I just found out, via Andrew Sullivan’s blog, that Tim Butcher had penned a rather interesting article at the Prospect Magazine accusing China for provoking a new cycle of violence in Congo. Now, before people jump up and throw charges at me (i.e., you are being super sensitive again!), I just want to say that I am only sharing this with you for amusement. Really.
Many tribal groups across the country are resentful of the ruling elite in Kinshasa. These resentments have been exacerbated by jealousies over vast contracts recently signed between China and the government of President Joseph Kabila. Anger has focused on the likelihood of Kabila and his inner circle, from his base in the southern province of Katanga, skimming off vast sums from these opaque deals.
The appetite of China’s economy has created tension across Africa, with Chinese businessmen willing to spend vast sums for scarce raw materials. Countries like Zambia or Sierra Leone, long used to relying on aid, have found themselves with unprecedented revenues. Details of the contracts, and lucrative bribes and backhanders, are scant. But the scale became clear when, two years ago, China promised Congo $5bn in exchange for rights to much of its copper, cobalt, tin and other minerals.
This massive cash pot has stirred up the disenfranchised masses in Congo’s regions who won’t see a penny from Kinshasa as things stand. It has also inspired the Tutsi-influenced rebels of the Kivus, led by General Laurent Nkunda, whose insurgency is designed to force Kabila to share the spoils.
[and this articles ends with] Nor should guilt about the results of our colonial scramble for Africa more than a century ago prevent us criticising the Chinese for provoking a new cycle of violence.
So the moral of the story from Tim Butcher is: Let’s continue to keep all people in Congo in abject poverty so that they would kill each other at a slower pace.