Cablegate: Masisi Leadership Workshop Yields Promising

DE RUEHKI #1149/01 3621056
R 281056Z DEC 09







E.O.12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On December 12 Michel Kassa briefed USAID Mission
Director and TDY poloff on a Wilson Center-organized leadership
training workshop held November 23-27 in Goma that brought together
100 representatives of six communities in Masisi District, North
Kivu. The end results show promise of cooperation among the
different tribal groups in the area. An additional conference on
conflict is planned for Rutshuru district. End summary.

Why Masisi? Why now?

2. (U) Kassa and his Wilson Center colleagues with USAID
concurrence moved to replace other planned workshops with the Masisi
forum for two major reasons. First, the historic conflict over who
controls the land in the area has escalated due to the new
prominence of the ex-CNDP in the local/provincial administration and
prospect for large scale returns of IDPs and refugees to Masisi.
There is also increased interest from the provincial government,
including North Kivu Lt. Governor Feller Lutaichirwa, to discuss the
issue among the Masisi communities. In addition, the appropriate
Wilson Center facilitators were only available the week of November


3. (SBU) Kassa explained that the forum was comprised of two
sub-meetings of about fifty people each that took place in Goma at
the Stella and Karubu Hotels, respectively. The groups combined in
the final plenary sessions to negotiate, agree upon and sign a joint
statement. Wilson Center forums normally consist of groups of no
more than 40 people, but local contacts -- especially Lutaichirwa
and North Kivu Coordinator of the provincial peace building support
office ("Cellule Provinciale d'Appui a la Pacification") Clovis
Munihire -- made clear that such a small group would exclude too
many of the essential Masisi stakeholders.

4. (SBU) Participating groups were differentiated by ethnicity and
included representatives of the Hutu, Hunde, Kumu, Tembo, Tutsi, and
Twa (pygmy) communities. No representatives of the armed wings were
explicitly present, though in some cases delegation members spoke
for the armed factions. Though the Tutsi delegates took what might
be considered a "pro-CNDP" position, they did not represent the
splits within the CNDP between the pro-Bosco faction, the political
factions, and those who identify with former CNDP leader Laurent

5. (SBU) The workshops differed in another important respect, in
that the meetings are usually closed to all except the participants.
However, because of the involvement of the international community
in the supposed "plot" to dispossess communities in favor of
returnees, representatives from UNHCR, UNHABITAT and Eastern
Coordination of the UN were asked to be on-call to enter the
meetings in order address questions or issues posed to them.

Summary of proceedings

6. (SBU) At the start of the workshop, representatives of each
group were asked to outline their complaints and grievances as well
as the commitments and pledges they were willing to contribute to
the solution finding process. Initial participation in this exercise
was disheartening when the Tembo representatives outlined only their
complaints and problems and refused to make any compromises or
Qcomplaints and problems and refused to make any compromises or
commitments. Each of the other communities followed suit in a
similar manner focusing only on their grievances and indicating few
signs of their willingness to make compromises.

7. (SBU) The Hunde delegation leader took the hardest line of all
the participants. Kassa asked each group to include their most
radical elements, but the Hunde leader insisted he could not speak
for Hunde armed elements, and had no influence over them. Further
complicating their participation, the delegation leader was not even
from Masisi, but lived in Goma.

KINSHASA 00001149 002 OF 003

8. (SBU) The tone of the workshop eventually shifted when the Tembo
group, which had initiated the hard line approach, took the first
step toward compromise. They modified their unilateral statement
and asked the other groups to pardon them for any wounds or offense
the Tembo may have caused and, in turn, pardoned the others for
anything they may have done against the Tembo. Most of the other
groups then followed this vein of compromise and became more
accommodating. The Tutsi group asked the others for pardon for the
wars and destruction they may have caused, while the Hutus and the
Kumus expressed a willingness to work with the others. The Hunde
group leader remained recalcitrant -- refusing to apologize and
saying that when an apology does not come from the heart it is
meaningless. Kassa appealed over his head to others in the Hunde
delegation, who agreed to work together with the other Masisi

9. (U) At the final plenary, the delegates agreed to (a) keep their
agreements; (b) only resolve their problems by non-violent means;
(c) treat the complaints and problems of other communities with
respect and to search for just and legal ways to resolve them; (d)
treat one another with respect; and (e) work through the Technical
Commission for Reconciliation and Pacification (STAREC) to
peacefully resolve these conflicts.

