Last week’s decision by Arthur Z’ahidi Ngoma to resign as deputy chairman of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) has drawn contrasting reactions from Congo’s belligerents.
Kabila said on Friday on his return to Kinshasa after a five-day informal visit to Saudi Arabia that he was “pleased if Z’ahidi Ngoma has come to his senses”. Congolese TV also quoted him as saying the former rebel leader was now “free to come (to Kinshasa) if he so wishes”.
Rebel leaders, on the other hand, were less than happy at his defection. Rebel-controlled ‘Radio Bukavu’ quoted Jean-Pierre Ondekane, commander of the RCD’s armed wing, as describing Z’ahidi Ngoma as a “coward”. Alexis Tambwe Mwamba, a member of the movement’s executive council, said the former deputy chairman’s departure changed nothing in the struggle to free Congo, according to ‘Radio Bukavu’.
Z’ahidi Ngoma himself told RFI on Friday that his main reasons for quitting the RCD were that it had refused to become a rally for Congolese and to work towards achieving democracy. He said an RCD victory would merely lead to a third war since the movement’s leaders “are only petty puppets” and “will do nothing different from what the AFDL has done”.
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