South African President Jacob Zuma held a bilateral meeting Tuesday that coincides with a rising rebellion in Congo's east.  Despite the brewing crisis, the leaders' public comments were laudatory and optimistic.

    The presidents of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo could not have been more genteel when they met in front of journalists Tuesday in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

    South African President Jacob Zuma welcomed President Joseph Kabila.  The young Congolese president replied in kind, and in mellifluous English.

    Zuma praised economic and diplomatic cooperation between his nation, an African economic giant, and the large, mineral-rich Congo.

    "Your excellency, I'm informed that noticeable progress has been reported on our joint projects," said Zuma.  "In this regard it is important to acknowledge amongst others, the good work done in the field of capacity building within the DRC's national army and police, the public servants census and the training of diplomats."

    What the presidents didn't talk about is perhaps more interesting.

    Volatile eastern Congo is reeling from a recent upswing in violence. That violence comes at the hands of a group made up of former rebels turned army officers turned rebels again who reignited the conflict in May. The United Nations has said in a widely circulated confidential report that both neighboring Rwanda and Uganda are supporting the rebels. Both nations deny the charge.

    Last week, Rwanda was elected to a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council over the DRC's objection.  The current occupant of that seat is South Africa.  They'll hand off to Rwanda in January.

    That leaves South Africa very little time to flex its muscle on the Council before Rwanda comes in.

    On Monday, Congo's foreign minister Raymond Tshibanda directly asked South Africa for help, saying South Africa's participation in finding a solution is "for us, essential."

    Kabila himself said very little on the subject.

    "The challenges that we face are definitely huge, huge challenges, and the case in point is our own challenge in the east, in North Kivu," Kabila said.

    Zuma also chose to praise Congo's 2011 elections, the first vote organized by the country itself.

    "We are happy that those elections were successfully conducted in a peaceful environment and observed by regional and international observers," Zuma added.  "Importantly, those elections assisted in strengthening democracy in the DRC."

    That vote, however, was roundly condemned by observers, including the U.N., the European Union, the Carter Center and even the Congolese Catholic church.  Kabila was announced the winner in December.  Human Rights Watch says security forces then killed at least 24 people and detained dozens more, many of them opposition activists and supporters.

    Perhaps the best assessment of the two presidents' markedly polite tone Tuesday came from a young South African official, who smiled like a sphinx when pressed by a journalist for more straight talk from the presidents.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kinshasa from: kinshasa
    October 24, 2012 8:25 AM
    I am sorry to note that Mr ZUMA congretulate a so -called president of DRC. Mr Zuma is the one of contributing of fraud and faciliting kabila to win the election due to this part in the congolese mining sector. I am sure he will pay back may be in the future.We, congolese people did'nt vote for kabila.Thanks

    by: Alex from: USA
    October 23, 2012 5:32 PM
    Rwanda is accused being behind M23 people who destabilize peace and democracy in DRC, Kill people, rape, make people live unsecured. If these accusations are right, Rwanda doesn’t feet that high position in UN and requires disciplinary major for killing, civilians in Congo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora