Tuesday, 8 March 2011
According to US diplomatic cables that were leaked to the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, which The EastAfrican has been studying, Obasanjo said he wished Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame were the man running Democratic Republic of Congo, because he had the leadership skills to manage the complex Central African nation.
The DRC is Africa’s third largest country (and will be its second largest after the formal break-up of Sudan in July). According to the cables, in a November 10, 2009 closed-door meeting with the US ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Susan Rice, Obasanjo said that though Kabila meant well, « he (Obasanjo) thought at one point that Kabila was overwhelmed by his presidency. »
Obasanjo worked on the Congo conflict as the UN Security Council’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, with Tanzania’s former President Benjamin Mkapa as his co-facilitator. It is the voluble and controversial Obasanjo, though, who is cited in the cables.
Obasanjo allegedly said, « Kabila was not so forthcoming as Rwandan President Kagame, » and that he wished Kagame were in the DRC and Kabila in Rwanda, due to their respective leadership attributes.
He commented that Kabila was very sensitive and needed to develop self-confidence, but that would be difficult to do because he was not well-served by the people around him. »
Rwanda has intervened in the DRC, which is 27 times bigger than it, several times to attack what it says are remnants of the forces Kigali accuses of having carried out the genocide in 1994 in which nearly one million people were slaughtered.
Rwanda has also backed several rebel groups in the east of the country, especially in the period when the government in Kinshasa was also being accused of supporting anti-Uganda and anti-Rwanda dissidents.
Political critics and human-rights groups, however, accused Rwanda for invading the mineral-rich DRC to plunder its wealth, and said it had direct and indirect responsibility for the deaths of millions of people in the east of the country in recent years.
By Guylain Gustave Moke