Cablegate: Evangelical Bishop's Meeting with Nkunda February 6

DE RUEHKI #0144/01 0420931
O 110931Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Evangelical bishop's meeting with Nkunda February 6

1. (SBU) Summary: Evangelical Bishop J. M. Runiga, an informal
intermediary with Nkunda, reported that Nkunda may, for the time
being, be willing to stay the course but will not accept several
elements of the "Amani" decree of February 2, particularly what he
sees as inadequate representation of the international community and
CNDP in the structures. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Bishop Apostle J. M. Runiga Lugerero, National President of
the Association of Churches of the Awakening, President of the
Church Jesus Christ the Only Savior, and National Coordinator of the
National Conference of Evangelical Churches, met Laurent Nkunda for
four hours on the evening of February 6. MONUC flew him from
Kinshasa to Goma February 5 and helicoptered him to and from
Kirolirwe February 6. He provided a read-out to Chief of Staff John
Almstrom and Steven Jackson of MONUC and to Poloff upon his return
to Goma February 7.

3. (SBU) Runiga said that this time, unlike his several previous
meetings with Nkunda from September until January, he had had no
mandate from President Kabila or his counselors. No one had asked
him to come, but he felt that it was his mission to continue the
intermediation process he had begun. Runiga is originally from
South Kivu, although he now has churches all over DRC. Apparently,
Nkunda, himself an evangelical preacher, attended Runiga's church in
Kisingani in past years.

4. (SBU) Runiga said that Nkunda affirmed his support for the Acte
d'Engagement but had grave doubts about the willingness of the
government to fulfill the letter or spirit of the Acte. Nkunda
cited what he called repeated attacks on CNDP by PARECO, which he
saw as under the control of the government. (Note: Another view is
that PARECO serves as a front for FDLR, but Nkunda did not express
this view. End note.)

5. (SBU) Nkunda also cited the communique of the recent meeting of
the defense ministers of DRC and Uganda in Beni, which he said
referred to the CNDP as a negative force that had to be eliminated.
Nkunda said that this was a very serious provocation. MONUC's copy
of the communique, which is provided to the CNDP delegation which
met Etumba February 6, refers to negative forces but does not
mention CNDP. However, that delegation had not yet debriefed
Nkunda, as it only returned to his headquarters in Kirolirwe as
Runiga was finishing his meeting with Nkunda.

6. (SBU) Runiga said that Nkunda cited a third, but less clear,
reason for his conclusion that the government was not acting in good
faith. Nkunda spoke of the government's "unwillingness to deal with
the core political questions." Runiga interpreted this part of
Nkunda's discourse to mean that he objected to the government's
refusal to speak to him directly and to address, in particular, his
own status.

7. (SBU) Nkunda had several objections to Kabila's decree of
February 2 establishing the "Peace Program" for the Kivus).
Overall, he told Runiga that it did not respect the spirit of the
Kivus Conference. In particular -- and these were points that
Runiga said Nkunda came back to repeatedly -- the decree did not
adequately involve the international community or the CNDP. This
criticism applied across the board, but Nkunda focused especially on
the Steering Committee, the highest organ of the Peace Program,
composed of the interior, foreign, defense, justice, finance,
budget, and social affairs ministers and an -- as yet unnamed --
National Coordinator of the Peace Program. Nowhere was the
international community or CNDP mentioned in this most powerful
organ of the program. Most of these ministers, in Nkunda's view,
were "extremists" opposed to the Acte d'Engagement. He particularly
questioned why Vital Kamerhe was not included, both in his role as
National Assembly President and as key leader of the Kivus
Conference. Nkunda saw Kamerhe as having been shunted aside and
took this as a bad omen.

8. (SBU) Regarding the Technical Committee on Peace and Security,
Nkunda scoffed at the idea of two delegates each for CNDP and FRF
and one each for other armed groups. According to Runiga's account,
it was not clear whether Nkunda was more annoyed at being put on the
same level with FRF ("how can a force of 7,000 men be compared to
one with a few hundred?") or at what he perceived as too much
representation for the Mai Mai (most of which he deemed
insignificant and fabricated by the government). Nkunda said that
he would refuse CNDP participation in any forums that included a
significant presence of "these little groups." Nkunda suggested
that an appropriate formula would be fifty percent participation for
the government, forty percent for CNDP, and ten percent for the
others, in all commissions established by the program.

KINSHASA 00000144 002 OF 002

9. (SBU) Runiga said that, in the meeting, Nkunda was accompanied by
key political (rather than key military) figures: CNDP Secretary
General Deogratias Nzabarinda, Head of Delegation to the Kivus
Conference Kambasu Ngeve, Head of Humanitarian and Health Affairs
Dr. Alexis Kasanzu, and one military officer, Colonel Mucho. Nkunda
said that he had met earlier in the day with his high military
command and would do so again the following day to brief them on his
meeting with Runiga. Runiga said that the other participants in the
meeting appeared to take a harder line than Nkunda on all the key
issues, including the inadequacies of the Peace Program structure,
the Beni communique, and PARECO attacks, and it appeared that Nkunda
sought the meeting with Runiga as a way to convince the others to be
less negative. For his part, Runiga said that he stressed
repeatedly to Nkunda that it was essential for Nkunda to stay the
course, not to be deterred by Mai Mai activity or acts or statements
by extremists in the government.

10. (SBU) Runiga said that he had no plan to meet anyone in the
government. He would have sought to debrief Naval Force chief of
staff Vice-Admiral Didier Etumba, who had led meetings with armed
groups over the past two weeks, but Etumba had departed for Kinshasa
February 7 and Runiga did not plan to return to Kinshasa until
February 12. He said might try to see Kamerhe if Kamerhe were still
inspecting earthquake damage in South Kivu, where one of Runiga's
churches had collapsed on its congregation.


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