From John Kahekwa, Director of the PolePole Foundation in Bukavu, eastern DR Congo, and a research partner of The Marjan Centre.
How we celebrated on New Year’s Day ! And the reason? When the M23 militia was advancing from Goma towards Bukavu we thought we might not see January 1 2013. But we did survive so we celebrated and the ‘boda boda’ motorcycle-taxis formed long queues and rode from the governor’s residence to the border at Ruzizi.
The DR Congo government deployed a war against M23 on three fronts: (1) by arms; (2) by diplomacy; (3) by politics. Finally the whole world realised how much the two neighbouring countries (Rwanda and Uganda) had meddled in DR Congo following a 204 page UN report.
It was very nice for us Congolese to hear that all funds from Western countries were blocked and could no longer fund the Rwandan regime because this money was creating a war and causing the deaths of innocent DR Congo people.
DR Congo citizens are watching their government and the international community and saying that we are tired of living in conflict, with over 5 million of us killed and our sisters, mothers and grand- mothers raped, while the war prevents us from working and building a future. We hope that just as motorcyclists celebrated the first day of 2013, this is the sign of long- lasting peace for eastern DR Congo. John Kahekwa