Ned Meerdink (DR Congo)

Ned Meerdink (Sos Femmes en Danger – SOSFED): Ned earned his Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied humanitarian work in Central and Eastern Africa. After graduation, NED worked for human rights NGOs in the US and Congo. They included Mutuelle Jeunesse Active (MJA) in Sud Kivu. AP deployed Ned to Uvira, in South Kivu, in September 2008 to work with civil society organizations including Tunza Mazingira, Arche d’Alliance, and SOS Femmes en Danger. Ned launched the partnership between SOSFED and AP in 2009.



“In Congo, a Little Fighting Brings a Lot of Fear”-NY Times, Nov 2 2008

04 Nov

“When Congo shakes, Africa trembles.”

If you are interested in reading more about Congo’s “linchpin” role in African regional stability, the NY TIMES published a really interesting article today. The first sentence of this article (quoted above) summarizes its main theme. The article describes in some detail the volatility of the Great Lakes region, in particular at times when Congo is at war or unstable. The war in Congo which began in 1998 has been called “Africa’s World War,” partially because of the fact that when Congo goes to war, often times it’s neighbors follow, quickly turning into a regional crisis.

So I just wanted to quickly link to this article, by Jeffrey Gettleman:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/03/world/africa/03congo.html?ref=africa

There is also a very good book called The African Stakes of the Congo War edited by John F. Clark which argues a similar point. It is a compilation of essays on Congo’s conflict by a long list of “authoritative” Great Lakes scholars. Here is a review for that book:
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20030301fabook10402/john-f-clark/the-african-stakes-of-the-congo-war.html

All of this evidence highlights very well the importance of the negotiations beginning between the Congolese government and neighboring Rwanda. Unfortunately, today all of the major news sources began reporting that Kabila, the president of Congo, has categorically refused include rebel chief Laurent Nkunda in the negotiations, which really seems likely to burden efforts to pacify the Kivus. Everyone here is unsure exactly who Kabila plans to negotiate with if not with Nkunda directly (many view Kagame of Rwanda as a representative and supporter of Nkunda’s rebellion, but that is up for debate depending on who you speak with), but it is clear that Kabila’s refusal is a dangerous gamble. The stability of the Great Lakes Region, if there is truth in the sources cited above, depends on comprehensive negotiations, and these are just impossible to have without inviting the CNDP rebels in position to overtake North Kivu’s provincial capital (Goma) to the table. Part of the failure of the Amani Program, which was meant to end the war in eastern Congo, was due to the break down of the negotiations and the inability to make lasting agreements between former enemies. What good can these current discussions be if one of the three major actors (Kabila, Kagame, Nkunda) is not even invited?

Ned Meerdink

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Posted By Ned Meerdink (DR Congo)

Posted Nov 4th, 2008

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