From email@example.com.NOSPAM Fri Nov 3 14:40:24 2000
Questions which Mr Bush left unanswered
By Paul Wolvekamp, 2 November 2000
Already in November 1996 and April 1997 the magazine Africa Confidential reports that former President George Bush, as a director of Barrick Gold Corporation, which has won exploration rights for an 80.000 square kilometre gold concession in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (the erstwhile Zaire) took a keen interest in the region. Others are Bush's former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen and former Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Jim Woods.
To control the gold mines and other mining interests is what continuously fuels the war in the north-east of Congo. A war which started with the conflict between the then president Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent-Désiré Kabila and which over the years proliferated into a regional war involving amongst others Rwanda and Uganda. It is again the revenues from the sale of notably gold mining concessions which enabled the war lords to purchase arms, to pay the mercenaries and to maintain a regime of terror. What makes these wars extra gruesome is the atrocities against civilians.
Whereas the political elite continue the fighting under the pretext of ethnic conflict and protection against invading militia's, church leaders and other civil society representatives emphasised it is the scrambling for natural resources which fuels war. They continuously called upon the international community to respect an embargo on gold and other natural riches - as the only way to reduce conflicts in the region.
It is also ironic if soldiers from the US, Britain and other countries would be asked to risk their lives in peace keeping missions in the DR Congo, as in for example Sierra Leone, if a leading US political family is found to have direct links with the roots of this gruesome conflict.
Questions which arise are whether presidential candidate George W. Bush has personally gained from the said gold concession; and whether the income from this concession has helped to fund his run for presidency and other electoral campaigns. Mr Bush would do well to take away any doubts which may arise in this matter. Were it to be that George W. Bush would win the coming elections, the last thing the American public deserves is a new 'Gongogate'.
Quotations from African Confidential: "We hear that all the main mining concession holders in Zaire have been in regular contact with - directly or indirectly - with Kabilla and his Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo-Zaire since early January. Then the AFDL called on all mining companies to enter into negotiations opr risk loosing control of the concessions. Many of the early meetings were about logistical matters (the protection of company staff and equipment) and finance (mining companies have been instructed to pay all taxes and royalties to the AFDL) United States' notables who take a keen interest in Zaire include former President George Bush (a director of Barrick Gold Corporation, which has won exploration rights for an 80,000 square kilometre gold concession in the north-east). Others are Bush's former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman 'Hank' Cohen and former Assistant Secretary for Defense Jim Woods. Their company - Cohen & Woods - has a consultancy contract with the Angolan government and now seems to symphatise with Kabila's AFDL, which is an ally of Luanda's. In Washington briefings on the region, Woods has argued loudly that Mobutu's time is over and that Kabila and the AFDL 'have a just cause'.
Source: Africa Confidential: 'Kabila Yaka. A bizarre coalition of money and Marxism lies behind the AFDL's phenomenal success.' , April 1997: Vol 38 No 8, page 7.
'...This opens up a much broader and more de-stabilsing regional involvement. The other concern is that if at least some of the rebels move into Haut-Zaire, where several important mining operations owned by Anglo-American and Algy Cluff are operating, the conflict ma develop into a resource war (along the lines seen in Liberia and Sierra Leone) as well as being a political challenge to Kinshasa. Fears of a resource war are strongest in Shaba and Kasai Occidental ... Swedish financier Adolph Lundin is leading tortuous negotiations with state-owned Gécamines; the project is worth some US$2,000 million, with Lundin and Canada's Consolidated Eurocan Ventures fronting some $50 mn. Of investment costs at start up. We hear that former United States President George Bush telephoned Mobutu on behalf of Lundin when it looked as if the deal was falling apart...'
Source: Africa Confidential: 'A hard home coming. Without foreign help Mobutu will not be able to quell the eastern rebellion or rein in his quarrelling generals.' November 1996, Vol 37 No 24, page 2
Published fortnightly by African Confidentials, at 73 Farrington Road, London EC1M 3JB, England; Tel. +44 171-831 3511. Fax 44-171-8316778. Edited by Patrick Smith. Deputy Gillan Lusk www.Africa-Confidential.com