AFRICA/DR CONGO – “Why should criminals be rewarded”: Nobel laureate criticizes the president’s appointment of a former rebel leader

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Kinshasa – “Why should criminals be rewarded in this way?” Asks the Congolese Nobel Peace Prize laureate, doctor and human rights activist, Dr. Denis Mukwegue, in connection with the appointment of a former rebel leader close to the armed organization M23, Emmanuel Tommy Tambwe Ushindi, as coordinator of the DDRCS program for disarmament, demobilization and the recovery and stabilization of communities, launched by Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.
“By rewarding criminals rather than bringing them to justice, this strategy encourages armed groups in the bush to wait for their turn”, the Nobel Laureate said in a press release. “It is a way to perpetuate the suffering of the population. If the rebels were to understand that beheading children, mutilating women and killing men will never lead them to assume positions of power in the administration, I think this will help discourage the commission of these barbaric actions that have been taking place in this territory for decades. If people have this impression that they will end up being rewarded for the damage they do to the population, why do you want them to stop?”, underlines Dr. Mukwegue who instead asks to rely on the many Congolese who truly desire peace “if you really want to eradicate the armed groups that have ruled the east of the country for 25 years”.
Emmanuel Tommy Tambwe Ushindi, a former member of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie , was appointed coordinator of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Restoration Program by Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi on August 6th.
In 2012, Emmanuel Tommy Tambwe Ushindi took over the leadership of an M23 rebel movement, the Alliance for the Liberation of Eastern Congo, which Amnesty International accused of crimes in South Kivu, including the forced recruitment of children.