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“Les reunions se multiplient”

Some classic Kivutian micropolitics & conspiracies:

The discontents among the CNDP appear to be slowly coalescing into something resembling an organization. There have reportedly been meetings this past week of ex-CNDP soldiers and political cadres in Rubaya and Ngungu (southern Masisi), as well as in Gisenyi (Rwanda). What exactly is being planned is not clear, although it is clear that resentment is brewing due to the lack of payment of the soldiers, the slow pace in naming their reps to political positions and the non-return of Tutsi refugees from Rwanda.

To rewind a little: Since Laurent Nkunda’s arrest in January this year, most of the officers in the CNDP have been siding with Colonel Sultani Makenga, who is seen as Nkunda’s man within the ex-CNDP troops. Only a few still back General Bosco Ntaganda, including Lt Col Wilson Nsengiyumva, although the ICC-indictee has managed to join up with former Governor Eugene Serufuli, who has helped him set up a parallel administration (“territoire de Mushaki”) in the Masisi highlands, from where Bosco and many of his Bagogwe comrades are from.

For the most part, integration has proceeded without major bumps (a few targeted killings, prison breaks and alleged CNDP ambushes aside), in part because many CNDP commanders appear to be gleaning substantial revenue from the customs, mining and other tax rackets they run with their new colleagues in the FARDC, but also because the detente between Kigali and Kinshasa has been relatively sturdy. However, many officers are upset that they ranks have not officially been confirmed in the Congolese army, while CNDP politicians have not obtained any of the new territories or ministerial positions they asked for. As for Governor Serufuli, who lobbied extensively among the Hutu population in favor of the Kinshasa-Kigali deal, he has also failed to obtain the governorship.

In sum, military integration has proceeded apace, but is slowly hitting the glass ceiling: what next to cement the peace deal between CNDP & Kinshasa? What if the ex-CNDP troops refuse to be deployed outside of their own province? Having a deeply ethnicized army in the run-up to the local elections (in theory, next year) and national elections (in theory, 2011) is probably not a good idea given the precedent of polls & violence in the province.

A suivre.

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