NewsEast & Horn AfricaDRC: Failed military deal scuppers Zimbabwe intervention


Posted on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:28

DRC: Failed military deal scuppers Zimbabwe intervention

By Janet Shoko

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is reported to be reluctant to send soldiers to back his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart Joseph Kabila because his government is owed $1 billion incurred during its previous deployment in 1998.


Mugabe sent troops to defend Kabila's late father Laurent Desire Kabila who was battling a rebel menace.

Zimbabwe was joined by Angola and Namibia in a civil war that also sucked in troops from Rwanda and Uganda.

There have been calls for Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to intervene in the latest DRC conflict after M23 rebels seized the strategic city of Goma and started marching towards the capital Kinshasa.

But the intervention seems unlikely because Mugabe was the most avid supporter of the previous SADC military action.

According to the Zimbabwe Independent, a leading business weekly, government officials says the impoverished Southern Africa country has been pushing for the $1 billion compensation since 2000.

The money is for lost military hardware and consumables but DRC officials, the paper said.

"The aftermath of the DRC war on Zimbabwe has been very bad," the paper quoted a government official saying.

"After Zimbabwe withdrew its troops, South Africa and other bigger powers moved in to do business

"Zimbabwe's mining contracts there were cancelled.

"The DRC refused to compensate Zimbabwe for war losses and Kabila distanced himself from Mugabe."

It is also said that Kabila lacks appreciation of Mugabe's help rendered to his late father who was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2001.

Zimbabwe would now "only act within SADC, the African Union (AU) an United Nations (UN) frameworks".

Regional leaders met in Uganda on Saturday in the latest summit intended to find a solution to the crisis.

Uganda, whose leader Yoweri Museveni is acting as a mediator, has had its credibility tarnished by revelations in a UN report that some of its military officials actively support M23 rebels.

Rwanda is also accused of supporting the rebels but both countries deny the charges.

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