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News Analysis: DR Congo to heal wounds after anti-insurgency operations
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13:20, March 17, 2009

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has largely conquered the major insurgency threat in cooperation with neighboring countries, but internal wounds caused over the disputed operations are yet to be healed among law makers.

According to sources close to parliamentarians, the National Assembly (lower chamber of parliament) is set to hold an ordinary session on Monday to debate the opposition voiced by most of the deputies to the presence of Rwandan and Ugandan troops in the country.

One of the spotlights would be the resignation pressure being faced by parliament speaker Vital Kamerhe, who belongs to President Joseph Kabila's majority coalition (AMP), but joined the opposition to the multi-nation operations in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Orientale.

Kabila's government invited Uganda and southern Sudan on Dec. 14 to enter Orientale in a joint raid on the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Kinshasa also invited Rwandan troops to North Kivu on Jan. 20 to dislodge the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The joint action proved a success in neutralizing rebels in the country's restive eastern part and in improving relations between former foes. Both Rwanda and Uganda invaded DR Congo (then Zaire) in the 1990s in the culmination of rebel-induced tensions.

But Kabila came under huge pressure from law makers against the presence of foreign troops in the early stage of the joint attacks.

Out of the 500 MPs, 262 signed a petition last month to press Kabila to end the Rwandan military presence. Kamerhe, who was one of the AMP members to join the opposition, complained that he had not been informed of the plan to invite foreign troops.

Kamerhe's remarks were seen as a rebellion inside the ruling AMP, which is led by Kabila's Party of the People for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) and also includes the PALU headed by Antoine Gizenga and the UDEMO led by Mobutu Zanga, son of defunct former president Mobutu Sese Seko.

The AMP called a meeting several days ago, presenting Kamerhe a letter to demand his resignation, insiders said, adding Kamerhe tried to explain, but in vain.

With the anti-insurgency achievements and the pullout of foreign troops in February and March, the situation has turned unfavorable for the once outspoken critics.

Contacts were made in the past weeks to seek possible reconciliation, but the results were not good, said an insider who declined to be identified.

During his trip to Musienene in North Kivu early this month, Kabila said in a response to the question about his relationship with Kamerhe that "nobody is indispensable," adding "people pass by and the institutions stay."

A member of the AMP, who asked to remain anonymous, said "the demotion of Vital Kamerhe was certain" and that several others would be replaced, including PPRD Secretary General Evariste Boshab and National Assembly Vice-President Lutundula Apala.

Source: Xinhua



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