From Kabila to Kabila: Prospects for Peace in the Congo
Joseph Kabila, son of the late Laurent Désiré Kabila, speaks a far more peaceful language than that of his bellicose father. But he will not be able to deliver peace alone, and there are already signs that the many parties to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are heading for renewed confrontation. In a Congo that continues to fragment, Kabila's patrons and his enemies are beginning to quarrel among themselves. What looms are a series of battles as the factions struggle for influence and spoils. The assassination of Laurent Kabila on 16 January 2001 and the appointment of his son Joseph as President of the DRC brought fresh hope to the stalled Lusaka Peace process. The new president swiftly agreed to the deployment of a United Nations military observer force (MONUC) to oversee troop withdrawals, and he approved the appointment of Sir Ketumile Masire to open a vital Inter-Congolese Dialogue. There has also been contact between Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his father's old enemy, on disarmament of the forces associated with the Rwandan genocide of 1994, who found refuge in Congo. The UN Security Council hailed these gestures of goodwill by approving the deployment of MONUC in February to verify disengagement of forces, and almost immediately Rwandan and Ugandan forces began some troop withdrawals.