FARDC – Tribune: “Mission Possible” For General Tshiwewe?

New Chief of the General Staff of the Congolese Armed Forces since October 3, 2022, Lieutenant-General Christian Tshiwewe Songesa, 54, takes over the leadership of our armed forces at a complex time when the Congolese population, white-hot, awaits a result “. This result is none other than the recovery of the locality of Bunagana from the hands of the “troublemakers” of the M23. Will the former number one of the Republican Guard be able to take up the challenge?

Kinshasa. Camp Kokolo. Thursday October 13. Hats off to the outgoing FARDC Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Célestin Mbala Musese for the impeccable organization of the “change of command” ceremony between him and his successor, Lieutenant General Christian Tshiwewe Songesa. What is commonplace under other skies always seems exceptional in Congo-Kinshasa. The military parade was irreproachable. Rarely have FARDC soldiers, officers and non-commissioned officers shown such discipline and order. All this under the eyes of the Supreme Commander of the FARDC, President Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo. Gossips have not failed to whisper that “Congolese soldiers are only good for parade”.

First highlight: the address of the outgoing Chief of General Staff. We will retain from the speech of Lieutenant General Célestin Mbala Musense a certain satisfaction with the reforms undertaken in the army and the military administration. For him, the military programming law which has just been promulgated will have the effect of increasing the operational capacities of the national army. And this “at a time when our country is facing instability caused by foreign aggression”. Some regretted the fact that the “outgoing” did not dare to name the aggressor.

It is important to open a parenthesis here to note that military experts hope that the military programming law – which provides for an annual allocation estimated at one billion dollars – will result in the modernization of FARDC equipment, particularly in combat tanks. , troop carriers, artillery and helicopter gunships. And why not surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile launchers? Let’s close the parenthesis.

General Mbala ended his speech by stressing the unconditional “support” that the Congolese population shows for the armed forces. He, in passing, suggested to his successor to “make good use of this support”. In other words, this trust should not be betrayed.

Second highlight: the presentation of the Standard to the new Chief of General Staff (CEMG) by the Supreme Commander. “I give you this standard, symbol of your command and I ask you to defend it until the supreme sacrifice”, he said this ritual formula.

Third highlight: swearing in of the new CEMG: “I solemnly swear before the nation and before the President of the Republic, supreme commander of the FARDC, to scrupulously respect the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the laws of the DRC, to accomplish with loyalty and honor all the missions entrusted to me and to devote all my forces and all my know-how to defending the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC against any form of threat of a military nature. invasion or aggression until the supreme sacrifice”.

General Christian Tshiwewe Songesa takes over the leadership of our armed forces at a time when the Congolese state is showing signs of being the “weakest link” in Central Africa. And this lack of a deterrent army allowing the country to defend its borders without having to resort to the assistance of certain neighboring countries. The former Zaire has ceased to exercise the monopoly of legitimate coercion on its territory. The country has been facing, for more than two decades, an instability caused by national and foreign armed bands. Without omitting the covetousness of certain countries. This is the case of Rwanda.

It is not said enough that the pseudo-liberators of May 17, 1997 had hastened to send 42,000 FAZ soldiers to a concentration camp at the Kitona Base. Several officers, non-commissioned officers and commandos trained in the best military academies died of malnutrition and other cholera. Some neighboring countries – well known – hoped by this crime against humanity to keep the “Greater Congo” on its knees.

The mission entrusted to General Tshiwewe will only be possible on four conditions. First: identify neighboring countries that threaten the national security of the DRC. Examples include Angola, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Vigilance should be required with regard to these countries. Second: restore the esprit de corps within the armed forces by eradicating “mono-ethnicism” in certain units. At the time of the Force Publique, the colonial power scrupulously ensured the mixing of tribes. The army was doing well. Third: carry out pyramidal permutations so that the natives of a province are assigned elsewhere than their territory. Finally: Degrease the “mammoth” by reducing the FARDC workforce to more or less 50,000 men. Well trained, well equipped and well paid men.

General Tshiwewe is the first Chief of General Staff of our armed forces not from the Zairian Armed Forces.

Baudouin Amba Wetshi

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