First Published By The Confused Eagle,
May 14th was not a good day for the US State Department. While attempting to address a situation in Africa. In an attempt to place blame on one party it has cast an eye on its unwillingness to follow the Laws of the United States.
Currently there is pending Legislation in the Senate Called the Congo Conflict Minerals Act. This is an attempt to ensure that the Electronics Industry does not profit from importing Gold and other Minerals that are driving the Conflict in the Kivu Provinces of the DRC. The region was one of the fronts during Africa's World War. And at this date Militias are using force on Civilians to mine these minerals and using the Profits from this and other activities to purchase weapons.
On that date Members of the US State Department met with representatives of the Auto Industry, the Electronics Industry and other Industries that use Gold, Tungsten, Tin and Tantalum. This effort was part of the effort by the Obama Administration in its effort to help manufacturers from using these ill-gotten Minerals.
However two other questions are begging to be asked:
First why isn't section 105 of Public Law 109-456 being implimented? This section goes back to the Foreign Aid Assistance Act of 1961. This would call for Sanctions to be placed upon any country that is involved within the Internal Situation in the Congo but was not providing Peacekeeping, Humanitarian or Counterterrorism Assistance. We know that there are TWO specific countries that are NOW violating this law. (Rwanda and Uganda)
Why hasn't there been a call for this section to be enforced? Both Nations have Elections in the Near Future. In July Rwanda goes to the Polls in what is turning into a Campaign where if you are against Kagame you cannot run. In 2011 Uganda Goes to the Polls. The State Department has set aside funds for the monitoring of these elections and having to Provide reports every quarter to Congress as part of the Operations for the FY 11 Budget.
The Second Section that needs to be Implemented is section 107. This calls for the President of the United States to appoint a Special Envoy to Central Africa. What is disturbing is that President Obama the Main Sponsor of this Law in the Senate is not even following through with the LAW THAT HE WROTE!! Howard Wolpe has the Position of Special Representative for the Great Lakes. He is not a Special Envoy. This also give a problem to legitimacy as whatever Mr. Wolpe says on behalf of the President will not be taken seriously by those in the Great Lakes of Africa.
Currently the Congo Conflict Minerals Act is still in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate. So the meeting at the State Department which had so much Fanfare may only be Smoke and Mirrors. It is easier for the Diplomats to attack the Business People in the US than to actually put people on the ground in the region and actually try to effect change that way.
There is plenty of criticism to go around. The Obama Administration should not be the only one who should be held accountable. Every Administration since the Carter Administration which assisted the efforts of Morocco and Belgium to prop up Moboutu in 1977 has failed to implement this law to protect the People of the Congo.
So what are the Priorities on C Street now?
Tomorrow Morning the LRA Disarmament Bill is voted upon in the House of Representatives. This piece of Legislation is moving with celerity compared to the process that it went through the United States Senate.
This Bill which has Bi-Partisan Support will have the US take an increased role in defeating the over two decade long Insurgency of Joseph Kony. The violence that has been launched by his followers have affected not only Northern Uganda but also the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Central African Republic and Sudan. In fact in the Past the LRA has received material support from the current Sudanese Leadership in a past proxy war against the Ugandan Government.
The timing of this vote will raise some Alarms. First is the timing of this. The Weekend Prior to the announcement that the vote would take place the Speaker of the House and selected leaders flew to Germany and met with General Ward and other Leaders and Planners of AFRICOM. At this time there are three locations where any US Military Action against the LRA can originate from. They are Djibouti, Juba in Southern Sudan or Kisangani in the DRC.
Another area of concern is the belief that once again Washington is giving President Museveni of Uganda a Blank Check to do whatever he wants to do in the region. Twice during the George W. Bush Administration President Museveni was given the green light to invade the Congo to deal with the LRA. He was just as cozy with the Clinton Administration as well after President Kagame came to power in Rwanda as well.
At this time reports are that the LRA Disarmament Bill which is 11th on the Agenda for tomorrow morning will be passed by the House and then be placed on the desk of the President within the next 48 hours. This sets into motion a clock where a strategy has to be drawn up by the Administration within 180 Days.
On April 23rd of this year another journalist perished in Africa. Bibi Ngota perished while in custody in Cameroon. In the previous issue of Confused Eagle I wrote about the actions of Security Forces in Cameroon and the tensions with Nigeria regarding the Bakissi Peninsula.
In 2012 there are Elections scheduled for Cameroon as well. Cameroon is important for several reasons. It is the terminus for a pipeline that originates in T'Chad. It lies on the Gulf of Guinea which has Piracy and Human Trafficking issues that the Media seems content to ignore.
Recently the US Marines Conducted some Training with the Senegalese Marines in an exercise. Africa is a Security interest of the United States. West Africa is a region that is very unstable. The tensions along the Guinea-Liberia Border may be the Next Flash point.
Tensions are rising within Cote D'Ivorie as the process to hold Presidential Elections hit another Snag.
The largest Rebel Group in Darfur JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) is threatening renewed hostilities if the Egyptian Authorities take Khalil Ibriham into custody as Khartoum demands.
And there are Elections in Ethiopia in a couple of weeks.
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