S Africa/Mbeki/DRC alliances...

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Fri Aug 13 01:11:31 MDT 1999

Stratfor.  I think that what they outline about Mbeki's role in the attempts
to dismember the DRC is a decent illustration of what I find so unforgivable
about this bunch. They are currently on the same side as the US and Savimbi.
This goes beyond what I can solidarise with.


2230 GMT, 990812 – South Africa and Zambia Worried About Losing Control in
the DRC

High-level delegations from Zambia and South Africa have left the Rally for
Congolese Democracy (RCD) stronghold of Kisangani empty-handed. On August
10, delegations led by the South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zum and
Zambian Presidential Affairs Minister Erik Silwamba arrived in
Kisangani to talk to the two rival factions of the RCD led by Ernest Wamba
dia Wamba and Emile Ilunga, respectively. The purpose of the trip was
ostensibly to clear up a leadership struggle in the group so that the RCD
could sign the cease-fire agreed to in Lusaka, Zambia, on July 10.

The ministerial trip was the product of a "peace conference" convened on
August 9 in South Africa by President Thabo Mbeki, which included the
presidents of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. It is interesting to note that
all of the participants in this conference are associated, to a greater or
lesser extent, with the rebel movements operating in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC). This meeting closely followed the first outbreak
of violence between the Uganda-backed faction of the RCD (Wamba dia Wamba)
and the Rwanda-backed faction (Ilunga) in Kisangani on August 7. Varying
reports indicate that Rwandan as well as Ugandan troops suffered casualties
in this incident, but did not come into direct conflict with one another.

The stumbling block over the RCD signing the cease-fire is ostensibly
whether Wamba dia Wamba or Ilunga should sign, but it is obvious from the
Kisangani clash that something more fundamental is at stake here. As we
pointed out in a recent commentary, neither South Africa nor Zambia is a
disinterested party in the DRC dispute. The make-up of the meeting in South
Africa further illustrates this: While the meeting in South Africa may have
focused on shaping the peace in the DRC, it was wholly from the perspective
of the opposition. Not a single member of the
Kabila/Namibia/Angola/Zimbabwe faction was present. South Africa and
Zambia, who have taken great pains to keep quiet their sympathies for the
opposition in the DRC, are now breaking cover in an attempt to keep the
opposition together – perhaps for peace, but also for diplomatic and
military leverage.


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