Kassa sees real progress, but questions remain
--------------------------------------------- --

10. (SBU) The Hunde and Tembo local communities appeared to tone
down their accusations that there is a "plot" against them to take
their property. They appeared appreciative of the fact that part of
the problem, certainly insofar as the Hutu are concerned, is simply
demographic. Population growth is a fact of life, not necessarily a
plot. (Note: USAID Director and TDY poloff agreed that toning down
conspiracy theories is important, but that even if Hutu conspiracy
theories are being put to rest, Tutsi conspiracy theories continue
to run rampant, especially in the light of CNDP power grabs and
poorly documented crossborder population movements from Rwanda. End

11. (SBU) UNHCR Coordinator for Eastern DRC Karl Steinacker won
cheers from the communities with his "humble but assertive" pledge
that UNHCR would not take any actions or decisions about resettling
people unless and until it had discussed the situation fully with
all the communities. (Comment: Based on similar statements earlier
in the week by Steinacker, it appears that UNHCR is saying it will
not take any position -- pro, con, or indifferent -- on population
movements within and into Masisi. In other words, UNHCR will not do
or say anything on the most controversial and dangerous political
and security issue affecting the entire region, even one that is
well within its mandate. End comment.)

12. (SBU) The local community leaders agreed to the idea that
refugees and IDPs from Masisi could indeed return to the area with
one caveat: Masisi leaders, or trusted representatives of the
state, would screen those coming in to ensure that they were indeed
from families who had historically lived there. Representatives of
the Tutsi community strongly supported this to ensure that only
Tutsis who had a real claim to be inhabitants of the area -- and not
QTutsis who had a real claim to be inhabitants of the area -- and not
Tutsi outsiders from Rwanda or elsewhere -- were allowed to return.
(Note: USAID Director and TDY poloff indicated they would find it
extremely unlikely that returnees and people who claim to hold
property would put their fates in the hands of autochtone community
leaders from different tribes or government officials unless they
could guarantee decisions in their favor. End note.)

The CNDP factor

13. (SBU) Although the conference appeared to make important
progress in bringing people together to discuss and resolve the
issues that divide them rather than resort to armed conflict and
unilateral action, an important question still remains. The
question arises: How does this square with concurrent and
subsequent developments, including the declaration of a new
anti-government movement based on support from key CNDP elements,
new CNDP and other defections from the FARDC, and the establishment
of a parallel government structure in Masisi by people associated

KINSHASA 00001149 003 OF 003

with the CNDP?

14. (SBU) Kassa readily admitted that the leadership training
discussion in Goma did not take into account the internal strife
within the CNDP in general and Bosco Ntaganda's own agenda in
particular. He noted that Bosco had a tendency to act like this
when he is under stress. For example, he established the MRC in an
effort to maintain his relevance in Ituri circa 2004 when Tomas
Lubanga and company in the UPC were cutting him loose. Bosco does
not speak for the whole CNDP and others associated with the group
remain interested in working within the FARDC. Kassa also noted
that Seraphin Mirindi, a Mushi who had served as Nkunda's former
political advisor, appeared content in the FARDC and others like
Laurent Nkunda loyalist Sultani Makenga would not join with Bosco
out of contempt for him. Bosco's ability to appeal to Tutsis is
limited because many see him as insufficiently cultured or educated.
They also see him as being more concerned with his own interests
than with the security and interests of the Tutsis and their
community. Kassa opined that the CNDP problem could potentially
bring down the whole edifice and noted that other observers (he
referred to Tutsi businessman Victor Ngezayo in particular) were
very worried about the direction of the CNDP and Bosco's influence.

What next?

15. (SBU) Kassa said he believes his work with the Wilson Center on
the Masisi issue is finished. He hopes that ongoing efforts to
build upon progress made during the November conference will involve
others -- most notably the provincial government via the STAREC
process. He thought that Lt. Governor Lutaichirwa would be willing
to build on the Goma talks and Clovis Munihire would make an
excellent facilitator. Follow on efforts by the North Kivu
provincial authorities are being incorporated under the Government's
STAREC program. The North Kivu Peace and Reconciliation Commission,
headed by Mr. Munihire, was established on November 9, 2009. Lt.
Governor Lutachirwa recently requested funding for the Commission
from USAID in support of a 25 member delegation from the Masisi
forum in conducting community outreach regarding the engagements
made, in the form of a letter delivered to the TDY USAID
representative in Goma.

16. (SBU) The next event organized by Kassa and the Wilson Center
is a conference on conflict in and around Rutshuru in January. They
suspect that Lutaichirwa (who can be a "Jeckyl and Hyde character")
might be less supportive in the Rutshuru conference than he had been
in the Goma sessions. The Rutshuru conflict, which mainly involves
competing claims of Hutu and Nande, is of less interest to
Lutaichirwa than Masisi, where Lutaichirwa's Hunde group plays a
more central role.

17. (U) Kassa also briefly mentioned the Wilson Center's role in
organizing a workshop held December 3-4 around commemorations of
U.S. academic Herbert Weiss's 50 years of working on and in the
Congo. Although the number of expected participants was
disappointing, they are significant players in the region, including
the Minister of Decentralization and Territorial Administration
Mbusa Nyamwisi, several parliamentary deputies, members of civil
society and lawyers.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>