Kitshanga – Masisi, a tree that hides the forest


The eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has attracted the attention of opinion for some decades because of the rebellious movements that have become chronic. However, often few people pay enough attention to specific facts that give North Kivu a more particular aspect. This seems true for this province in general, starting from its capital Goma (noting the concentration of development efforts within it, despite its current context dominated by insecurity) to its nooks, although in varying degrees .

The case of the Kitshanga Zone, in Masisi territory, is likely to strike more the curiosity. At first glance, the diplomatic and humanitarian efforts that have intensified these days are clearly beyond the reach of ordinary facts, since the social instability claimed to justify them is by no means the exclusive preserve of this only zone, but of almost all the countries of North Kivu, from Goma to Beni, while passing by Rutshuru and Lubero.

Several important international diplomatic visits in recent years

In recent years, the small town of Kitshanga has had to receive many more high-profile personalities at the global level including, among others:

– In August 2009 Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (the wife of former US President Bill Clinton) then US Secretary of State under the OBAMA regime, had to visit Kitshanga. Mrs. Clinton had justified her mission with the concern of her country’s government about the extent of rape and violence against women in eastern DRC in general, and in North Kivu in particular.

– On February 23, 2016, while horrific massacres hit Beni, Ban Ki-Moon, then Secretary-General of the UN, accompanied by his assistant in charge of peacekeeping operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, carried out a thorough visit to Kitshanga. He had chosen only the IDP camp of this locality from all the other camps available in the east of the country to « feel the finger at the humanitarian situation in the region of eastern DRC, » it was said.

– Also in February 2016, Kitshanga recorded the visit of the Apostolic Nuncio representing the Holy See in Kinshasa / DRC. Bishop Louis Mariano Montemayor placed this visit in the context of the Vatican’s concern to « Sympathyse with the people of North Kivu and realize the work of the Mission of the United Nations Organization for the Stabilization of Congo (Monusco ) « .

– On October 26, 2017, it was the turn of Mrs. Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the UN, to go down to Kitshanga. The reason for this move is almost the same as that of the other international diplomats who preceeded her; he said « go to the bedside of displaced Kitchanga to inquire about their humanitarian situation. » This is an acceptable justification, but not absolutely. Because, currently, the humanitarian situation in the region of Beni first, then that of Lubero, is much more catastrophic than one could imagine in all the other countries of the East of the DRC.

Beyond the constant of this scramble for diplomatic visits, it is especially the concentration of investment in development favoring Kitshanga over other areas in humanitarian need, which strikes the attention of observers. Kitshanga is identified as the No.1 stabilization priority area, for which the « coherence Funds for Stabilization » are waiting to unlock several million US dollars on behalf of the Stabilization Mission. This project is in itself commendable. However, the question remains to know why this excess sensitivity regarding Kitshanga, at the time of the humanitarian catastrophe as well as the human damage recorded in Beni for three years in a row, from October 2014 to date, seems to be considered a trivial matter, attracting the concern of no organization, neither national nor even less international?

It is therefore right that the attention of observers is drawn to the diplomatic reality mentioned above. Indeed, in the evolution of the phenomena that have transformed North Kivu into a powder keg during the last two decades, the locality of Kitshanga, or even the community of Bashali, seems to be placed at the heart of concern of the main actors of the rebellions of the East of the DRC. Because:

– It will be remembered that the rebellion of the National Congress for the Defense of the People of Laurent Nkunda, CNDP in acronym, had chosen the zone of Kitshanga and Kirolirwe to shelter its seat;

– The Movement of March 23, M23 in acronym, had originated from the same area of ​​Kitshanga from where the insurrection of said rebellion had declared. Had it not been for the firepower of the FARDC, the M23 would have based its headquarters there longer or even permanently.

– The ferm « Hope » of the president with the project of balkanizing the country has chosen the region around Kitshanga to gather land and space at the expense of the poor indigenous peasants who, uprooted from their subsistence backgrounds, are now transformed into internally displaced people we hear about throughout Masisi territory;

– Moreover, already in 1998-2003, the rebellion of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, the RDC in short, brooded the project of transforming exceptionally the city of Kitshanga into a big city.

However, since the colonial era, the locality of Kitshanga could in no way equal the standing of progress that other agglomerations of the territory of Masisi that are Masisi-center, Mwesso, Sake and Nyabiondo. How to justify that Kitshanga conquered its supremacy over these old agglomerations, in addition during a period constantly troubled of these last 20 years? This is a commendable curiosity that deserves appropriate investigation at this time when the balkanization policy of eastern DRC is further clarified by the effort of a president who hides badly his commitment to materialize in DRCongo what President Gorbachev formerly did to the Soviet Union.

Guyanne Kahindo Nseke

©Beni-Lubero Online.


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