The Year 2010 has the potential to be a watershed year for Relations between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After a Decade that had the net result of Millions of People Killed, Raped and Left Homeless, The involvement of six neighboring states and the looting of Natural Resources change is possible in the DRC.
When Most People think of US Interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the result leads to Tunnel Vision. At some point this month AFRICOM will begin training the Congolese Army (FARDC) at a Base near Kisangani. There are other concerns as well such as the Congo Conflict Minerals Act and the several efforts to address the serious problem that Women have as they are habitually targeted for Sexual Assault in the Eastern Part of the Country.
However there are already two Laws on the books that could offer some redress to creating a Sane US Policy towards the DRC. First lets dust off the History Books and go back to the days of the Kennedy Administration. At that time the Country had just achieved Independence from Belgium. And the United States Congress put in an interesting clause in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Section 105 of Public Law 109-456 hereby states: The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 other than Humanitarian, Peacekeeping and Counterterrorism Assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the Government of the Foreign Country is taking actions to Destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It does make you wonder why this isn't being used against such erstwhile allies such as Rwanda and Uganda and for good Measure Angola and Zimbabwe. Where is Congress on this? Or Even the Secretary of State or better yet other African Activists?
While this point is being mulled over the effort to have S. 2125 aka the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief Security and Democracy Act of 2006 Implemented as well. Humanitarian Relief is a large issue in the DRC with various Militias from the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda literally setting up their own fiefdoms in the Eastern Part of the Country with the willing or unwilling complicity of the United States.
Sometimes the percieved problems with the Strategy of the United States can be resolved if previous Legislation were enacted upon. The Situation regarding the Congo is a perfect example of this. There were loud voices in the Activist Community demanding that the US take concrete steps to address the myriad of issues that plague the Country will all means short of Military Action. There were voices as well that did not want an American Military Response either.
So now that the old Law Books have been dusted off and that there is an apparatus in place to rein in some of the nefarious actors that are in the neighborhood the question is will any action be taken in Washington? And they should remember that people are watching........
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library