Different people who listen to President Paul Kagame address Rwanda’s conflict with DR Congo likely get absolutely different feelings. I guess patriotic Rwandans feel joy inside as he touches our hearts with words said in a tone that raises a notch higher our sense of protection, sovereignty and dignity. Congolese citizens, some of whom may also be DR Congo President Felix Tshekedi’s fanatics, might experience a rumble in their stomachs, and probably end up running to the nearest restrooms to ease themselves out of uncontrollable anxiety. Still Western diplomats might turn uneasily in their chairs, as the President throws a spanner in the wheels of regional politics. Right in front of them he plainly undoes well-knit misleading narratives authored from capitals back in their homes, in the process rendering their already tough jobs even more tedious.
The last time the above happened was at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Senate President, Dr. Francois Xavier Kalinda, at Rwanda parliamentary chambers. Like is always the practice, President Kagame sought to elaborately give the background to it all. From the outset he appreciated the fact that there are varied stories and sufficient information on the issues he was about to revisit. By this he meant that the task at hand would only be to put some things into the right perspective. The necessity arises out of intentional misrepresentation of facts on the ground persistently coming from the same two sources through media: DR Congo government and the international community.
At the center of the matter at hand is the M23 rebel group fighting for their right to live peacefully in DR Congo. Apparently, in Tshekedi’s regime they think the rebel group’s claim of citizenship in that vast country is illegitimate and therefore must be dismissed. Worse still, his government openly says the M23 people are Kigali’s creation, belong to and came from Rwanda, and for that reason ought to return to their country of origin. And the international community looks on idly.
The West know the truth
To President Kagame, it is as though there is deliberate misconception by the international community as well, and not sheer ignorance on their part. Their baseless bias against Rwanda is too awkward to be born out of unquestionable innocence. At least not by politicians or diplomats normally as subtle as those in Western capitals. We know them well as well as their possessions. They happen to benefit from such sophisticated sources of information, to the extent that they actually know it all, leaving everybody wondering why the confusion!
To that effect, we are often reminded that in view of the West, the obvious reason for irrationality rests on the fact that huge mineral interests in Eastern DR Congo are at stake. And because this happens to be the hard truth, the spillover effect leaves us in even an uglier scenario. Where the neutral world would expect to see a kind of objective intervention to circumvent the trouble, conspiracy is what shows up in the form of unfairly placing the entire burden on Rwanda’s shoulders. It has not worked, but they shamelessly recycle the failed tactic.
In the face of blatant realties about Tshekedi’s miserable failure to resolutely handle the situation, both DR Congo and the international community choose to ostrichishly hide their heads in the sand. Instead of squarely tackling the challenge head on by firstly admitting that FDLR is a primary reason for M23 existence, they collectively conspire to remain stuck in denial, in the hope that the problem will somehow vanish in thin air. Zero! Because it never does.
They know what Rwanda will not take lying down
The outcome: it is an appalling level at which a seemingly zonked DR Congo government ends up losing focus onto the real cause of the problem, thus naturally failing to find the right remedy to it. Sobbing desperately, the country vainly attempts to squeeze meaningful help out of somewhere. So they tell Europe and America endless childish stories of how Rwanda is the problem. And then?
In their usual cunning and hawkish way, well knowing that Rwanda is not the real problem at all, the international community nods in compliance. They task a group of experts to document the basis for blame. A report is written, putting Rwanda on the periphery of the chaotic affairs in Eastern DR Congo. But stubbornly, the international community finds a way to instead place Rwanda right at the center of the mess. Another misused money and lost opportunity. Neither the first, nor the most glaring of failures. The MONUSCO wastage is unbeatable here.
So, how does DR Congo lose it, and from where does the international community get guts to harp on about the unhelpful falsehoods? Surely if any duo were expected to know better what Rwanda will not take lying down, that would be DR Congo and the international community. Picking on Rwanda only worsens the problem. I say this on the basis of what I witnessed on Monday afternoon. Most likely DR Congo and its allies will be in it for the long haul, unless they start reacting differently. I heard President Kagame make some telling statements which can only be ignored at the risk of signing for a prolongation of the current insecurity quagmire in Eastern DR Congo. In a real sense he sounded like he was indeed “preparing those who take care of the world”, that “they must understand this is a problem that must be addressed among others.”
A proper delve in the President’s remarks that day will follow soon. Just watch this space.