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3-Legged Stool Teetering in Rwanda

“Rwanda has emerged as a darling of the aid world, praised for strong, uncorrupt leadership and the strides it has made in fighting AIDS and poverty.”

The New York Times reported today (12/03/08) in an article entitled “Rwanda Stirs Deadly Brew of Troubles in Congo” by Jeffrey Gettleman, that a rebellion in the eastern Congo could explode “into another full-fledged war, and drags a large chunk of central Africa with it, seems likely to depend on the involvement of Rwanda, Congo’s tiny but disproportionately mighty neighbor.”

Rwanda is the first “purpose-driven nation” on Earth, an experiment in the 3-legged stool concept developed and promulgated by the late management guru Peter Drucker. Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan has been using Rwanda as a template for Dominionism. Working hand-in-hand with NGOs, the United Nations, charitable foundations, multinational corporations, and churches, Warren has been trumpeting his “transformation” of the nation of Rwanda.

Far from being the peaceful nation of a Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, The New York Times article today suggests that “the evidence seems to be growing that Rwanda is meddling again in Congo’s troubles.” Disturbingly, this seems to coincide with the meshing of the 3 legs of the stool of “Society” that Peter Drucker defined as State (“Society”), Corporations and Church (Private Sector). The NYT article takes note of the fact that “Rwanda’s stake in Congo is a complex mix of strategic interest [and] business opportunity.” In other words, a complex mix of State and Corporate. This merger of State and Corporate, with the ongoing blessing of the Church — and with all profitting monetarily or by gaining power — means that there is no one to stand up and speak against violence, greed and human rights abuses. The article observes the natural resources that everyone is hungering for:

“Another cause for suspicion is Rwanda’s past plundering of Congo’s rich trove of minerals, going back to the late 1990s when the Rwandan Army seized control of eastern Congo and pumped hundreds of millions of dollars of smuggled coltan, cassiterite and even diamonds back to Rwanda, according to United Nations documents.”

The article notes that “Rwanda’s leaders are vigilant about not endangering their carefully crafted reputation as responsible, development-oriented friends of the West.” Cynically, we wonder if the Rwandan officials have benefitted from the same public relations firm that Rick Warren hired to spiff up his controversial image, A. Larry Ross. In any case, there are serious ethical concerns due to these ongoing intertwinings of the 3 legs of the stool:

“But according to several demobilized soldiers, Rwandan government officials are involved, providing bus fare for the men to travel to Congo and updating the rebel leadership each month on how many fighters from Rwanda are about to come over.

“Many current high-ranking Rwandan officials, including the minister of finance, the ambassador to China and the deputy director of the central bank, were executives at a holding company that a United Nations panel in 2002 implicated in the illicit mineral trade and called to be sanctioned. The officials say that they are no longer part of that company and that the company did nothing wrong. Nonetheless, eastern Congo’s lucrative mineral business still seems to be heavily influenced by ethnic Rwandan businessmen with close ties to Kigali.”

Another example of the faltering 3-legged stool is found in the next statement in the article:

“Some of the most powerful players today, like Modeste Makabuza Ngoga, who runs a small empire of coffee, tea, transport and mineral companies in eastern Congo, are part of a Tutsi-dominated triangle involving the Rwandan government, the conflict-driven mineral trade and a powerful rebel movement led by a renegade general, Laurent Nkunda, a former officer in Rwanda’s army.”

Bringing it close to home, Paul Kagame — Rick Warren’s personal friend — seems complicit in all of this:

“Several United Nations reports have accused Mr. Makabuza Ngoga of using strong-arm tactics to smuggle minerals from Congo to Rwanda and one report said that he enjoyed “close ties” to Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame.”

The article notes that there is “There is a long history of ethnic and business ties that seamlessly flow across the colonially imposed borders.” It is precisely these business (Corporate) ties — to both Church and State — that creates an atmosphere of collusion, distrust, destabilization, exploitation, greed and violence, particularly if there is a vast mineral wealth to be exploited.

This 3-legged stool is teetering on the edge. . . . May God have mercy on the nation of Rwanda.

The Truth:

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)