Again the news today are full of disgusting tensions in #Goma and #Gaza. I am not going to spend much time talking about #Gaza. This is because I think its already receiving significant attention from the international media and also the international community. Let me talk about what is close to home- #Goma.
I admit that to understand what is happening in #Goma needs a good grasp of historical forces that have cumulatively created instability not only in DRC but also in the entire Great Lake Region. Nevertheless ‘Realism’ a prominent International Relations Theory can help us to partly understand the conflicts that keep lingering back and front in DRC. In short, the theory of Realism focuses on the centrality of state and balance of power. There are more than one version (modifications) of Realism theory such as Classical Realism and Neorealism. However, all of these versions put emphasis on the centrality of state in the analysis of international politics and that states will always strive to increase their power capability in the international arena. The theory believes that the world is in the state of anarchy. Its perception of the world can almost be described as ‘survival for fittest’. National Interests- in particular security and economy- are of high priority. Realism theory has a strong explanatory power but it cannot explain everything in international affairs. For example, there are many non-state actors that are very influential in international relations. Other factors such as values and ideas also play significant roles in international affairs.
However, if all the news analysis I’m reading is true especially within the context of the earlier UN Report that accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels in DRC , then Realism can explain the ongoing advancement of M23 Rebels in DRC and their invasion of #Goma. The only reason that Rwanda could actually be supporting M23 and so interfering in DRC internal affairs(which is against International Law based on the UN Charter and the principle of Sovereignty) is to enhance its power both at domestic level and regional level. Realists will say that’s ok because in a state of anarchy, states should strive to increase their capability and influence so as to ensure national security. Whether the Rwandan state feel threatened by DRC or whoever in the region, it’s something I don’t feel comfortable discussing due to my lack of evidence on that. But whether that is the case or not, whether the country wants to enhance its power or not, whether it’s about national interests (considering vast minerals and other resources in DRC’s Kivu area), It should just sit back and rethink! Africa needs to go beyond realpolitik. We have suffered a lot already and we need to embrace an alternative thinking to conventional IR. We need solidarity. We are one. Look at how the international community is now only focusing on #Gaza and acting as if nothing is happening in Congo. The marginalisation Africa and lack of interests on the continent was classically reflected in 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide. No one cares unless national interests are at stake. This is something that reminds us (Africans) of the imperative to finding our own solutions to our own problems. The solution starts by avoiding unnecessary conflicts.
Each country in region of Great Lakes needs to participate and contribute towards finding solution for our own problems. My MA dissertation (which I must admit, I’m sometimes ashamed by it’s descriptive nature) looked at and recommended African Solutions for African Problems. The dissertation argued that the African solutions will be fairer and considerate to our values and culture. They will prove justice to our people. Africans need to be real with our life and our people and forget about the Western made theories of realpolitik. We are different, our cultures are different, and our problems are ours to solve. We can learn from Europe! After centuries of fighting each other and conflicts, they have decided to forget about realpolitik, leaving behind their national interests and join efforts to become one. That is EU. European countries, the initiators of nation-state, have come together to solve their problems and to enhance their collective power outside their continent. This is what Africans can do and we should do it genuinely…
The situation in #Goma is not a DRC problem, or Rwandese problem…it’s a regional problem. All countries- especially the neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya should spearhead and get on the frontline to solve this issue. It’s our mothers, fathers, children, brothers, and sisters who are dying and suffering…let’s get real with life!