Congo: Billions For Bandit Bureaucrats

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May 5, 2023: Congo opposition parties are warning that president Tshisekedi is following in the footsteps of former president Kabila and intends to guarantee his re-election by rigging the December 20 national elections. The key charges are that Tshisekedi has appointed crony judges and stacked the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with his supporters. They also contend his “state of siege” in Ituri and North Kivu provinces has become a tool for undermining the election. Eastern Congo provinces tend to be anti-Tshisekedi.

Congolese financial auditors claim they have discovered over 145,000 civil servants on “fabricated” government payrolls. Another 40,000 people are paid though they do not appear on official staffing lists. All told the ghost workers cost the country over $800 million a year. The auditors say the thefts have been orchestrated by nearly a thousand corrupt payroll officers. Do the math. Approximately 8 percent of Congo's national budget ($10 billion) is stolen by crooked officials.

May 2, 2023: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) Islamic terrorist rebels linked to ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) attacked a village, killing six people. Some ADF fighters are now calling themselves the ISCAP (Islamic State Central Africa Province).

May 1, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) EAC (East African Community) claims its peacekeeping force has occupied seven towns and villages previously held by the M23 rebel group. Residents are now returning to their homes.

April 30, 2023: Ugandan military intelligence arrested three men believed to be members of the ADF. Ugandan intelligence and police believe the three men have been involved in terror attacks and assassinations in Uganda and eastern Congo.

April 28, 2023: The Kenyan commander of the EAC peacekeeping force has resigned. Major General Jeff Nyagah said his attempts to carry out the mission have been obstructed. His safety has also been threatened. He asserted that there is a "systematic plan" to frustrate the peacekeeping effort.

April 26, 2023: In southern Congo (Lualaba province), Gecamines, Congo’s state mining company, and China's CMOC mining corporation announced they have reached a new royalties agreement that could re-open the Tenke Fungurume Mining cobalt operation.

April 23, 2023: The former prime minister of Burundi, Alain Guillaume, prime minister of Burundi from June 2020 to September 2022, has been arrested. The government says he is suspected of organizing a coup.

April 21, 2023: Eastern Congo’s Tutsis (known as Banyamulenge Tutsis) claim the government is trying to prevent them from registering to vote in the December election. In a recent interview Rwandan President Paul Kagame (a Rwandan Tutsi) gave his view on the Congo-Rwanda border conflict. “The borders that were drawn during colonial times had our countries divided…part of Rwanda was left outside, in eastern Congo, in southwestern Uganda and so forth. You have populations in these parts of other countries who have a Rwandese background. But they are not Rwandans, they are citizens of those countries that have absorbed those parts of Rwanda in the colonial times.” A history lesson. Bad borders fuel current and future conflict. (Austin Bay)

April 20, 2023: The UN has painted two helicopters operating in eastern Congo a bright orange. UN copters assigned to humanitarian missions are typically white. The orange paint is an attempt to distinguish the helicopters and prevent rebel groups from firing on the aircraft.

ADF rebels killed at least 20 people in an attack on a village near the town of Beni (North Kivu province).

April 19, 2023: The UN reported that several days have passed “without a major clash” in eastern Congo. The EAC peacekeepers deploying there may be one reason. On the ground UN observers report M23 (March 23 Movement) fighters have withdrawn from some positions.

A Ugandan government minister was charged with corruption in a scandal involving metal roofing sheets in a relief program to help Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region.

Uganda confirmed it is in the process of evacuating 275 Ugandan nationals from Sudan.

April 18, 2023: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) CODECO extremists killed several dozen people during attacks on several villages.

April 16, 2023: In the Central African Republic (CAR) the propagandists are fighting over the narrative. Pro-government and pro-Russian sources blame the deaths in a March attack on CAR forces on the CPC (Coalition of Patriots for Change) rebels. The rebels blame the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries operating in the CAR for conducting the attack. Who did it? We don’t know. But the UN condemned the attack. (Austin Bay)

April 14, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) M23 has withdrawn from three towns.

April 13, 2023: Malawi revised the death toll figures for February’s Cyclone Freddy to over 1,000 killed. Originally the government said 500 died. According to the UN and NGO relief groups, Malawi still needs emergency aid.

April 12, 2023: Rwandan President Kagame said his country is exploring the possibility of using modular nuclear plants to produce electricity.

April 7, 2023: A Congolese military tribunal sentenced six men to life in prison for the February 2021 murder of Italy’s ambassador, Luca Attanasio. Two other men were murdered during the assassination attack.

April 5, 2023: Congo’s government says that it is aware that many people are apprehensive about the deployment of the EAC peacekeeping force. The government says that the force is deploying with the approval of the Congolese government with the aim of de-escalating tensions in eastern Congo.

March 31, 2023: The Ugandan troop contingent operating as part of an EAC peacekeeping force has deployed in the border town of Bunagana to observe the withdrawal of M23 rebel fighters. The Ugandan initial contingent is a reinforced battalion of 1,000 soldiers.

March 28, 2023: Senior Ugandan and Kenyan military leaders have been meeting in Kenya to discuss closer defense relations and military operations. Uganda and Kenya have established a Joint Defense Committee to coordinate joint defense operations.

March 26, 2023: In eastern Congo (Ituri province), CODECO militiamen have executed 17 hostages they took from a village north of Bunia. A CODECO source claimed the militia took the hostages after a local militia killed three CODECO fighters.

March 24, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) Burundian soldiers have officially deployed with the EAC peacekeeping force. A Congo defense official said the Burundians have occupied ten villages. M23 rebels vacated seven of the villages.

March 23, 2023: President Tshisekedi appointed former Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba as minister of defense. Tshisekedi also reassigned over 50 other government jobs. At one time Bemba spent ten years in jail on charges of war crimes.

March 21, 2023: The FCC (Front Commune pour le Congo), an opposition political party, has decided to boycott the national electoral process. The FCC says there is no agreed upon legal framework for the election and security conditions are poor.

 

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