Home NewsRegional Is Western Media Reporting Of DRC Crisis Echoing Tshisekedi’s Propaganda?

Is Western Media Reporting Of DRC Crisis Echoing Tshisekedi’s Propaganda?

by Vincent Gasana
4:34 pm

Congolese soldiers

In a response to a crticism on the accuracy of her depiction of Rwanda, journalist Michela Wrong, retorted that “just because something isn’t factually acccurate, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.” It is a shocking stance for any journalist to take, but not surprising from a Western journalist talking about how she approaches coverage of Africa, and African stories.

Wrong is in some ways a special case, in her determined pursuance of an anti Rwanda campaign, to which she is more than willing to sacrifice even the need for accuracy. She is however, not alone in presenting preferred interpretation of the facts as journalism. Witness the recent flurry of reports that President Kagame of Rwanda, “agreed” to meet his Congolese counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi.

A few days prior to the ministerial meeting that has just taken place, President Kagame, took a trip to Luanda, where he met his Angolan counterpart, Joao Lourenco, who is also the current chairman of the ICGLR (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region). President Lourenco had also received the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) head of state, Felix Tshisekedi, perhaps a couple of weeks prior to President Kagame’s visit.

The ICGLR is an intergovernmental organisation, one of the regional mechanisms through which member states meet to resolve issues, and discuss ways of maintaining peace and security, something of which the Great Lakes region has had little for decades. It is the ICGLR which leads the ‘Luanda Process’ up to which all parties to the crisis, including the DRC government have signed, to end the conflict now raging in that country.

While almost everything stipulated in the Luanda process was adhered to by the March 23rd Movement (M23) rebel group, their opponents in the DRC government, reneged on every single item. Both the Luanda and Nairobi processes urge the two sides to reach a negotiated end to the conflict.

Somewhat paradoxically however, it is the state, the DRC, rather than the rebel group, which stands in the way of ending the conflict, insisting that there is no such thing as M23, and that the fighters are not those of M23, but the invasion of the DRC by neighbouring Rwanda.

Rwanda has consistently dismissed suggestions that they have any involvement in the Congo conflict, repeatedly calling on the DRC to acknowledge that the causes of the conflict are internal, and should be resolved internally.

It is no hyperbole to say that the DRC crisis could be brought to an end virtually overnight, if Felix Tshisekedi sat down to negotiations with M23. But for many in the world’s media, the focus is on claims cooked up by the Congolese head of state, to literally distract from the DRC’s determined effort to avoid accepting responsibility for a crisis it stokes.

DR Congo’s Tshisekedi agrees to meet Rwanda’s Kagame…” announces France24. In fairness to them, they were reporting comments made by Angola’s minister of foreign affairs, that the two leaders might meet.

In normal circumstances however, we might expect any news organisation to offer some background, pointing out for instance, that Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, has always been ready to meet any of his counterparts in the region, including Tshisekedi, to resolve any issues affecting the region. It would also be informative to remind readers and viewers, that Kagame has always made clear, that while he was always ready to meet his Congolese counterpart, the conflict in the DRC had nothing to do with Rwanda. The causes of the conflict were internal and the solution could only be internal. The reports on the other hand, infer that the resolution of the conflict in the DRC, is in some way dependent on the two heads of state meeting.

From what we already know, it is not difficult to predict that any meeting would begin with President Kagame, reiterating to his Congolese counterpart, that only acknowledging that the causes of the DRC crisis were internal would resolve the conflict.

The excited headlines announcing a possible meeting between the two heads of state, are in many ways knowingly or inadvertently, perpetuating Tshisekedi’s propaganda, that Rwanda is the cause of all that ails the DRC.

A tweet from Urugwiro Village, as Rwanda’s state is known locally, ought to have tempered any rush to sensationalise what was in fact a non story.

President Kagame and President Laurenco held a bilateral discussion on the security situation in DRC. The heads of state agreed on key steps towards addressing the root causes of the conflict, and the need to uphold the Luanda and Nairobi processes to achieve peace and security stability in the region.”

Any journalist concerned with the truth, would have asked what these “key steps” might be, but other words, the message can be interpreted that nothing has changed. Follow the processes, and honour what has already been agreed, something the Congolese leader has signally failed to do.

Whether or not President Kagame, meets his Congolese counterpart, and it remains a big if, unless President Tshisekedi tones down, or completely changes his anti Rwanda rhetoric, it will have no effect on the Congolese crisis, the Congolese President accepts that it is an internal crisis, that can only be solved internally.

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