If the Congolese just remained poor amid their excessive wealth, without affecting others, it would be okay, if that was their chosen lifestyle. But their instability is affecting neighbours and we are not amused.
The kleptocratic Casanova who mismanaged Congo/Zaire for three decades was removed by neighbours Rwanda and Uganda over a decade ago because of the threat he posed to the two countries.
However, there were disagreements with the man they installed to manage the country, and a war that sucked in several countries ensued. Uganda and Rwanda left DRC but the threat to their security remained.
Now the AU has at least three urgent reasons to intervene militarily in the DRC and several advantages to gain by doing so.
First, some 70 million ordinary African people in DRC need to be rescued from absence of effective government.
Since the senile dictator was removed over a decade ago, younger “leaders” have shown no ability to lead the people of the world’s richest country into living meaningful lives. It is not clear to me why they even organise elections and contest for power — to do what with it?
Secondly, DRC’s neigbours need their peace. The inability of the “government” there to police its territory makes it possible for criminals from countries as far away as Pakistan to organise mischief from DRC’s forests.
Thirdly, the dignity of the black man is at stake. As the long as the world’s most mineral-rich country remains the home of its poorest citizens, it remains difficult for us to convince the rest that there is nothing wrong with African heads.
The continent must step in and stop the general hopelessness in Congo. The Congolese people can keep their government if they want it but a situation must be created for it to deliver basic services and security and develop infrastructure.
There are advantages for the AU in moving into Congo militarily. First of all, the country is very rich. It can pay for the intervention. So the AU does not need to seek financial assistance from outside to stabilise Congo.
Second, by enabling the Congolese people to start exploiting their wealth for their own good, a very rich nation shall develop on the continent and trade opportunities shall accrue for everybody else.
Third, Congo’s minerals and hydroelectric potential can power development on the continent and make the Congolese people very rich.
I have attended conferences where there were Congolese scientists. They are brilliant people. They may not carry iPads and other gizmos like their counterparts from other countries, but they know their stuff.
*Joachim Buwembo is a Knight International fellow for development journalism.