Congo: business as usual
jenyan1 at SPAMuic.edu
Tue Apr 17 16:09:11 MDT 2001
A few remarks on the article:
1) Y. Museveni, when he is not being praised by the west as a "new
breed of African leader" is not shy about his links with large
mining houses. His insurgency in Uganda in the first half of the
1980's was financed in large part by Tiny Rowland and Lonhro.
2) P. Kagame is a graduate of a US military academy (west point) who,
before being promoted to the post of president of Rwanda was a
senior intelligence officer in the Ugandan army (under Y. Museveni).
3) Unlike Mugabe who has had the financial rug pulled from under
him by the "international community" for (among other things) his
involvement in Congo, Uganda particularly continues to benefit
from an unabated flow of "aid" and "loans" and to be hailed as
the model of "reform" (ie IMF sanctioned theft and pauperisation).
By Declan Walsh in Nairobi
18 April 2001
The presidents of Uganda and Rwanda are "on the verge of
becoming the godfathers" of an illegal network plundering gold,
diamonds and coltan, a rare ore, from war-torn Congo,
according to a UN report that calls for a limited trade embargo
against the central African nations.
A five-member expert panel found that Yoweri Museveni of
Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda the main sponsors of the
three-year rebel war had "indirectly given criminal cartels a
unique opportunity" to exploit the treasure-trove of mineral
wealth in occupied east Congo.
They said the plunder is being facilitated by the Belgian national
airline, Sabena, and a host of other European companies,
including two British ones: Afrimex, which declined to comment,
and Ventro Star, which could not be contacted.
But regional analysts criticised the report as "unbalanced",
saying it ignored similar crimes being committed by the
government's allies, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, in southern
and western Congo.
"What about Robert Mugabe? He's doing exactly the same
thing," said Hannelie de Beers, senior researcher with the South
Africa-based Institute for Security Services.
According to the report commissioned by Kofi Annan, the Congo
conflict "has become mainly about access, control and trade of
five key mineral resources: coltan, diamonds, copper, cobalt and
It focused on the exploitation of coltan (colombo tantalite), which
is a precious hardening agent for metal used in a range of
high-tech industries; low supplies created a worldwide shortage
of Sony Playstation game consoles last Christmas.
Its export is earning the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese
Democracy (RCD) at least $1m (700,000) a month.
The report also notes that Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi have
been exporting large quantities of diamonds and gold since the
war started in 1998 even thought their own deposits are
The panel called for a ban on the trade of the rare minerals to
and from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. It also called on all 189
UN states to freeze the assets of the Congolese rebel movements
and their leaders.
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