Ray Nkosi| President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken the under siege Joseph Kabila head on demanding that he compensates Zimbabwe for its role in the 1990s DRC war.
Mnangagwa visited the DRC as it was literary burning, with reported cases of violence and deaths amidst calls for Kabila whose mandate ended several weeks ago to step down.
The costly Zimbabwe intervention saved Kinshasa from a military takeover by rebels backed by neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi. Zimbabwe then had 6,000 troops in the DRC along with tanks, helicopters and Mig fighter planes, costing an estimated Â£1million a day. The budget at the time saw a 46 per cent increase in defence spending, with economic consequences that have never been salvaged.
The local weekly Independent reports that the two, also discussed the unstable political situation in the Great Lakes region following Kabila’s intransigence over elections.
They also discussed Kabila’s security and the role being played by Zimbabwean soldiers who have been part of the DRC leader’s security team.
“Mnangagwa told his DRC counterpart that he needs money to run his election campaign. He asked for Kabila’s assistance in that regard. The resource-rich DRC played a big role during the last elections and has always been one of the go-to countries during elections,” a source said.
“The leaders also discussed issues relating to the compensation of nearly US$1 billion for the equipment lost during the 1990s war.”
Zimbabwe is expected to go for elections in July.
Harare has since 2000 been demanding about US$1 billion from the DRC for military and consumables expenditure incurred during the war. Harare has written to Kinshasa insisting on US$1 billion compensation, but its demands have been resisted and ignored. Zimbabwe wants to be compensated for losses of military equipment, supplies, and monies spent on operations and consumables. However, the DRC insists Zimbabwe was paid through minerals.
Zimbabwe was given mining contracts in the DRC during the war, resulting in military companies mining diamonds. The contracts have been cancelled.
Zimbabwe, still bruised by its costly involvement in the Great Lakes war between 1998 and 2002, where it sustained heavy military, human and financial losses, is not sending troops to the DRC this time despite the dramatic seizure this week of the main eastern town of Goma by rebels, amid threats of an assault on the capital Kinshasa.
Mnangagwa has been to South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana and Namibia.