Listening to various CNDP representatives on the radio, one might think that the rebellion launched by Bosco Ntaganda in early April had a political objective. As their spokesperson, Jean-Baptiste Rudaseswa, explained on BBC Swahili service, the mutiny was prompted by the failure March 23, 2009 agreement, in particular by the fact that Congolese Tutsi refugees have been unable to return home from Rwanda.
This reasoning was hammered home through a letter signed by the CNDP’s president, Senator Edouard Mwangachuchu, in which he insists that the mutiny is not due to Bosco’s arrest warrant, but rather to the “obvious failure of the integration of elements of political-military movements into the Congolese armed forces.” (Mwangachuchu then also said on radio that Bosco should be held accountable for his actions).
These statements are somewhat surprising, considering that, if it was indeed the March 23, 2009 Agreement that was at the root of the quarrel, one would expect there to have been talk about this agreement just prior to the mutiny. There was, to my knowledge, little such talk. I fact, the meetings in Goma between the leaders of the Tutsi community and MONUSCO related to the arrest of Bosco, not the March 23 Agreements.
However, I do think that there is more than just bluster behind this rhetoric. While many CNDP officers were not too bothered over Bosco’s personal fate, they do not want the CNDP power structures in the Kivus to be dismantled. So in some sense, it is about the March 23 Agreement, although the pre-dated its relevance.
So what did the Mach 23 Agreement call for? I have posted it here for reference, although I think that more important than the details is the basic issue of whether the CNDP is allowed to maintain its networks and parallel chains of command in the East.
The main points are:
1. CNDP will integrate its troops into the police and army and become a political party;
2. The government will release the CNDP prisoners;
3. The government will publish an amnesty law for crimes committed since June 2003;
4. Both parties will work toward reconciliation, and the government will create a ministerial portfolio in charge of internal security, local affairs and reconciliation;
5. The government will create local reconciliation committees and a police of proximity in tune with the concerns of the local population;
6. The return of refugees from neighboring countries;
7. To declare North and South Kivu as “disaster areas” and to invest in development project there;
8. That for good governance it is necessary to have an administration that is close to the people (the CNDP went on the record saying it wanted greater federalism or “découpage”);
9. CNDP went on the record saying it wanted administrative reform, with new, technically competent agencies in charge of public administration;
10. Both parties agreed that comprehensive security sector reform is necessary;
11. Both sides agreed on an urgent evaluation of the electoral framework to promote greater inclusiveness and prevent hate speech;
12. Solutions would be found to integrate CNDP administrative officials and MPs who had been invalidated, confirm military and police ranks and treat war wounded;
13. Economic reforms, including certification of minerals;
14. Create a national follow-up committee to implement the agreement;
15. Ask for the creation of an international follow-up committee.