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Cablegate: Goma Notes October 17: North Kivu Provincial

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O 201407Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8628
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000901

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: GOMA NOTES OCTOBER 17: NORTH KIVU PROVINCIAL
ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT ON DEFECTIONS TO CNDP;
ALLEGATIONS OF TUTSI HARRASSMENT

1. (SBU) Summary: Goma poloff spoke with the North Kivu Provincial
Assembly President, Leon Bariyanga, and two colleagues to discuss
recent governmental defections to the CNDP, alleged harassment of
Tutsis, and general security in North Kivu. They complained that
the CNDP problem was inhibiting all efforts to deal with the more
serious issue of the FDLR. He acknowledged recent defections of two
members of the provincial assembly to the CNDP, but minimized the
effect this would have on the assembly. They also downplayed the
level of ethnic targeting against Tutsis, but acknowledged that the
situation should be monitored closely. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Goma poloff met October 16 with Leon Bariyanga, President
of the Provincial Assembly of North Kivu; Jean Baumbilia, Assembly
Vice-President; and two assembly members, Kayisavera Mbake and
Gilbert Kalinda. (Note: Embassy Kinshasa nominated Bariyanga for
the 2009 African Regional Transparency and Good Governance IVP and
Kalinda participated in the 2008 July-August Provincial Legislator
IVP. End Note)

Defections to CNDP
------------------

3. (SBU) Bariyanga said that he had heard that two deputies (one
RCD and one MLC) had defected to the CNDP. However, he noted that,
because the assembly was currently in recess, this could not be
confirmed until the next plenary scheduled for January 15, 2009. At
that time, if any deputies have left their post, the assembly would
strip them of their mandate and they would be replaced via
established assembly procedures. Any evidence of actual material
support to the CNDP would, of course, be more serious and would
likely result in charges of high treason. Bariyanga and his staff
named only one of the alleged defectors from the assembly, Francois
Gachaba, but conceded that at least one special advisor to the
governor and two provincial cabinet directors also reportedly
defected.

4. (SBU) Note: Late October 16, CNDP website http://Kivupeace.org
listed 16 provincial officials and local citizens who had allegedly
defected to the organization. Gachaba was listed, as was a second
provincial deputy, Nzeyi Mashagiro. Two provincial ministry cabinet
directors, as well as professors, students, and businessmen were
also on the list. An interesting footnote is that both defecting
assemblymen are Hutus, yet another indication that the Tutsi-led
CNDP is more diverse that many foreign observers seem to realize,
and that the dynamics of Tutsi-Hutu relations in the DRC are quite
different than in Rwanda. End Note.

5. (SBU) As to a motive for the defections, Bariyanga explained
that some individuals were probably convinced that Nkunda would take
Goma one day and they therefore wanted to position themselves
favorably in advance. Nkunda was already offering positions on his
staff. Bariyanga stressed that the departure of two deputies would
not have a serious effect on the 42-seat assembly. It was not
unusual for a deputy to leave his position for a different job
elsewhere in the government. According to the provincial
parliamentarians, the local population had spoken out against those
who had defected. Kalinda noted that there had been a false rumor
that he had also defected to the CNDP; his constituents had warned
him not to do so.

Security situation in North Kivu
--------------------------------

6. (SBU) Bariyanga and his colleagues clearly blamed Rwanda and
"Rwanda's proxy" Laurent Nkunda for the majority of the problems in
North Kivu. The most serious result of the ongoing conflict was the
GDRC's inability to focus on the FDLR, either militarily or through
psychological operations -- "sensitization." The provincial
assembly, according to Bariyanga, had been in the process of
convincing significant elements of the FDLR to disarm when Rwanda
made public its list of 6,000 wanted genocide suspects, thus scaring
off many potential defectors. Now Rwanda was actively supporting
the CNDP, as evidenced by the care of wounded CNDP soldiers in
Rwanda. For deputies from FDLR-affected areas, the lack of progress
on disarmament and demobilization would make it difficult to get
re-elected.

Targeting of Tutsis
-------------------

7. (SBU) When asked to comment on allegations of Tutsis being
targeted in Goma, Bariyanga and his colleagues initially appeared to
deny the claims altogether. They said that tensions in Goma were
not ethnic-based, but economic in nature. No products from Masisi

KINSHASA 00000901 002 OF 002


were able to reach Goma through CNDP-controlled Mushake. The
Rutshuru road remained open, but because many of the local
population in the area were now in IDP camps, they were unable to
cultivate the fields. Inadequate and sporadic supply of
agricultural products was fueling inflation and hunger.

8. (SBU) When pressed, the assembly members eventually acknowledged
that, in the minds of the local population, problems in Goma could
be blamed on Rwanda, the CNDP, and thus the Tutsi community.
However, they seemed sincerely concerned that the international
community was over-simplifying the issue - perhaps drawing too much
from the experience of Rwanda. In the Kivus, according to
Bariyanga, one could find all ethnicities side by side at soccer
matches, in churches, and in bars. Tutsis held important national
government and business posts, including six Tutsi generals. There
was a Tutsi senator in Kinshasa who, because there were no Tutsis in
the North Kivu provincial assembly, was obviously supported by
non-Tutsis. In Goma, there were not separate Hutu, Nande, or Tutsi
neighborhoods, as people were truly intermixed.

9. (SBU) Bariyanga maintained that, when rumors of Tutsi targeting
in Goma emerged, the provincial assembly launched its own
investigation, led by a Tutsi, to verify the claims. They
reportedly found only two Tutsi prisoners in all of Goma. In fact,
according to the assembly members, closer inspection of the
humanitarian situation revealed that something closer to a "slow
genocide of Hutus" was underway. It was true that Rutshuru and
Masisi territories were roughly 75% and 65% Hutu, respectively.
However, the vast majority in IDP camps were Hutus.

10. (SBU) Assembly Vice President Baumbilia asked what the United
States expected from the local authorities on this issue. Poloff
repeated that a proactive stance to counter messages of ethnic
hatred would be an encouraging start. Poloff added that
demonstrating more public support for MONUC would also be welcome,
as MONUC was frequently misunderstood and misrepresented despite its
clear mandate to protect innocent civilians. The assembly members
agreed, but lamented that a real reduction in ethnic tensions would
only result from an improvement in the security, humanitarian, and
economic situations.

11. (SBU) Bariyanga asked for USG support to realize an idea to
promote peaceful cohabitation. The provincial assembly wanted to
send a delegation into the Congolese (and overwhelmingly Tutsi)
refugee camps in Rwanda. Previous requests to do so had been denied
by Rwanda. The assembly essentially only wanted to pass the message
that the refugees would be welcomed back to North Kivu, when they
felt comfortable returning.

12. (SBU) Comment: The defections of elected and appointed local
officials to the CNDP, if confirmed as more than a CNDP propaganda
exercise, is an embarrassment for the GDRC and exemplify its
struggle to firmly establish state authority in the region.
Expectations that Nkunda is poised to capture Goma would appear to
be exaggerated, especially given MONUC's stronghold in that city.
Nonetheless, many powerful people are clearly pondering an uncertain
future for the Kivus. Post agrees that accusations of anti-Tutsi
sentiment and actions in the region deserve close monitoring in the
context of rising inter-ethnic tensions. End Comment.

BROCK

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